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How to pitch a CMO

A friend asked me this question in this vein and I thought the answer was worth sharing, so I took out the specifics to outline some general principles:

First, remember that most CMO’s are insane. In general you’re best bet would be to do a custom presentation based on what you know about them. A generic approach would be the type of pitch an agency would make to a senior marketing person. Something like this:

1. Define the Market
2. Strategy and tactics
2. Concepts

A CMO has a lofty plan they set up by demographics – “We are looking for married women, 35-50, household income over 100k”. By defining the Market you are selling them on how your specific skills can hit the target – “The fastest growing segment of X market is the one that I have the keys to”.

In strategy and tactics outline what will be done and how it will be measured – “There will be these programs, we are looking for X impressions, and Y conversions…”

Concepts are the best place to shine, and also the most work. The easy way out is to show stuff that you have already done for other people, the hard way would be to mock-up what you would be doing for them. It’s a good idea to present concepts in sets of 3, two good ideas and (what you consider to be) a crummy one, that way if your client always picks the crummy one you’ll know that you have some style or communication problems and perhaps you shouldn’t be working together.

It also depends on the purpose of the meeting, better firms know that interviewing agencies is a low cost method of brainstorming so they do no original work until there’s really a deal…