The RFP – Request for Proposal. When
clients are looking for the right PR firm to work with, approximately one-third
of all new PR work comes through RFPs.
But for many PR agencies and clients
alike, RFP is an acronym for Really Frustrating Process. Because it takes a lot
of time, effort and expense – especially for the client – and still doesn’t
guarantee that you’re getting the best PR agency for your company.
The recommended RFP process goes this
way: the client starts with extensive research to find a long list of suitable
contending PR firms that might fit in terms of expertise, size, scale and
approach. Then, the client has to develop a comprehensive RFP document that
provides the requisite information regarding the company’s background,
objectives, challenges, budget, required deliverables, timetable and rules of
engagement for the process.
Next, the client has to invite the
bidders, allow appropriate time for responses, answer the invited agencies’
questions, and wait to receive the proposals from interested firms. Next,
clients have to carefully review the proposals and qualifications of the firms
that chose to bid – this number can range anywhere from six or eight firms to
as many as 25.
After reviewing those proposals, the
client must then get consensus from the client-side participants and select
three or four finalists for the short list. Next, the client schedules
one-on-one meetings with those firms and their internal selection team to
conduct detailed reviews of those finalists. Then, the client must weigh all
the variables, make the final selection, and inform both the winning agency and
the other participants of the choice.
Sounds exhaustive … and exhausting,
doesn’t it? Worse yet, it can take several months, from start to finish.
Do you, as a client, and the other
executives who should participate in this important decision, have that kind of
time to invest in this lengthy RFP process? Read more at Bianchi