How Does the Advertising RFP Process Work?

by Kristina Allen; Updated September 26, 2017
The advertising RFP process can take weeks or months to complete.

Advertising agencies can assist in-house teams or become the sole source of advertising work for a company. When seeking a new agency to work with, you can publicly announce a request for proposal, or RFP. This means you provide project details to a variety of agencies, and they submit proposals for how they would complete the project, how long it would take and how much it would cost you. Depending on your goals and budget, you select one agency to work with after reading through all the proposals and speaking with the teams.

Writing

The RFP should include the specific qualifications you are looking for, and whether price or expertise is the most important factor in selection. Qualifications should include desired skill set, technical capability and whether a combination of supplies or services is needed. For example, advertising agencies should submit previous campaign results, creative examples and expertise of the team.

Deadline

Agencies should receive a deadline to submit their proposals. According to the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, a deadline should be at least four to six weeks out from the date the RFP is released to the public. This ensures all eligible and interested agencies are able to submit proposals. It also ensures the issuing company has the largest base to select from.

Review

The proposals then go to a committee for review. The committee should be made up of former or current marketing or advertising team members who understand the job to be done. Depending on how many proposals are received, the review committee should take three days to two weeks to discuss and score the proposals.

Presentation

Next, it's important to invite the highest-scoring agencies to present their proposal and past work in person. According to Web Design Broker, invite no more than four agencies. You may ask that the agencies provide case studies and examples of creative work. According to the National Information Site of the American Indian Gaming Industry, this is a reasonable request, but you must give ample time to pull together the materials. In some cases, it will be necessary for the ad agency to create sample television commercials or advertisements for the presentation.

Selection

Finally, after viewing all the presentations, it's time to select a winning agency. Depending on how much detail was given in the original proposal, some additional negotiating on price or scope of work may be necessary before signing the contract. After the details are agreed upon, the agency will begin working with the in-house team on the project.

About the Author

Kristina Allen began writing professionally in 2009. She has written editorial content as well as marketing collateral for a number of corporations and small businesses like Comcast Cable and Come Recommended. Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts in public communication from Florida Atlantic University and is pursuing a Master of Arts in communication from the same university.

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