The 4As 2010 New Business Pitch List: Helpful, But…

You might have already seen this. But it you haven’t, it is worth a minute or two. It’s the 2010 pitch list, published by the 4As. In recent years, the 4As has begin recording major pitches. They get the information from trade pubs and search consultants. Now, of course, this list is incomplete. Know that some pitches are kept quiet at the client’s request. And that some search consultants use the trade press as part of their own new business efforts.

Having said this, I still think this is a helpful tool for agencies. Here’s why:

  • Get a sense for industry trends (hot agencies; categories; disciplines)
  • Identify the larger and more valuable search consultants
  • Check to see if these consultants are playing any favorites
  • Identify a future pitch or two (media in 2010 could mean creative in 2011, for instance)

But don’t read too much into this research

Today, you were going to read some smart, big picture differences between the 2010 and 2009 lists. But…cursory analysis can be a dangerous thing.

For instance, I counted up the number of search consultant-led pitches in both years – merely the number of rows on the spreadsheets – and came up with around the same numbers. Both in terms of the total number of pitches overall, as well as the pitches being run by managed by search consultants. In fact, the search consultant share is the same between the years!  (23%) I dunno about this.

Isn’t procurement taking share away from the search consultants?!

When you take a closer look at the lists, you’ll quickly notice a couple of things. One, is that one company might be broken out into multiple pitches. You will see in some cases those pitches are managed by the same consultant. It gives the illusion they are managing more reviews.

While it’s not immediately clear, it seems like in some of those cases there were different agencies that won different scopes for one client. Is that worthy of calling out? Yes, for some of the agencies poring over this thing. But was this was one big pitch or several smaller ones? I dunno.

The other thing is that there is repeat information between the years. This makes sense, as one pitch might be started in one year and finished in another. The massive SCJ account, for instance, is listed as a 2010 account in review. But the outcome will be determined in 2011.

So, what does all this mean?

It means this list is still a valuable little tool, and we as an industry should be thankful the 4As continues to supply it. It is a TON of work to pull together. And this research helps provide some much needed transparency in our business.

BUT… thinker beware. You’ve really got to do a bit more work on the spreadsheet to suss out true learnings. And we should combine this marketplace info with other sources to develop smarter implications for your new business efforts.

Hope this helps! And should you have any observations, please feel free to share. Thanks.