Midsize Agency Pitch Doctor

Midsize Agency Pitch Doctor

Taking a Specialist Agency from Moderate Success to an Unbroken Run of New-Business Wins

Seeking a Winning Process


We worked with a midsize specialist agency in the western United States for several years, leading projects ranging from agency positioning to strategic training. With new positioning in place, the agency was ready to reconfigure their new-business pitch process. In the past, they had relied on niche industry experience and expertise to win business, but their approach to pitching was largely ad hoc, leaving them scrambling to compete, and they weren’t able to apply the same rigor they brought their current clients to new prospects. This led to a string of near misses where they lost to competing agencies in the same vertical. They needed a consistent way to win.

Digging Into an RFP, Uncovering a New Audience


The agency fielded an RFP from a casino hotel destination in the U.S., and they asked Mercer Island Group to help develop the strategy and otherwise prepare for the pitch, establishing a process that would serve as a template for all future new-business efforts. Per the RFP, the hotel prospect sought to increase overnight stays at their location. They had plenty of visitors, but not many stuck around to enjoy amenities away from the casino floor. Mercer Island Group tasked our agency partner with running a survey to better understand why. Together with MIG research, our combined teams uncovered a new target the hotel hadn’t considered: the resort consumer. While competitors in the area could provide visitors a few hours of fun, our prospect was the only destination that could provide not only entertainment, but also a true resort experience. We’d found our point of differentiation.

Setting the Prospect Apart


Analysis of the research showed that while visitors knew about the casino experience, they didn’t know about the other benefits the hotel could offer. Guests could relax at a spa, enjoy a few rounds of golf, or simply enjoy the beautiful outdoors, turning “a few hours of fun” into a true getaway. Our key insight captured these findings in a way that would drive the agency’s creative platform, tagline, and imagery for the pitch: “The entertainment experience you want, the escape you deserve.”

Prepping for Success in the Room


Insight in hand, we had the agency develop a manifesto video to introduce their creative platform and ad-like objects. We also helped them define a presentation template to focus their presentation squarely on the prospect and its business issues. Mercer Island Group then gave live feedback after two pitch rehearsals, letting the presenters hear immediate reactions from folks who’ve been in the room for hundreds of pitches.

Winning a New Client


They won! This agency has in fact won multiple pitches using the process they adopted from our work together, and they have a 100% win rate when Mercer Island Group is directly involved. (That’s three wins and counting!) Rather than reinventing the process for each pitch, the agency can instead focus on the prospect’s business, bringing the same energy they give to current clients to each new win they go after.