How To Craft a Fantastic RFP: Tips from the Agency Perspective

The questionnaire

You are a brand looking to hire an experiential agency for the first time. Or you are an agency who has a client requesting something you do not do and you need to hire another agency to help. You are going to have to face the daunting challenge of writing a Request For Proposal (RFP).

As an experiential marketing agency we receive RFPs all the time. While they are a great way to bid on new business, they can be time consuming and frustrating if they don’t contain pertinent information that any agency needs in order to craft a thoughtful and thorough response.

We decided to share with you some helpful tips from the agency perspective to help you craft a fantastic RFP that will get amazing responses to fill your exact need.


The Basics:

Start at the beginning. RFP’s are best when they tell a clear story and have a beginning, middle and end. Craft your request from the tale of the brand, object, or event that will need to be marketed. Give details about who you are as a brand, who your demographic is, and how this particular ask fits into any larger marketing campaign or initiatives that might be in motion. Give cultural back story, and any historical or monumental moments that helped shape where you are today.

The Timeline:

Make sure to layout a clear timeline, not only for the RFP process, but for the ideas that you wish to launch through the RFP process. If it is for a tour, when will it start and end? How many markets will it visit? If it is for an event, what are the parameters of the location? What’s the approval process? Sure, you can have the agency outline their timeline needs in their response, but it helps if you craft the ask with an outline of expectations for deliverables. Think about it like you are creating the broad strokes and the agencies will fill in the details.


The Budget:

Certainly if you are engaging agencies to contract experiential work from, you already have an idea of what you’d like to spend. Share this with the agency. If they know what they have to play with, they can better conceptualize their reply. You can provide a range if that’s easier, but a budget is going to be necessary in order to properly plan for something extraordinary. Without a budget the agency is likely to serve you a million dollar idea when you only have a 100k budget. Budget dictates not only the parameters of the possibilities but helps define the creative process. Your marketing partner should be capable of the challenge of great thinking, within budget.


Include any assets you might have like logos, sponsors, drawings, reference videos, photographs or anything that the agency might find useful to get a better feel for the subject at hand. The more you share, the better your replies. No one likes to go down a time consuming road to make something fit into a brand story when that story has changed and the latest assets weren’t shared. If you have a style guide include it. If you don’t have one, outline the proper uses for the assets you do have. Are there restrictions? Preferences? Insider knowledge that shapes the company culture? For example we once worked with a company who had a profound dislike for the exclamation point. Any heads up asset info not only sets your responding agencies up for success, but you’ll be infinitely happier with the quality of those responses as they will have already avoided common mistakes.


Goals and Objectives:

Make sure that you express where you hope to be at the end of this experiential adventure. What are you trying to accomplish with this activation, event, or tour?  So many times this is a vague suggestion such as “We’d like to raise awareness.” But outlining qualitative and quantitative goals sets up the ask more specifically. For example you could say, “We’d like to gain 150,000 new followers and sell 10,000 new units within the next 30 days.” Or another example might be, “We’d like to gain 30MM impressions with our demographic and gather 100,000 emails.” Goals for measurable results are a far better starting point to help develop strategies. If you know where you want to go, it’s easier to map out a route to get there.

The RFP process is a lot of work on both sides of the conversation, the creator of the RFP as well as the agency answering it. If the exchange is rich with the right information, a well informed decision can be confidently made. At the end of the day you want to be sure that you choose the right team to execute your greatest marketing efforts to date! And from the perspective of that potential team, we want to give the most unique, creative ideas that get you to your goals. It all starts with a robust RFP.

If you want more information on working with NCompass International please feel free to contact us.







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