What do marketers expect from content creators and platforms during pitches?

Marketers share with BuzzInContent, a checklist the platforms and creators must follow before approaching brands with content ideas

Akansha Srivastava
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Marketers are bombarded with 100s of branded content pitches every month across social media platforms and other mediums. Not just this, 90% of the time the way the idea is pitched doesn’t impress the marketer. Therefore, it’s very imperative to understand how to approach a marketer with any branded content pitch. 

It gets really difficult to go through all of the pitches for any single individual or even a team. So many times, some interesting ideas and pitches go unnoticed in the plethora of pitch notes.

One very important factor that plays a role in pitching to brands with content ideas is the platform and the creator’s seriousness towards driving the brand’s business in the long-term. To begin with, pitching for content ideas shouldn’t be similar to selling ad inventories on an ad-hoc basis on platforms. 

Zameer Kochar

Zameer Kochar – Chief Marketing Officer, Rajasthan Royals, said, “Marketers are looking at more collaborative, long-term partnership opportunities with a focus around how the agencies/platforms and creators’ creative idea can drive their business objectives than just getting into a one-off inventory buy.”  

Most of the time, the marketing teams already have an idea about the kind of content they want, but if one comes and just executes the already existing idea, then he/she isn’t adding any value. 

Gaurav Mehta

Gaurav Mehta, Chief Marketing Officer, Zupee, said that the team pitching to the brand must take forward the brand’s approach and add value to it. “The content team pitching to me must have much more than what I have in terms of my intellectual ability, infrastructure and point of view on creativity.” 

One very big mistake platforms and creators make while pitching content ideas is to boast about their reach and scale in the first level of pitching, instead of focussing on how can that reach and scale help the brand meet its business objective. This at times miffs the marketers. The one pitching must ask this question to him/herself: can his/her platform’s reach help the brand get more business?

There is no point in showing off reach numbers if doesn’t fetch business results. 

For example, on one hand, a celebrity posts some content about a BFSI brand and on the other hand, a financial content creator creates content about the same BFSI brand. The celebrity might have more reach and comments on his/her social media, but the relevant audience is more at the financial content creator’s end.  

Ranjeet Kumar

Ranjeet Kumar, Head of Brand and Content, Scaler Academy,  commented, “Unlike push marketing through advertising, branded content is all about pull marketing. What creators and platforms misunderstand is the power of influence. Irrespective of the reach number a platform or the creator has to offer, we look at the relevancy of the content, the conversations it creates and the business it drives at the end of the collaboration. This is a very realistic metric of whether the influence is real or not.”

Kumar further said, “In the first 4-5 years due to lack of data, the proxies the brands would use were followers and reach. Over the years, data has helped to blur the lines between awareness-led marketing to awareness-to-action.” 

He also pointed out that at Scaler, they prefer working with social media platforms over OTT and TV players for content needs, because social media gives direct content-to-commerce features, which isn’t possible on TV and OTT. Also, measurement is still not very credible and authentic across TV and OTT. 

Kumar explained, “Measurement is an important aspect when one reaches out to us with the content idea. Social media platforms and YouTube are very transparent platforms, where one can share links to shop or call for action from the content page itself. TV and OTT platforms don’t have the shoppable/content-commerce feature. Also, the numbers OTT platforms share are opaque and not backed by audit and research firms. For TV, BARC data is there, but recently, it has also been under the scanner.”  

Platforms, agencies and creators approach brands with content ideas around ‘what’ they can do for the brand, but they should come with a ‘why’ also, i.e., why a certain piece of content should be done? 

Mehta of Zupee said, “Marketers are always time-pressed people. The person pitching should come with proper homework and good ideas. A lot of times people just talk about what they have to offer rather than thinking about what the marketer might want. This makes me very uncomfortable.” 

Kochar further said that the creative idea should resonate strongly with the target audience the brand wants to attract and should be driven by a consumer insight that has universal appeal, linking back to the brand’s core philosophy.   

He added, “Clear objective setting and what success means should be articulated upfront during the idea pitch stage.”

Among 100s of pitch emails a marketer receives in a month, how does he/she find out which ones out of those they have to pay heed to? 

Mehta answered, “That comes with some experience. We receive several pitches through email, LinkedIn and other such means. What attracts is the way the person is pitching, writing and communicating. There are ways to catch one’s attention. We also look at the kind of work they have done earlier and the kind of business results they drive for the clients.” 

Lucky Saini

Lucky Saini -VP and Head of Brand – Meesho, said that they follow the thumb rule that a brand’s story should be told across mediums in a way that fits the context and is not considered intrusive. Secondly, the content should drive engagement.

With branded content evolving over a period of time and the competition among the players increasing, the brands’ expectations from the one’s pitching for business have also evolved. 

One thing that has changed is the demand for how can the pitching party extend the campaign beyond the original piece of content. “If there is a strong idea, then the person pitching should also come with the plan of running it for longer,” said Mehta.  

He further said, “People have also started demanding more metrics and data. New-age companies now demand middle and the bottom of the funnel metrics. Traditional brands would ask about brand scores and preferences increasing.” 

Other than the points mentioned above, the chemistry between the marketer and the person pitching also plays an important role in forging fruitful partnerships. Mehta said, “There should be some personal rapport between the marketer and the person pitching and it’s also important for the IQs of the two parties to match. If that can’t happen then great creative work is never going to come out.”

marketers content ideas content creators and platforms during pitches