Thursday, 17 March 2011

Stand by for changes in the pitch process

Will it really happen? There seem to be two movements that might help us with this. The first was the government recognising that small firms are excluded from the pitch process for government tenders through no fault of their own. A great wake-up moment was provided by Fubra - a small website company - that recognised how it could save their government client 97% on the Businesslink website but they were rejected and lost in the bureaucratic detail. See The Telegraph story by Richard Tyler 15.11.2010

Vince Cable appeared to recognise the problem several months ago and then David Cameron has given a personal message to SMEs in February at the SMEhub website indicating that 25% of government tenders should be aimed at SMEs and doing away with the prequalification process for lower tenders.

Is anyone seeing a difference? By the way, there's a contract finder government link in that SMEhub page that some might be interested in.

Also, you are encouraged, if an SME, to voice your views to the OGC (Office for Government Contracts) as part of a wider EU procurement initiative to modernise EU procurement processes at the Win Tenders web site.

The second movement that might have an impact on the problematic pitch and tender process is a new set of guidelines devised by the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) and ISBA (Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) and showcased today at the ISBA Annual Conference, The pitching conundrum... a better way?, and at the IPA website in The need for a new pitch process. This will link you to The Marketing magazine for a fuller explanation but you'll have to register there (registration is free).

The pitch and tender process for digital contracts had difficulties over and above normal contracts so I hope the involvement of agency CEOs in the development of these new guidelines have taken that into account. It remains to be seen. We have noted many times how digital SMEs are hostages to fortune in the older style agency pitch processes. But now agencies have had to embrace rather than marginalise their digital colleagues as the sector has become more mature, hopefully these new guidelines will help. Who knows! But watch this space.

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