Agency Transition For Marketers



Are you thinking of pitching your business, or are you in the middle of a pitch?  If you start to think about the Transition from one agency to another do you feel slightly sick, or remain very calm?

Most advertisers focus on the decision to pitch and the pitch itself, while pretty much ignoring the importance of transition.

Many clients ask the agency for a transition plan but aren’t qualified to assess whether it’s good or or bad, whether it will happen, and whether it can cope with unplanned events.

We asked our consultants and clients to give us some top Transition Tips and to share some stories…
1. Put dedicated transition resource in charge of transition at both agency and client. It’s a huge amount of work and everyone underestimates it in the excitement of the pitch.

2. Have a very detailed transition plan completed before awarding the business. Contract for the details. It is amazing how often, usually within days, an agency will start “evolving” the plan.

3. PROCTD. This is our acronym for the keys elements of a brilliant transition plan. If you want to know what it means, give us a call!

4. Handover. Always potentially fraught with emotion, make sure you have a full handover on knowledge, assets (research/creative work/plans), data and openly discuss issues/learning. Make sure your contract specifies exit meetings.

5. Wind-down clauses. Many client contracts do not have clauses that specify wind-up and wind-down of teams and costs and so end up paying two agencies for a period.

6. Culture and relationships. Stage times where relationships can be built and a strong collaborative culture created.

7. In multi-market pitches ensure you understand local law. Your pitch may have implications that are not obvious. We know of one client who changed agency only to end up with exactly the same team in the new agency.

8. People. What agency staff would you like to stay on your business? Do you know how to make this happen?

9. Technology and data. Be very clear on what you own, what you don’t and the implications of both. We heard of a client who used a poor pitch consultant recently who had to pay €200k to retrieve their own data and files, because they hadn’t looked at their contracts closely. Had they dealt with this before the pitch it wouldn’t have cost a cent.

10. Be realistic and fair. Don’t rush Transition. Plan and replan. Agencies will say and do anything to get your business, it’s your job to save them from themselves! We heard of one agency that has promised 14 new agency resources to be set up across a region in 120 days…..

A change of agency should probably be seen as a rigorous transition exercise with a short beauty parade at the front. This reflects the importance of transition and pitch accurately. If you’d like more details do email

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