In a recent post I called for an end to the modern RFP, particularly as it relates to public relations and social media agencies. I argued that most RFP-driven reviews are overly taxing on competing agencies – who face long odds to win the business – and also on the marketers charged with compiling, issuing and reviewing the RFPs.
It’s a time suck for everyone.
So we started a dialogue about how to dramatically reduce our collective workloads. Perhaps with some work we could cut the standard RFP to 10 questions that will help marketers compare and contrast the differences between firms (philosophically, experientially, creatively, operationally)?
People clearly feel passionate about this subject. Some folks simply avoid RFPs altogether. Other folks, like Maggie Fox of Social Media Group, have tried to streamline the social media RFP process with a template, of sorts, which at the very least helps focus the conversation properly. Kathy Cripps of The Council of Public Relations Firms noted their work on an RFP Builder: an interesting tool that seems to help manage the process, and is at least worth a look.
But while I appreciate the time and effort that goes into these tools, they still lack the fundamental simplicity that I’m advocating for in this series of posts. For the sake of this exercise, it’s 10 Questions or Bust.
Here is my first, very basic pass at the assignment, based in large part on the comments so far:
- Agency Overview (500 words max) – Number of clients, office locations, revenue, ownership team, fee structure
- Differentiators (500 words max) – What makes the agency unique? What awards/industry recognition has it garnered?
- Most relevant expertise in the last TWO years (1000 words max) – both in traditional and social media
- Proposed team (1000 words max) – Their tenure with the agency? What clients have they each worked on (similar to us) in the past two years?
- Measurement (500 words max) – What tools are used & what can you measure? What can’t you measure?
- Case study snapshots (1000 words max) – Three maxium; majority of highlighted work must have been completed within the last three years
- Creative thinking (1500 words max) – Top-level thinking about how you can help us, based on the brief
- Services offered/not offered in-house (500 words max)
- Top 2 firms most like yours (500 words max) – who are they and why do you think you’re better?
- What didn’t we ask that we should know? (500 words max)
You’ll note that many of the entries call for a submission of 500 – 1,500 words. Does “500 words” sound too brief? For comparison, this post is comprised of 500 words; this seems a hearty length for many of these exercises: after all, we are trying to optimize things here!
What did I miss? What did I include that I shouldn’t have? Your move. Once I’ve had a look at your feedback I’ll publish a final post with a PDF of a freely-available “Simplified RFP.” Thanks!
Posted on: April 11, 2011 at 9:09 am By Todd Defren