Some of the team had the pleasure of listening to Kirsty Hulse speak at SearchLove last month, and her talk on being creative and getting clients on board with your ideas was the inspiration for this post.
Have you come up with a creative campaign for a client that you absolutely love? Are you worried about how to get them on board? Sometimes, brands are reluctant to show strong opinions for fear of creating a PR crisis or alienating certain audiences.
But did you know that according to a study by the IPA there is a defined link between creativity and effectiveness? Kirsty said that not only are creative campaigns seven times more effective than non-creative campaigns, but non-creative campaigns are becoming less and less effective over time. It is interesting to note how this could affect digital PR campaigns and the potential new trends that would come with it.
So, what does this mean for brands? It means that they need to start making the change and incorporating more creative ideas into their marketing strategies.
We’ve taken Kirsty’s advice, as well as some of our own thoughts, and created this guide for when you’re next preparing to pitch a creative idea to a client.
Before you pitch your ideas to your client, you could road test them to see if they gain any traction. Kirsty suggested using blog posts, Instagram stories or a survey platform like Pollfish to test out the engagement of your ideas before you take them to the client.
If your ideas don’t seem to get picked up, you might have to do some tweaking before they’re ready to present them to your client. If the test does go well, however, you could use this data in your pitch as a way to support the effectiveness of your ideas.
When you’re pitching creative ideas to a client, they may have a number of fears about how your ideas are going to affect their brand. The fear of doing damage to their brand image could even make them reluctant to sign off on some of the ideas you’ve pitched.
The solution: address these fears head-on. Understanding why a client might be a little worried about your creative ideas is important, so you can make sure to face these fears in your pitch, and explain how these fears can be managed.
In her talk, Kirsty mentioned that she used to include a “This Idea Will Scare You Because” section in all of her pitches. This let the client know she had considered things from their point of view, while also providing ways these fears could be dealt with.
How you pitch to a client can be just as important as the content of the pitch, as people like to be shown information in different ways. Some prefer to receive figures and data, some are more visual. Some prefer a more casual meeting style, some like to keep things formal. Everyone is different.
That’s why you need to take the time to understand how the person or people you are pitching to like to receive information. It immediately gets you on the right track with your pitch.
Kirsty suggested the Crystal app. It creates a profile that outlines things like what comes naturally to you, how you like your meetings to go, and what others can do to convince you. Encouraging your clients to set up their own profiles would make pitching much easier, as you can tailor your whole presentation to the client’s needs and preferences.
Kirsty’s suggestion was to pitch three creative ideas to a client, each with proper validation. First, pitch your craziest idea that you don’t think the client will want to go for. Next, pitch the idea you’re actually hoping they’ll choose, making sure it seems like a slightly safer choice for the client than idea number one. Lastly, pitch a third idea that’s still creative, but a lot safer and less outstanding than the others.
According to Kirsty, most people will actually pick the middle option. This is because they feel as though the first idea is too much, but the last is not enough. Pitching your idea as a middle ground might help the client to feel less concerned about being creative.
Hope for the best but plan for the worst when you’re creating your pitch. You’ve worked hard on your pitch, you know your ideas are strong and you know how to present in a way the client will like. Be confident in your pitch.
However, it’s still vital that you do have a plan for the worst case scenario. Make sure you’ve thought of every fear or question the client might have about your ideas, and make sure you’ve got a convincing answer as to why they should still go with your marketing strategy.
We hope you got as many valuable takeaways from this post as we got from Kirsty’s talk, and we hope you’re now thinking about how to pitch your next creative ideas to your clients.
For more info about what we learned at SearchLove, check out our SearchLove 2018: Top Takeaways post to see what we thought about the other great speakers.