RFP how-to articles in ad agency new business

Hi, folks. Thought you might appreciate a heads up on some interesting articles related to agency RFPs and RFIs. In this post, you’ll learn some tips you can pass along to clients, as well as get a reminder where you can insert client benefit in your agency’s story. All of which will drive new business development for your ad agency.

Chris Shumaker wrote a bit in Ad Age that offers up some tips to clients on developing RFPs. I love what he has to say. Chris would definitely be one to know, by the way. He’s an experienced new business hand, having worked in “the bigs” for years. Personal experience suggests he’s a smart, nice guy.

By the way, one of the things Chris recommends clients use are the new 4As / ANA guidelines. Agreed. Find Thunderclap posts here and here on how this can be used in your agency’s new business efforts.

Avi Dan wrote a piece in Forbes CMO Network also aimed at clients. Avi’s a search consultant – one of the good ones, I understand. He writes a good post. And while his message is a little self serving (that clients should hire search consultants instead of working through procurement), get over that quickly. He’s got some suggestions in it that you should be aware of as an agency. Here’s a snippet of what he writes with regard to a good RFP…

” a good RFP should provide information about how the agency differentiates itself; what is its business model, what is its vision. We want to know: have any of your ideas ever failed? What did you learn from that?”

He goes on:

“You are not hiring an agency’s past; you’re hiring its future. And that future, while somewhat informed by previous accomplishments like case studies and samples of creative work, is more likely to be a reflection of an agency’s culture and people, and its willingness to embrace what’s coming rather than preserve what’s been.”

Pretty damn inspiring stuff from an experienced pitch man.

From your perspective, these articles can mean a couple of things:

Understand the benefits your vision, business model and culture can deliver to your clients
This should kinda go without saying. But you’d be surprised how often agency RFP responses don’t call out the value of these things to readers. I see this a lot when past responses are used as source material. The readers of your document are looking for the WIFM – what’s in it for me. Spell it out.

Take part in the industry paradigm shift
Value yourself more. The Ad Age article suggests that the smarter agencies are also evaluating their client just as much as the client is eyeballing them. Your taste alone in new business blogs suggests you are smart! Avi’s wisdom suggests it’s OK to be yourself, relying less on the Jedi mind tricks of ad agency new business. Should you be looking for more ways your uniqueness is marketable, do a search for “authenticity” on this blog.

Anywho, hope this helps. If you’ve noticed any new RFP trends, feel free to share. Thanks!


Almost forgot: if you are looking for FREE RFP Response How-To tips, sign up for the RSS feed or drop me a line. Happy to send some over to you in the form of a presentation I delivered to a group of 4As agencies.