When I first started at PMG in December of 2014, I didn’t know what to expect. What clients would I be working with? How do processes work at PMG? What will I even be doing? As it turns out, PMG wastes no time before having new employees dive right into client work, and I am incredibly appreciative for that. One of the items I was tasked with within the first couple months was co-managing the RFP process for a half million dollar campaign. And I had never, repeat NEVER, been involved in an RFP process previously. I have since gone through several RFP processes, and I have discovered it is one of those things that takes years to master. However, I have learned quite a bit while going through several RFP processes, all of which I’m still trying to master and with that, I present you with a how-to-master-the-rfp-process-from-a-total-rookie guide:
- Research potential partners
What vendors make sense for your client to partner with? You need to ensure that you’re reaching your target consumer with all partners. Be sure to keep in mind who has performed well historically and whether it makes sense to continue the partnership if campaign goals are similar. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and invest some dollars with new partners who are a fit for your brand’s audience because you never know when you might find your new top partner.
- Send out RFPs
Once you confirm which partners you’d like to potentially partner with for your campaign, send out the RFP materials that describe your campaign and its goals. Once the partner collects the RFP materials, they can utilize the documents to guide them in crafting a proposal for you that should meet your client’s demands.
- Collect the proposals and begin the review/feedback process
When the proposals are back in your hands, begin the process of sorting through each one to see if their recommendation fits the campaign goals. Ensure that all materials you provided the vendor to fill-out have been properly executed. Keep in mind that the partners are typically willing to work with you to adjust the plan based on your feedback, even when it comes to cost structure. Don’t be afraid to be completely transparent during the back-and-forth process, as this will in-turn increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to craft a proposal that truly encompasses what your client is hoping the campaign will accomplish. Keep notes during the review process of whose proposals you like and whose you don’t like because it ends up being a lot of information to keep track of.
- Craft a media plan
Now it’s time to put together the best proposals that you feel will allow the campaign to meet its goals into a media plan to present to the client. Make sure you aren’t spreading dollars too thin or giving a huge chunk of budget to new partners. There will likely be a bit of back-and-forth here with the client as they provide their feedback. Don’t be afraid to stand behind a partner you truly feel is a good addition to the plan but also be cognizant of your client’s opinions. After several revisions, you will have a client approved media plan in front of you.
With your approved media plan in hand, it’s now time to set everything up and get your campaign up and running!