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How-To: Crushing the Creative Pitch to Clients

Zooppa's Director of US Operations Dylan, on how to crush your next creative pitch to a client.

We see a lot of content here at Zooppa. Not just through Open Projects, but through our VIP network and our ever-growing list of Private Projects. We’re not the only ones. Clients are constantly being inundated with content and creative pitch after creative pitch.

With our current Right Guard Open Campaign Pitch Project, we thought we would share a few of the things we have learned that may help you stand out from the pack when pitching creative to clients.

Creative Pitch

Before I get into it, let’s start here: the Zooppa team developed this Pitch Template that we have provided to creatives for the past year. We think this is a really foolproof way to present your ideas in a clean and simple design. If you’re interested, you can download the template here for free. (Available in Keynote & Powerpoint) You’re welcome. 😉

Below is my list of the top 4 things that will help you nail a pitch to clients.

1. We Wanna Get Visual

Add visuals to your creative pitch

Nothing kills a pitch more than a block of text. I’m not in school, this isn’t a Haruki Murakami novel, I don’t want to read a full page of text and clients don’t want to either.

Pitches that work the best are ones that are able to visually express an idea in an engaging way (duh, Dylan). In the Zooppa Template, we have provided a few places where you can do this. The Mood Board and Storyboard sections are where we hear the most positive client feedback. Invest time into these sections.

Make sure the imagery you’re using ties back to your concept. Are the photos pixelated? Do they make sense? Sometimes the only way for a client to visualize what you’re trying to communicate is by seeing something that already did this. Remix ideas.

2. Cut the Shit

Storyboard for Creative Pitch

This again ties back to the overall design approach of the pitch. Put your idea into the simplest terms as possible. Don’t over complicate the idea. If the client likes your idea and wants to hear more, that is when you can dive into specifics. In our experience, nothing kills the mood more than droning on and on and on…

A quick note on jargon: We know clients want something “authentic” and “engaging”. These buzzwords are used so often that they have almost become a given. Some clients will respond to these advertising jargon-y phrases, but be selective. If your pitch overuses these terms and phrases you run the risk of alienating the client—we don’t want that.

You want to get your idea across quickly and easily. Odds are very high that the person reviewing your proposal will need to communicate your ideas to other decision makers. Make it easier for them.

3. Read the Brief.

You would think this goes without saying, but yet here we are.

I understand—you skimmed the brief and had a killer idea. You think on it for a few days and start writing it up. You’re stoked. It’s a really great idea. Problem is, you were focusing on the product instead of the consumer. Which is pretty clear in the brief. Therefore, you beefed it. 

New Ideas for your creative pitch

What I’ve learned is that even if your idea is better and takes the concept in a new and interesting direction—the client won’t see it. It’s not their vision. They can’t see past their own ideas. Maybe they’re wrong, maybe they’re right. It doesn’t matter, you already lost the bid. 

I will say this though—sometimes it pays off. Rarely. But sometimes. A few years ago, I worked with a Zooppa VIP creative on a pitch for a dating company. He went WAY left field with his idea and even though we knew it wasn’t what the client was asking for, we went for it.

They didn’t select him for the project. Bummer. However, they did select him for a completely new project based on his proposal. Rad!

4. Be Yourself

Hey there. Eight Grader’s journal here, telling you to be yourself! Seriously. Personality is everything. Clients aren’t just buying your idea—they are buying you. 

Be yourself

Some of the best proposals I’ve seen from the Zooppa community are the ones where I can read and hear the creative’s POV. I don’t just see it, I feel it. I know this is them and know they are putting themselves into the pitch.

For example, the dudes at Pretty Nifty make me actually LOL with some of their proposals. It’s a joy to read a creative pitch from them. The client wants to see what you’re like to work with. Is it a good personality fit? Show yourself off. Be fun. Be unique. Be… ugh, here we go… authentic and engaging.

Bonus: Don’t sweat the losses.

I’ve seen pitches that floored me that still weren’t chosen by the client. If you have participated in a lot of Zooppa Open Projects you know this feeling. Your non-selection has no bearing on your creative output. This is, as I often say, up to the whimsy of the client.

We don’t always know why a client gravitates towards a certain creative pitch or piece of content over another but we can’t let that stop us. We have no choice but to keep making. What else are we going to do?

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