Selecting a Web 2.0 PR Agency (Part III): The Final Pitch
“The Final Pitch” can be the most entertaining and frustrating part of the selection process. We started with goals of understanding the strategic strengths of the principals and quality of the proposed team for our account. Both Limeduck and I have experienced the classic agency “bait and switch” (ie the killer pitch from the partner only to get stuck with a team full of underwhelming fresh grads learning the ropes). Since we already had at least one phone call and one in-person meeting with each team, we were focused on getting to know the people who would ultimately do the work.
The real first test was when we asked that the proposed account team deliver the final pitch. After the initial shock of this request subsided, each of the finalists found a way to trust its people. While the pitches tended to follow the scripts, we eventually got authentic responses from the individuals and a clear view of the team dynamics.
Things we looking for:
- How comfortable was the principal in keeping quiet while we probed for original thought?
- How fresh were the ideas?
- Did these people really understand and use social media?
- What members of the team had relevant experience with Web 2.0 clients?
- Did they really understand what we did and viewed us as more than just another account?
Many intangible measures come out during “The Final Pitch”. We were looking for signs of learning. For example, how did the team refine its initial ideas from the first meeting to the final pitch? We also believe that Firstgiving is doing something truly different so were expecting a unique pitch that reflected this belief. And finally, we were looking for how the team worked together as this is a reasonable proxy for how they would work with our team.
Stay tuned for more details about how put it all together.