Most brands understand the challenges of searching for the right agency and the stress factors that can come along with the request for proposal (RFP) process – so do the agencies.
While an RFP is the key method to efficiently gather information for the bidding process in the meetings and events industry, there are flaws within the procedure that need to be addressed. That being said, there are a number of techniques that can be used to make sure that an RFP leads to a mutually beneficial outcome for both the brand and the agency.
Relationship building is the first component to a successful RFP.
The request for proposal process should be the first step in forming a relationship between the brand and agency. All too often, brands submit RFPs but aren’t available to discuss any questions the agency may have; however, communication is key to gaining clarity versus confusion. Connecting with the potential agency’s team gives the brand insight into what a working relationship would be like and allows the agency to concept an event plan that’s better aligned with the organization’s main objectives.
A budget may just be one of the strongest contributing factors to an advantageous RFP.
Quite frequently, RFPs do not provide a financial target, adding unnecessary pressure to the agency. If the intent of an RFP is to secure concept and cost, then providing a budget is a critical piece of information for agencies to effectively respond. Budget parameters allow production and design teams to generate the adequate innovation, inspiration, and insight the brand deserves, while staying realistic to what the organization can afford. The result of including a budget is a faster, more direct response to the RFP – leaving fewer surprises for both the agency and the brand.
Agencies understand that it can be difficult when the time comes to review RFPs and make a final decision.
To make this process flow more smoothly, it is wise to begin with research. Select 10 different agencies and evaluate their portfolios on their website to gain an idea of the type of work they do and who they work with. Then, narrow that list of 10 down to just 5 agencies and begin establishing connections. Ultimately, only 2 or 3 of the favorite agencies should receive an RFP.
Once a decision has been made, follow back up with each agency that submitted an RFP and present feedback.
Agencies are always looking for growth opportunity and input from brands is the best way to understand the reasoning as to why an agency was not selected. Countless hours go into ensuring an RFP is not only well-executed, but specifically catered to the organization’s brand. Those are hours that could be spent on current clients, yet the agency chose to invest the time and energy into developing an RFP for a brand that may or may not become a client.
At LEO Events, we aim for an RFP process that results in great working relationships – not just for one event, but for years to come. Through open communication, established connections, and proper research, the RFP process becomes mutually beneficial to the brand and the agency – leading to less worry for all involved parties, and most importantly, a wonderful event and partnership.
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