When companies look for an advertising agency, they announce advertising RFP, also known as a request for proposal. This means you provide a formal invitation for vendor proposals that fit the specified requirements and criteria. Also in this way you open up the project details to the agencies in order to make them able to calculate their abilities to meet your goals and requirements.
What is Advertising RFP?
Let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon. Companies use this approach when they have a problem but they cannot find a solution to it. That is why you need to create this document and to inform the suppliers of the required service about the task and invite them to show their offers in return. They understand that you select from the range of offers and wait for your decision.
RFP can also be accompanied with RFI which is a request for information and RFQ, request for quote. The first one is used when you need to get more info from the vendor, while the RFQ is sent for additional details considering meeting the requirements.
The RFP Advertising Purpose
As soon as you now can imagine what an RFP in advertising is, we can discuss the purpose of this approach. To most of you, it is obvious: it enables you to pick the most suitable and competitively priced service or products. But the trick here is to make sure that vendors and suppliers will understand your goals and task in the right way. So the correctly written request for proposal covers the following aspects:
- providing of the business needs description – in this document, you can specify all the details considering the type of service you require, the timing of collaboration, budget aspects and so on;
- encouraging the competitiveness of the vendors – they are aware of the fact you will choose the most advantageous option, and their reaction on such conditions will help you to make conclusions considering their possible future work;
- enabling you to compare the services – you will receive examples of work or feedback from previous clients, that will also help with the decision;
- maintaining your budget – defining in the advertising RFPs the terms on which you want to receive the service will help you to stick to the particular pricing and evaluate the costs of the project.
What Do You Need to Specify in an RFP?
As far as we know that the purpose of the RFP is providing the information to the vendors about your needs, you have to plan everything well and make sure that the document contains the following components:
- Specifying Your Need. The importance of this part is in saving your time and efforts as well as the time of the potential vendors. You will compose the exact definition of what kind of service you need and vendors will be able to compare this info with their abilities.
- Preferable Way of Communication. Another thing you have to work on in the document is in what way the communication with vendors can be done. So they will be informed whether it is required to arrange the in-person presentation etc. This aspect also includes defining in your advertising request for proposal the key dates for the possible meeting, reports, and deadlines.
- Criteria for Evaluating. The next piece of information you need to present to your vendors is part with criteria that will be used for evaluating the proposal. You also should mention any specific criteria that may affect your possible collaboration.
Criteria in RFPs
Let’s add some details to the evaluation part. Basically, it consists of 7 criteria that will help to do the best for scoring vendors and pick the one.
- Understanding of the Project. Here you estimate the level of understanding of your need and vision of the future project by the agency. This will be shown during the presentation that includes ways of accomplishing the task as well as possible pitfalls and other specifications of the situation.
- Approach. In this criterion of advertising agency RFP, you need to check whether the offered approach or methodology is practical and relevant to your issues.
- Staffing Ability. Here you estimate the quality of the staff that will be assigned to your project, their skills, and qualification, required for fulfilling project needs.
- Previous Experience. Extra points can be added in case the agency team has similar tasks before and successfully completed them. The maximum score will be achieved by the companies with required experience within more than 5 years.
- Cost Effectiveness. This criterion refers to the correlation between the price of the service and the offered terms, including qualification and experience. In case of the similar offers this aspect can be crucial, and when the pricing is equal, you focus on other criteria.
Plan for the Typical Request for Proposal
Despite every RPF is individual, it is better to follow the particular plan to make your message clear and understandable to the potential vendors.
- Introduction – here you add the information about your company, its background including what kind of service or product you work on, what makes you special compared to similar companies etc. so vendors will be able to make the decision as well;
- Project Goals – make them as specific as possible and highlight the individual aspects of your project and services required for completing the tasks, like for airport advertising RFP, and mention the criteria for choosing the best candidate;
- Schedule – it is important to provide the deadlines so vendors could compare their abilities to the given terms, taking into account the time required for making a decision;
- Time and Place of Proposals Submission – select the particular date and place for submission so vendors know the terms they can offer their services;
- Timeline – if the project is urgent, you can exclude vendors who will not meet the deadlines, at the same time, if you have enough time, you can add some info about desired terms that can also be negotiated;
- Elements of Proposal – details are important as you need to give vendors a clear picture of what you want to receive eventually and to protect yourself from possible problems in case the agency will not complete all the requirements of your advertising RFP;
- Evaluation Criteria – as you already know, this part is mandatory to show vendors reasons to choose whether they are good for your task or not;
- Possible Obstacles – mention what roadblocks can prevent your collaboration with the agency;
- Budget – the last but not the least part is information about how much money you are ready to pay for fulfilling all project requirements.
This is a basic but not the final list of sections that can be added to your RFP.
Pitfalls of Advertising RFPs
The crucial issue is a time-consuming process of creation of this document. Moreover, as you already know, it requires covering so many aspects that you will more likely make a mistake. To complicated request can discourage the potential vendors as they will get lost in numerous requirements, criteria and so on. At the same time, a too simple document can attract the wrong agencies that will also create inconveniences.
So think twice before using this approach simply because you know this is a common practice. Even if you are sure in your choice, do not download the first template available. Instead, build your own request for proposal advertising your offer using the tips above.