Please be informed that the IPA offices will be closed Friday 4th August.
We will respond to you as soon as we return on Monday 7th August.

IPA and ISBA publish six key principles for media pitches

The IPA and ISBA have produced six media pitch principles to help ensure a more efficient, cohesive and cost effective media pitch process for both clients and agencies. They will be launched at an event today (7th November 2013), as part of the cross-industry Good Pitch Week.


This latest guidance has been created by the IPA and ISBA as a follow up to its existing six pitch principles, and acknowledges the evolving remit of media agencies and the rise of e-auctions in the pitching process. It also firmly links into IPA President Ian Priest’s agenda to improve the client-agency relationship.

Cormac Loughran, Co-Chair of the IPA New Business and Marketing Group and CMO, Aegis Media UK, says: “By setting out this guidance we hope to encourage more open dialogue between clients and agencies, more collaboration, fewer surprises and ultimately less waste from the pitch process. I implore any media agency or client about to embark on a media pitch to not only make these principles their first port of call, but to use them throughout the process to ensure a mutually beneficial outcome.”

Debbie Morrison, ISBA’s Director of Consultancy & Best Practice, says: “The health of any client/agency relationship depends to a large extent on trust, clarity and respect between parties. With media pitches becoming increasingly competitive and complicated, it is to everyone’s advantage to ensure the foundations of their relationships are strong, right from the start. These principles will provide the blueprint for both clients and media agencies to achieve strong and productive partnerships.”

The 6 media pitch principles:

1. Respect

  • Treat pitching with the respect it deserves. Ensure senior involvement from day one.
  • Map out the process in terms of numbers, timings, people involvement and locations. Set a timescale for the pitch programme including negotiations and keep to it.
  • For transparency and consistency, agencies should be briefed at the same time and place. Be available to meet with them individually and answer their questions promptly.
  • Eliminate agencies along the way if they really don’t have a chance.

2. Use IPA/ISBA Standard Information Template

  • IPA member media agencies have completed the industry approved Standard Information Template.
  • This is available for clients on request, from each agency or via your intermediary and enables a client to better assess whether an agency meets their basic selection criteria.
  • Only once relevance is ascertained should you ask for a tailored credentials/RFI response focused on your specific needs.

3. Scope of Work

  • The modern media agency offers a wealth of expertise outside of planning and buying, such as data analytics, econometrics, sponsorship, SEM, social media and content creation.
  • Clearly define your scope of work as this will help agencies determine their suitability to your brief.

4. Discovery Meetings

  • A typical presentation is around two hours long, which isn’t sufficient time for media agencies to showcase their depth of expertise.
  • Plan your selection process to allow time to compare capabilities through deep dive sessions in addition to the final presentation. Work in progress meetings will ensure everyone is on the right track.

5. Pricing and Contract

  • If agencies are to be judged on media prices and guarantees or subject to an e-auction process, articulate your expectations from the outset.
  • Start reviewing contract terms early. This will give both parties the opportunity to identify any contractual red flags and deal with them.
  • Media auditors can be an invaluable help in advising on KPI’s, suitable RFP models and contract terms.

6. Judgment Criteria

  • Be open and transparent from the outset as to what it will take for an agency to win the business.
  • After a decision is made you should give timely feedback to all agencies, ideally face-to-face.

At the very least remember the five P’s of pitching:
– Process
– Preparation
– Professionalism
– Partnership
– Payment

Further best practice advice and guidance, including the established IPA/ISBA 6 Pitch Principles and highlights from the Good Pitch Week, is available at

You can also join the conversation on Twitter: @TheGoodPitch #TheGoodPitch.

The IPA and ISBA would like to thank AAR for driving the 6 Media Pitch Principles initiative.

Last updated 07/11/2013

Contact the IPA

ABCe audit Offical Webby Awards Honoree (2011, 2013)

Website, membership and content management software by Senior
Creative design by Igentics

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)
© 2018 IPA. All rights reserved. No part of this
site may be reproduced without our permission.