How to Write an RFP/RFI to Help You Find the Right Vendor

How to Write an RFP/RFI to Help You Find the Right Vendor

By William A. Lederer, Chairman and CEO, iSOCRATES
 

When you are looking to outsource programmatic media or marketing services or a digital project/function, one way to narrow down outsourcing vendors is to send out a Request for Proposal or Information (RFP/RFI). The more detailed and concrete you can make this document, the better your responses will be.

 

Here are some key elements to include in a solid RFP:

  1. Company Background – Provide information about who you are, what you do, who you serve, what your digital properties are and what you are looking for in an agency or vendor.
  2. Goal of the RFP – State upfront what you want your digital partner to achieve for you. Specifically list what outcomes you need to consider the project a success.
  3. Business Goals – List the business goals you wish to attain through your digital marketing strategy, such as increasing revenue or improving customer satisfaction.
  4. Current Digital Ecosystem – Talk about your current digital strategy, what has worked or not in the past, and discuss the digital staff, skills and technologies you currently employ.
  5. Marketing Challenges – List your organization’s marketing pain points, such as a lack of brand consistency or difficulty in generating new leads.
  6. Project Objectives – This section should talk about how you are planning to achieve the business goals you’ve established.
  7. Target Audience/Buyer Personas – Include as much information about the demographics and psychographics about your audiences as possible.
  8. Scope of Work – The scope of work should detail exactly the services you are seeking as well as a list of expected deliverables. This should include your needs per platform/channel, requirements for strategy, implementation and training and how you wish to communicate throughout the project.
  9. Timeline/Budget – Share any constraints in terms of timeline or budget to weed out the vendors that can’t meet your expectations. If you don’t have a precise budget, at least provide a range.
  10. List of Competitors – Compile information and links for at least three competitors and perform a brief SWOT analysis discussing where your company excels and where it falls short.
  11. Selection Criteria, Process and Timeline – Explain how responses will be vetted, as well as the process and dates involved, such as intention to bid, Q&A period, proposals due, notification to finalists, finalist presentations, vendor selection and project start/completion.
  12. Response Requirements – Tell vendors exactly what information you expect to get back from them. Response criteria often includes the following:
    1. Background of agency/vendor
    2. Project approach and timing
    3. Relevant experience/qualifications
    4. Project recommendations
    5. Responses to questions (see below)
    6. The main point of contact’s information and how you want to receive the RFP response
  13. Questions – Ask the vendor questions to help vet them. Topics commonly include questions about the company, team structure (roles/responsibilities), technologies used, project management/communication, systems, processes and core values. Also be sure to ask questions specific to the type of work you need (SEO, content, digital PR, PPC, programmatic, reporting/analytics, etc.)
  14. Terms and Conditions – Include some protective language here that you are not obligated to select any specific vendor for any reason (even the lowest bid). There are some templates online that provide boilerplate for this purpose.

Use this list to create a detailed, informative RFI/RFP to attract only the best agencies, consultancies, and vendors.

 

For a more in-depth exploration of your sourcing options, download our whitepaper, The iSOCRATES Guide to Programmatic Media and Marketing Services Sourcing.
 

If you need help creating an RFP or finding the media or marketing related vendor that’s best for you, we’d love to help. Contact us.

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