What makes the perfect pitch?

Earlier this year, we set into motion a new, more effective, truer-to-life process we are proud to call our Modern Marketing pitch.

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The iconic scene of Don Draper pitching the Mark Your Man campaign in Mad Men gives us an insight, perhaps into how the pitch process was created. More years ago than I care to remember, I launched Haystack as a new intermediary that offered clients a more transparent and comprehensive approach. I believe we helped the industry, along with others to mature and become more professional in its agency selection.

But by 2016, almost 15 years later, the process had hardly changed.

Our Oystercatchers Club debate re-ignited industry-wide conversation about the merit of a fixed pitch process. Had its day come and gone? The general consensus was there must be another way of working. There must be a model that identifies agency-client partnership and trust, pivotal factors of success, alongside capability and outstanding ability, but works within a more agile and collaborative framework.

Following our Club evening; What makes the perfect pitch, Campaign, Marketing Week, The Drum, clients and agencies pondered with us how we might improve the experience. In fact, the debate became a catalyst for our journey to reshape and evolve the pitch process.

We’ve always valued the time, energy, cost and transformational ability of calling a pitch. And we’ve always recognised the need for agility and fluidity. It’s common sense: one model may suit one situation, but not necessarily another. for the past year we’ve been working with a community drawn from leaders across brands, agencies, strategists, digital experts and procurement specialists, and taken cues from other industries to refine the pitch process for modern ways of working and our M3 model

Sometimes, there’s no need to pitch at all. Which is why we were also, recently recognised by the Financial Times as one of the UK’s leading management consultancies as we help to create better partnerships, marketing department structures, remuneration, and capability services which we’ve developed to re-frame the need for pitch. 

We’ll be setting into motion a new, more effective, truer-to-life process we are proud to call our Modern Marketing pitch. 


Suki Thompson

Founder / Chair, Oystercatchers

Suki Thompson is an entrepreneur and transformational business leader. She is CEO and co-founder of Oystercatchers and part of the Centaur management team where she is helping lead Centaur Media, the UK’s leading B2B media publisher, through a journey of transformation anchored in the ability to advise, inform and connect. Suki leads the strategic development of Oystercatchers and is the driving force behind the proprietary evaluation model Optimise™. She works with businesses on transformational change and is part of the team commercialising the ‘M3 model’ bringing marketing and digital together. Suki is also passionate about capability and learning.

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Suki Thompson about 2 years ago

I'm are looking forward to a discussion at FOM on 11th October on how to run the perfect pitch. With Ellie Norman, F1 and Richard Morris, Initiative