Alternatives to Free Pitching
Free pitching has long been an issue with designers. Some designers are for, some against, while others aren’t sure which way to jump. Do you?
Below is a request for help from a writer compiling research for a paper on free pitching.
I now turn you over to Sean Ashcroft…
I am a design journalist, and I am currently writing a white paper exploring alternatives to free pitching, and am seeking to interview, by email, design practitioners who do not engage (or rarely engage) in free pitching, but instead win new clients using alternative means.
Please note: This report will require in-depth answers from interviewees.
- Please provide a brief career biography (current job title, agency name, age, location, etc).
- What strategies other than free pitching do you employ to win new business?
- Can you gives one or two in-depth examples of how you have implemented these?
- Have you / your agency specialized your offering either by:
i) Design discipline (EG: Mobile apps, human interaction design, etc)
ii) Sector (EF: marine, construction, property, city branding, etc).
If yes, please give details.
- If you answered yes to either part of Q4, how important has this differentiation been to your non-reliance on free pitching?
- Has your current agency ever engaged in free pitching? If yes, how did you implement change?
- Do you have any faith in the ability of design bodies to change the culture of free pitching?
- What is the most important piece of advice you can give to agencies who can see no alternative to free pitching?
Thank you in advance for any help you are able to offer.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Please contact me via either of the sites below, or sean ashcroft.
Journalist and writer
zyzzyva: Helping designers differentiate
Planet Client: Helping designers win clients, retain clients and understand clients
3 responses to “Interview Request: Alternatives to Free Pitching”
I think most industries have “spec” work if you really think about it. What makes the design industry so special that they shouldn’t do spec work?
In this case I’d be interested to know how many articles and pieces Sean has written that never got published. Isn’t that “spec” work? Writing a piece and pitching it to a publisher and hoping to get published?
“I think most industries have â€œspecâ€ work if you really think about it. What makes the design industry so special that they shouldnâ€™t do spec work?”
“In this case Iâ€™d be interested to know how many articles and pieces Sean has written that never got published. Isnâ€™t that â€œspecâ€ work? Writing a piece and pitching it to a publisher and hoping to get published?”
I’m an entrepreneur, an engineer and an artist. The key to spec work in the creative design field is that the work is client/project specific. It rarely can be put on the shelf and pulled down to be sold to another client.
In the case of my engineering work the clients pay for preliminary design work and regardless if I or some other engineer does do the final work both parts are compensated.
As to writing articles that too is different as the author still owns the work product. Even if it is published the author, if he pays attention to his IPR (intellectual property rights) still owns the work and will be paid, additionally, if it’s republished either in the original publication or some other publication.
It comes down to the fact that I have only so much time on my creative wagon to sell. If I work on spec just how much time to I spend betting on the come? (A sucker bet in Vegas)
Speaking of Vegas. Spec work has a documented ROI (return on investment) of ~1%. By comparison,
the slots in Vegas have a ROI of 3-5%
There is a very funny video on youtube that sums up the situation nicely. Search on designer vs. Client andd look for the video of two robots. It is very true to life agency side.