Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Should Rory McIlroy Use a Swing Coach?


Most people would argue tongue in cheek that Rory should only use a swing coach if he wants to win.

Rory certainly does not use a coach to teach him how to play golf.  He clearly knows how to play golf.  He uses the coach to find subtle adjustments to the swing to help him succeed.  To remind him of the things that he needs to do but sometimes forgets or doesn't execute properly.  The coaches job is to take something good and make it great.

At a recent pitch prep meeting for a new client, the CEO said to me over a coffee that some of my insights were things that the agency should already know and be doing in their pitches but in the heat of the moment they forget or poorly execute.  

One of the biggest issues that I see with agencies is that they fixate on the message on every single slide.  You might say to yourself "what is the problem with that?"  The problem is that they wind up with a bunch of well crafted slides, each of which is well thought out, that do not add up to anything.  There is no narrative, no through-thread.  As a result, the client comes away thinking "smart agency" or "nice presentation" but they do not take away anything specific.  With no specific takeaway, there is no reason to hire the agency.  

A prime example is the last slide of the presentation.  Frequently, I see agencies close their presentation with a "Why Our Agency" slide.  And that slide articulates things like: 
  • We are excited to work on you brand
  • We have great experience
  • We offer creative wrapped in strategy
  • Or some similar message
Think about those messages.  Every agency is excited, experienced and offers creative wrapped in strategy.  The most important slide in the deck is delivering non-differentiating messages.  Obviously, agencies know not to offer non-differentiating messages but in the heat of a pitch mistakes happen.  

To compound the issue, the pressure of the pitch makes the agency focus on stating those three or four messages in an elegant manner with nice art direction on the slide.  No one ever asks the question "are those messages differentiating" or "is this our strongest way to close the pitch?"  These are all things that the agency knows but under pressure forgets.


Much like swing coach’s job, and my job, is to help agencies better execute things that they know that they are supposed to do.  The end result, much like for Rory, is a far greater win rate.

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