Great Proposals Start with Your RFP
In online advertising, getting effective proposals from media partners continues to be a key element to creating the most effective plan. Your RFP is at the heart of the process. A clear and concise RFP ensures you and your potential media partners are starting in the same place and moving in the same direction. Overall, a successful media planning process will:
- Uncover new opportunities
- Create a competitive pricing environment
- Align proposals to your strategy and objectives
The Media Planning Process
Here are three key considerations for the overall media planning process that will ensure your RFP can work for you.
1. Develop Your Consideration Set
Who will you be sending the RFP to? Developing the consideration set early will help you determine if you need multiple versions of your RFP. If your consideration set is too long, you will be flooded with proposals and will not be able to give each one adequate time. If it is too short, you will not create a competitive environment and discover cost-effective opportunities.
Tip: Do not send RFPs to more than twice the number of partners you expect to work with.
2. Give Potential Partners Time
Publishers should have time to ask questions and develop a considered response. The right amount of time to allow can vary significantly with the complexity of the proposals you are looking to get back. You may need to allow two to four weeks for highly customized, integrated proposals, but most media publishers can respond to the typical RFP in three to seven days with a tailored, customized proposal.
Tip: Just because publishers will provide a proposal in a few hours doesn’t mean this approach will uncover the best opportunities.
3. Plan for Iterations
Your ultimate goal is a single cohesive plan, so allow time for at least two full rounds of iterations. Expect to give your potential media partners at least half the time you allowed in the original proposal for each round of revisions plus the time you need to review proposals and provide feedback.
Tip: Expect the overall planning process to take four to five times the amount of time you give publishers to respond to your original RFP.
The Media RFP
Your RFP is central to the process. It introduces your program to your potential partners and sets the initial alignment. Below are the basic things your RFP should cover.
Your sales rep is the expert in their property and offerings, not in your company. Providing an overview of your company as it pertains to the campaign is critical.
Set the Proposal Parameters
What are the budget, time period for the program, and proposal delivery requirements? Requesting more deliverables than you need will burden you with unnecessary reading and publishers with additional busy work that keeps them from the heart of your proposal request.
Share Your Goals
Outline both what your program is expected to accomplish and how each publisher’s contribution against your goals will be measured.
Outline the Approach
Your media and advertising program is part of a larger marketing plan; let publishers know how you are approaching the market overall. Is there a rich experience you are driving people into? If so, publishers need to drive traffic. Will the message be delivered via rich media creative? Or are you capturing contacts you can put yourself in front of over the following months via email and social media?
Most publishers can provide proposals that align with each of these sample approaches. Outlining the approach and the role publishers will play ensures the proposals you receive will be a fit with your overall plan.
Establish the Evaluation Criteria
Your evaluation criteria reinforces the role you expect publishers to play, the contribution you expect them to make against your goals, and what elements are required in the plan. If it is all about price, include it here (and shorten the rest of your RFP!).
List Materials and Resources
What creative, video, speakers, content or other materials can you provide to support the campaign? Also, your RFP should make it clear how you will handle proposals that require materials outside your list. Will they be rejected, discounted because of additional material cost, or delayed for additional development time?
While this may seem like a lot of information to share, providing sufficient time and resources for your overall planning process and to write an effective RFP is well worth the investment in the final result.
Is there other information an RFP should include? If you work in media sales, how does this compare to the RFPs you normally receive and what is required for an RFP to stand out?