Slightly stacking the deck (AKA improving your chance to win the pitch)

Hello, gang. Today’s entry is about something from Thunderclap’s bag of tricks you might keep in the back of your head. Because every so often, it might come in handy.

It comes in handy when a) when a search consultant is not involved, which is happening more and b) when you get the sense the marketer needs a bit of help in managing the search process.

Have you ever…given a prospective client the scorecard? The scorecard they use to evaluate all the agencies? (Of course, this depends on how they compare and contrast different clients’ perspectives). But sometimes a scorecard is used. Common criteria in an RFP include:

Past Experience





(Other disciplines)

Client list

Financial stability


Team backgrounds

Target understanding

Challenge understanding

This a cool little idea that has worked for me, particularly in earlier rounds. Once you understand what the broad criteria are, consider putting them to paper and sending them over to the client. Add a few questions that will help define each of the metrics. For instance, “creative” as a criterion can mean different things to different people. (And yes, I did have to look “criterion” up!) Look to a standard brief to find clarifying questions. “How does it connect with the audience? Does it reflect the tonality of our company? Etc.)

I love this one: consider changing the weights of each of the criterion, too. And as you pull this together, think about your agency and how they might be judging you. There’s an opportunity to reflect your positives and negate potential weaknesses in the scorecard. Not the most creative shop? Think about de-emphasizing creative and emphasizing other areas.

You can’t make it too obvious, of course. And you need to reflect the input given. But it’s a way to shift things a bit. It also, of course, helps put you at the prospective client’s side of the proverbial table. Not across from him or her. A nice place to be.

Should you like a copy of an old scorecard, simply give me a shout or send me an email. Happy to oblige! Enjoy.