It will help advertisers go about conducting ad agency search in a more effective and professional manner
MALAYSIA’S advertising industry is set to get a boost when the highly anticipated 4As pitch guidelines come on board in August. The guidelines could probably be the first of its kind in Asean to be published by an advertising industry trade body and is good news for advertisers.
This is because it will help them to go about conducting an ad agency search in a more effective and professional manner. This is one of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Malaysia’s (4As) key initiatives to provide industry guidance and leadership.
4As chief executive officer Khairudin Rahim, in an interview with StarBizWeek, says the pitch guidelines is targeted to be launched on August 16.
“At the moment, the contents of the guidelines are being edited and fine-tuned to take into account the local market nuances. We are getting regional pitch consultants, Malaysian agencies and advertisers, who have vast experience in pitching and evaluation, to contribute to these best practices. As opposed to the earlier plan for the wholesale adoption of international pitching guidelines, the association will now combine international and local best practices to ensure relevancy.
“The 4As will conduct a half-day seminar coinciding with this launch for advertisers and agencies to give their views on their learnings and experiences in pitching. The guidelines, when launched, will act as a practical tool kit on what advertisers should do before, during and after a pitch,” he adds.
An advertising pitch describes the proposals of an ad agency to promote a product or service. The selection and retention of the right agency is critical for an advertiser because of the key role that the advertising agency is able to play in promoting the company and its brands, thus enhancing its ultimate profitability.
According to the World Federation of Advertisers, a successful pitch should demonstrate that an agency can use the marketing budget effectively to create greater value for a brand.
The 4As guidelines will spell out several methods in choosing an agency, one of which is the time-tested method of reviewing an agency’s credentials, effectiveness of case studies and client testimonials.
According to Khairudin, there are many best practices that advertisers can expect from the guidelines. For example, advertisers must be very clear that changing agency should be in the best interests of the brand or business, and will enhance shareholder value.
At the same time, they should consider whether there are benefits in sticking with the incumbent agency as there is a significant asset in the client-agency relationship because of the shared understanding of the company/brand, its history, market context and future plans.
If a new agency is deemed the right course of action, advertisers should ensure that the company’s top management fully endorse it and enlisted in the selection process. Apart from the massive loss of face, he says an advertiser’s premature action to call for a pitch will almost certainly have incurred unnecessary costs and strained valuable relationships and career prospects.
“If an advertiser’s company has a procurement function, do involve colleagues from the outset, rather than just bringing them in at the end to discuss contracts and terms of the pitch,” he says.
Another important best practice will be to allow sufficient time for competing agencies to have face-to-face meetings with advertisers, he says.
Another pertinent guideline will be to establish an objective and comprehensive evaluation system for assessing each agency presentation as well as share the criteria upfront with all those involved on both sides – agencies and advertisers.
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