The Ins and Outs of Marketing RFPs

Man considering what to include in his Marketing RFP.

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” — Tom Fishburne, Founder & CEO, Marketoonist

Not only is marketing an effective way to engage customers, but it also helps to build a company’s reputation. Additionally, it develops a relationship between customers and the business and boosts sales.

But many organizations—including non-profits, government agencies and private companies—don’t have the time or resources to tackle their various marketing needs in today’s fast-paced business world.

That’s where the proposal process comes into play.

Developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for experienced marketing vendors is a great way to find a strong marketing partner. But before you embark on the RFP process for marketing services, there are several key things to keep in mind:

What Should a Marketing RFP Include?

RFPs allow vendors to identify your desired services, your expectations and your project goals. Always request the following information in your marketing RFPs:

Company Overview: Help vendors understand your organization by giving them a glimpse of who you are by providing what, who, where and when. This brief synopsis will give vendors some useful information before they embark on the proposal writing process.

Project Overview or Statement of Work: This is a concise and detailed explanation of your organization’s expectations and goals. Be sure to mention exactly what services you need. There is no such thing as too much detail in this section.

Budget: This is useful so vendors can tailor their response based on your outlined budget. It will also help match you with an appropriate partner firm that commonly handles projects of your size.

Comprehensive Timeline: A project timeline with specific due dates is beneficial for vendors. Include the proposal submission deadline, evaluation process details, and decision-making dates. 

Target Audience Description: This section is recommended so vendors understand your marketing goals, as well as to whom their market services should be tailored.

What Should You Consider With Every Marketing RFP?

It can be tricky to decide which vendor will be the best fit—based solely on a written document. As a result, you can do the following to assist in your decision-making process:

–Ask marketing vendors to provide a list of current clients, as well as a description of their relevant experience. Examining a list of their active clients will help you learn more about their book of business. At the same time, understanding their relevant experience gives you a glimpse into their successfully completed projects.  

–Think of your RFPs as the first step in learning about the vendor’s skills and experience. The second step should include an interview with the vendors you consider to be finalists. This face-to-face meeting will allow you to learn more about vendors. Make sure you ask about the marketing team members who will be working on your project, the project manager who will oversee the work and be your contact, and the types of similar projects completed by the marketing agency. (COVID-19 Note: Consider utilizing video-based technologies in place of in-person interviews when possible.)

 –Instead of focusing solely on cost, consider choosing vendors based on whether they will make a good partner, share your vision, successfully build an ongoing relationship, and meet your particular needs.

What Should You Do to Ensure a Successful Marketing RFP Process?

If you need help finding the perfect marketing vendor to deliver your marketing services, The Bid Lab can help you through the RFP journey—from beginning to end.

With years of RFP experience, our talented team can support you as you navigate the important proposal process, which can make a positive impact on your business, today and down the road.

To learn more about how we can help you procure the right vendor, read more about our Bid Builder service or contact us for additional information at