I’m not sure how ‘Request For Proposals’ style bidding became so popular but personally we think it’s a lousy way to pick a vendor. Why? Because of all services a business needs, marketing is one that is highly dependent on the relationship. RFPs actually serve to diminish the focus on relationship and try to compress all agencies into a cliché ‘apples to apples’ comparison.
If you need to buy 100,000 pieces of fabricated sheet metal, I think an RFP is a good option. In that type of purchasing, you want a manufacturer that can demonstrate experience, longevity, quality and a competitive price point. But when you choose your marketing firm, you really do need to trust the people more than price and the company’s history, or even worse, the resumes of the project leaders.
The Worst Aspects of an RFP
There is a lot garbage being jammed into RFPs… in my opinion. But I’m probably jaded because of how the RFP process seems to eliminate the need to connect prospect and agency.
In a nutshell, we think it is a bad approach to ask a lot of information be compiled by a marketing agency from which a company will then decide to have them design creative materials and formulate strategy. The chemistry and cultural fit should be explored as at least as important as the other stuff being considered.