Marketing RFPs: The Ins and Outs

Marketing RFPs

“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 people don’t know you can develop a specific marketing RFP to find vendors to help you maximize your marketing potential and grow your business. 

Many organizations—including nonprofits, 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 in marketing allow vendors to identify desired services, expectations and project goals. Always request the following information in marketing RFPs:

Company Overview: Help vendors understand your organization by giving them a glimpse of your organization by providing the who, what, when and where. 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. The more a vendor understands about your specific company and goals from your marketing RFP, the better they can explain and tailor their services to meet your needs.

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What Should You Consider for This 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. Remember, you created a marketing RFP to specifically grow your business. It is important to find a vendor that fits the company. In reviewing a vendor’s past and current clients, you will get a better understanding of their scope of work and how that can benefit your vision. Any vendors working with comparable organizations can bring that previous experience with them to their next job. Organizations factor in these elements as they decide on their next strategic partner.
  • Think of your responses 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 finalists. This face-to-face meeting will allow you to learn more about vendors. Make sure you ask about the marketing team members working on your project, the project manager overseeing the work, and any similar projects completed by the marketing agency. 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?

When you decide to expand your company using an RFP to find a marketing vendor, remember to focus the marketing RFP on your goals. Provide detailed information about your company, your current size, how you would like to grow your business through marketing, your budget for services, your mission statement and what you are looking for in a marketing partner. Don’t forget to ask for current client references and examples to ensure you find a marketing partner who is familiar with similar companies and can help you achieve your goals. With a well-written and organized marketing RFP, you can find the ideal match to expand your business.

Need help finding the perfect marketing vendor to deliver your marketing services? Well, The Bid Lab can assist you throughout the marketing RFP journey—from beginning to end. With years of RFP experience, our talented team can support you as you expand your business through the proposal process. Want to learn more about how we can help you procure the right vendor? Contact us for additional information by calling 1-844-4BIDLAB or by emailing