Updated HCA Pitching Code of Conduct

Updated Pitching Code of Conduct Published by the HCA

September 2019: The HCA's updated Pitching Code of Conduct provides a best practice template to continue to support clients and agencies navigate the ever-changing pitch process. The code has been developed and updated with contribution from pharmaceutical representatives from marketing and communications and procurement, as well as healthcare communication agencies. The Pitching Code of Conduct aims to support all stakeholders to help deliver a fair, smooth and effective process. It sets out to minimise the significant cost and time spent coordinating and participating in pitches, whilst reducing the frustrations that can sometimes occur.

“Pitching is often about starting a new relationship between client and agency. Getting that relationship off to the right start, through a pitch process all stakeholders can feel comfortable with, should therefore be an important foundation. The Pitching Code of Conduct provides a best practice template to help achieve that aim.” explains Mike Dixon, CEO of the HCA.

Annabelle Sandeman, Global Head of Commercial Strategy, Huntsworth PLC, and the project leader for this HCA initiative, outlined the robust process undertaken to develop the updated Code: “It has been essential in developing this best practice guide that all the key stakeholder groups were represented during the consultation period, and their views incorporated.  We thank all those who have contributed for their valuable insights and experience.”

The availability of the updated code has been very much welcomed by Pharma and the agency sector, Malik Akhtar from Bayer commented: “Best practice guides, such as the HCA’s Pitching Code of Conduct, provide great support for me to help ensure consistent pitching standards are maintained throughout our organisation.  They also help us manage the expectations from our agency partners. What is ultimately critical for their success is that everyone follows them, both agencies and key stakeholders alike. Setting the right tone during the pitch is an important first step in establishing a productive client/agency relationship.”

Considering how agencies might use the code with their clients, Jeremy Clark of Clark Health Communications shared his experience: “The Pitching Code of Conduct is an excellent tool to facilitate early discussions between agency and client around how the pitch process can be best managed and the responsibilities of each partner.  It forms a very useful checklist and best practice standard for both parties to work through.”  Jeremy continued: “It also provides a framework to help decide whether to pitch and then explain our rationale to a client.”