As a Marketing Director who has run countless pitches for some very big organisations, I have witnessed many a good agency needlessly trip-up in the very first chemistry meeting.  Fortunately, the most common pitfalls are easy to avoid with a bit of preparation and attention to detail…

So here are my Top Ten Tips for productive and successful chemistry meetings;

  1. Be Prepared.  It’s a job interview, so do your homework.  To be honest, I’ve interviewed 25 year old marketing managers who’ve done more research and shown more insight than some big London agencies.  You were expecting us, weren’t you?
  2. There is life outside Soho.  Or Clerkenwell.  Please don’t show me a voxpop of 23 year old media-types saying they’ve never visited/heard of my non-London based, family-market brand.
  3. Don’t overwhelm us.  There’s nothing worse than walking into a room full of superfluous people.  Match the agency team to the client team.  Get the creatives to have a shave and put on a clean t-shirt.  Don’t ask someone who can’t drive to present to a car client.
  4. Think different, but stay relevant.  There is such a thing as a stupid question in the age of interweb (like “who is your parent company?”).  Share your insights, but in the immortal words of Basil Fawlty, please try to avoid “specialist subject; the bleedin’ obvious”.
  5. We don’t care about your awards.  We read about them at the screening stage, and we’re not that impressed by creative awards, anyway, to be honest.  Now if you’ve got some awards for effectiveness or innovation, that would be interesting…
  6. Don’t spend half the meeting (or more) waffling on about your other clients.  In minute detail.  With slides.  I’m here to talk about me!
  7. If I look bored, I am.  If someone is rambling on, or talking about something that is clearly not relevant, SHUT THEM DOWN.  It should be a discussion, not a presentation with 15 mins of Q&A at the end.
  8. ‘Here’s something to remember us by’.  Handing out branded USB sticks, notebooks et al is fine and appreciated.  Don’t leave a pile of stuff in the middle of the table, I’m too polite to help myself.  Avoid anything that says ‘I made this especially for you’ (iced cupcakes, printed t-shirts and the like).  Just wrong.
  9. Beware the crumbly croissant.  Good catering and a warm welcome are really important, but please don’t give me a super-sized croissant that’s going to flake all over my best suit or Danish pastries that are still frozen in the middle.  Or spill a jug of milk over my suede boots*.
  10. For the best pre-pitch strategy advice, contact me at  Thank you.

(*Note: All examples really happened.  I know.  Don’t).