Over half of ad agency CEOs say they’re ready to do business despite the current crisis, and they feel confident they can respond to client briefs despite the constraints of remote working, a new survey suggests.

A mere 8% of those questioned by ID Comms researchers said they would prefer to see all new business put on ice. 

Another 19% of CEOs said they’d be happy to handle new business remotely during the initial stages, but would prefer to delay final presentations and negotiations until they can be done face to face. Of those surveyed, 16% said they believed the pitching process would need to be totally reconsidered and redesigned during the current COVID-19 crisis.

The results are based on 81 responses, from either CEOs or new business leaders, working for agencies representing more than 80% of global ad spend. (Read more here.)

Despite the research showing agencies are ready to adapt, it is also clear that agencies will be highly selective about the work they pitch for.

“One area which we will closely watch now is the reason for the pitch and if it is related to COVID-19,” said one agency president, EMEA. “If it is a short-term play to reduce costs we may decline.

“Additionally, we would not be keen on clients with onerous financial terms (such as longer payment terms) as this is counterproductive to the industry.”

Agencies are also looking for more streamlined processes from consultants to ensure time and effort aren’t wasted.

According to one EMEA agency CEO: “If [a pitch] has to happen while we are all in isolation, I wonder whether you almost reverse the process: 1. Set our commercial stipulations; 2. Respond to a brief; 3. Have a chemistry meeting. I realize that sounds weird but would avoid time-wasting in every way.”

“Pitches that challenge the agency from a business strategy point of view would be more attractive,” said another agency CEO.

According to Getting the Most Out of Virtual Pitching, a paper from marketing consultants R3 Worldwide, video conferencing is likely to become a significant part of the digital pitch.

Among a series of tips, it advises technical preparation – making sure the system works for everyone – and designing the meeting around talking; the more time people spend discussing and asking and answering questions, the greater the engagement.

Plus, R3 advises keep things short and punchy – studies show that on average, a person stops watching information-based videos after six minutes, compared to 10 to 18 minutes if the presentation is face to face.

Sourced from ID Comms; additional content by WARC staff