Why RFPs? Time for a Change

The RFP has been around for decades and it doesn’t seem to be aging gracefully. The process has grown laborious, complex and confusing, while the business world in which it exists has evolved in a swifter, more efficient and productive manner.

Case in point, the early 1950s Department of Defense RFP for the U-2 spy plane was a mere two pages. That’s a far cry from today’s RFPs, which often number dozens—if not hundreds—of pages for comparatively simple technology-laden projects.

While we recognize that certain entities —most often public companies, those in highly regulated industries (Financial Services for example) and certainly governmental agencies and municipalities—most adhere to the RFP process, the system at its core level may actually prevent RFP issuers from properly vetting and selecting the best partner for their needs.

If you have been following this series then you are aware of the many issues the process presents including unrealistic timelines, lack of face-to-face presentations,complexity and confusion, a scattered playing field and high/low bid exclusion. Taken separately any one of these is a potential roadblock to selecting the right partner. So you can well imagine how the process as a whole often leads both RFP issuers and respondents down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Is there a better way to vet potential agency partners? For the reasons we have outlined above and have discussed in detail over the course of this series, we emphatically answer, “Yes. Yes, there is!”

If companies would embrace the process as outlined in our previous blog series, 5 Keys to Selecting the Right Digital Agency, finding the right agency partner would be—dare we say—relatively pain free for parties on both sides of the table.

Further, by vetting potential partners in this manner—taking a close look at agency longevity, agency size, technology resources, agency practices, and respective pricing model—issuers of RFP’s may very well be able to conduct more efficient and targeted searches. Ultimately, these companies would be more effective in identifying and engaging the best possible agency partner, perfectly suited to meet both current and future needs.

As Bob Dylan famously sang, the times they are a-changin’. In today’s 24/7 digital world change is constant. Marketing systems, platforms and processes are evolving at warp speed. And that begs one more question.  Has the time come to lay the old RFP process to rest? We think it has.

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