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MediaSense & Sanofi Present at the ANA Media Leadership Committee – Lessons Learned Pitching in a Pandemic

With many North American media pitches in progress or on the horizon, Sanofi and MediaSense were recently invited to share their collective pitch management learnings with the ANA Media Leadership Committee.

David Strome, Client Development Director MediaSense, Matthew Chapman, Business Director MediaSense and Dana Bhargava, Head of Experience Planning at Sanofi Consumer Healthcare US presented a case study of learnings gained during Sanofi’s Global Media review, the largest pitch to take place in 2020:

How does an advertiser select an agency partner to support long-term ambitions and success during a global health crisis?

A project of this size faced challenges – especially in the current climate

  • Entering the COVID ‘unknown’ – how would Sanofi successfully organize internally around a large process and crucial decision without being together physically or meeting the agencies in person?
  • The need to manage preconceptions and satisfying the requirements of different geographies, functional departments, and business units
  • Maximizing Media Value – Ensuring that pricing and commercial value objectives could be met during a ‘crisis year’ in the media marketplace
  • Mitigating a changing agency environment with heightened pressure on agencies to maintain current business and build new business

Preparation is Key – organization for both success and expecting the unexpected

  • Grouping internal teams and galvanizing stakeholders around a shared vision and mission and running a series of breakout workshops to formalise and deliver clarity of Sanofi’s requirements
  • MediaSense and Sanofi ensuring communication, transparency and togetherness when supporting local and global KPIs – aligning the business around digital transformation and data acceleration
  • Organizing a close-knit team helped to foster positive intent – ensuring everyone was empathetic to others needs within the organization
  • Enabling the ability to deliver informal ‘natural’ and ‘softer’ communication – translating to the agencies a level of comfort during tough meetings in a virtual setting

Learnings & Outcomes – Client Perspectives, Dana Bhargava Head of Experience Planning, Sanofi Consumer Healthcare US

  • Establish a cohesive team – align around the ambitions and process but be sure to build trust, empathy, and camaraderie
  • Recognize the needs of other stakeholders – compromise will be necessary and understanding others point of view is crucial
  • Be sensitive to the agencies position – high pressure meetings and a very challenging environment for teams to read the ‘room’ and know who to address
  • Know when to escalate – getting to the outcome and making decisions can be challenging but should not be debilitating

Learnings & Outcomes – MediaSense’s Industry Perspective

  • Be pitch ready – align around your ambitions, your future operating model, and ability to deliver it
  • Recognize the size of the prize – agencies will be more selective about what they pursue and how they allocate resources
  • Ditch the theater and embrace the change – virtual pitching has leveled the playing field and democratized the process
  • Test new models and capabilities – agencies are reimagining operating models and there is greater access to specialized talent virtually
  • Transition with grace and respect – galvanize the team with a strong start to a new (or renewed) agency partnership

Further Reading:

WARC – Pitching Through COVID-19: Six Key Lessons to Embrace
Media Management in a New World – Planning for Agility and Flexibility
More information on MediaSense’s Pitch Management services

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