Healthcare: Agencies spending more on pitches

Comms agencies are spending more money on new business pitches despite slowing growth in turnover, according to the Healthcare Communications Association.

An annual benchmarking survey by the independent body revealed that the mean cost of pitching for major accounts has reached £25,000. This compares with £23,600 in the previous year.

The report covers the period from December 2008 to December 2009, with 27 healthcare consultancies taking part in the survey. Turnover across all consultancies increased by 2.8 per cent in the latest 12 months, compared with an increase in turnover of 11.8 per cent the previous year.

Mark Swainson, finance director at Virgo Health, said the pressure on healthcare agencies to provide a broader range of services and an investment in creativity was a large factor in the continuing cost of pitching for new business.

'There's no such thing as a simple pitch any more,' he said. 'We're expected to draw on a bigger breath of deliverables; therefore a pitch must draw in from a number of diverse types of inputs, such as digital and public affairs.'

He added: 'To stand out form the crowd, there seems to be more of an onus on creativity. There's a big creative element to how we present and this comes at a cost.'

Chandler Chicco Companies director Fiona Hall said the increase in investment in pitching was unsurprising.

She added: 'Due to increased competition, agencies have to put forward their best thinking and people to ensure they continue to win new business. At Chandler Chicco Companies, we've always taken the approach "if it's worth doing, its worth doing well".'

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