LONDON: Just 14% of agency pitches were viewed negatively in the fourth quarter of 2013, the latest survey on pitching practice from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has revealed.

This was a significant improvement on Q1, the UK advertising trade body's Q4 2013 Post-Pitch Survey found, when almost one-third (32.4%) of pitches were described as negative.

Furthermore, almost two-thirds (62%) of pitches were viewed positively by agencies in the last quarter of 2013, up slightly from 59.5% in Q1. The net positive score for pitches of 48% in Q4 compared favourably with the 25.3% recorded in the first quarter.

The pitch process appears to be working well across a number of areas, the survey indicated, although the IPA also highlighted some areas that still need to be addressed.

Based on average net positive scores across 2013, it found improvement across 11 out of 14 areas, including greater clarity about the business opportunity from the outset, clear and concise Request for Information (RFI) and well-handled interim meetings.

There was also a more positive response to the role of procurement in the pitching process with a net positive of 46.9% in Q4, up from a net negative of -14.4% in Q1.

And the management of the pitch was regarded as excellent, good or very good in 62% of cases in 2013 where respondents indicated that procurement had been involved.

However, despite registering improvement in Q4, the report also noted some areas still to be addressed in future. Overall scores from 2013 found only 30% believed there was adequate access to key stakeholders, 39.6% thought the client brief was well articulated and just a quarter (24.8%) thought the client's budget was clear upfront.

Despite these and other lingering issues, IPA director general Paul Bainsfair paid tribute to all those who had worked hard to improve the pitch process.

"We are delighted to see from the Q4 results that agency experiences of the pitch process have improved and that the majority of key areas of the pitching process have also improved," he added.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff