Ad Execs To RFP: RIP

The dreaded RFP -- or, request for proposal -- is losing favor with ad execs, especially marketers, and the rise in programmatic media-buying may be thanked.

In the first survey benchmarking ad executive sentiment about RFPs, three out of five say they plan to stop using them in the next 12 months.

“A lot of those have been viewed as transactional pieces of business,” says Andy Sippel, executive vice president-client solutions at ad industry researcher Advertiser Perceptions (AP), which began surveying advertisers and agency executives on their planned use of RFPs last month and found they are losing steam.

Sippel postulates that the rise of programmatic has fulfilled the need of marketers and agencies to process the transactional aspects of media-buying RFPs via technological automation, freeing buyers and sellers to focus on negotiating value.

“What’s left over is the human, high-touch ideation,” he says.

AP plans to continue tracking the shift, but Sippel says the change should come as good news to well-staffed media suppliers who are equipped to sell value vs. commodity.

However, some media suppliers may need to retool, because they have staffed their sales organizations with more junior “order takers” that have come to rely on RFPs as a pro forma way of competing for share of advertising budgets.

Sippel says media buyers should also be happy with the shift, because the RFP process has also commoditized more of what they have been doing in recent years, making them more “wranglers” than strategists and negotiators.

That said, clients seem more keen on doing away with RFPs than their agency counterparts.

While ad 59% of all respondents don’t plan to use a RFPs for media-buying in the next 12 months, when you break it down, it works out to 65% of marketers vs. 55% of agency executives.

Among those who still plan to utilizes RFPs in the next 12 months, AP asked whether they expect them to eventually go away altogether and 54% said “yes.” The average amount of time they expect RFPs to become irrelevant in media-buying is 2.1 years.

AP plans to repeat the study over time to track sentiment and expectations.

3 comments about "Ad Execs To RFP: RIP".
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  1. Michael Hubbard from Media Two Interactive, March 21, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

    The Media RFP process has steadily been "evolving" for lack of better terms - in that it seems like we do more RFI's simply to start the conversation, but very few true RFP's any more.  Programmatic - whether RTB or PMP deals really have done away with the need for extensive RFP processes, and then when you throw in most of our clients are using DMP's now - and the reality is, the RFP was more of a publisher based request than anything.  RFP'ing DSP's or sites with audience capablities similar almost seems like it would defeat the purpose.  So point well taken - I just hadn't really thought about it.

  2. Josh Davidson from Midroll, March 21, 2018 at 11:16 a.m.

    When I get an RFP my first reaction is 'Yeah, I got an RFP!'  Then my second reaction is, 'Crap, I got an RFP'.

  3. Maarten Albarda from Flock Associates (USA), March 21, 2018 at 11:30 a.m.

    I think what we are talking about here is a very specific type of RFP. If I understand the context correctly, this is an RFP issued by a marketer to a (group of) potential programmatic platforms. They state "here is how much money I have, here is who I am after. How are you, platform, going to deliver this and at what price point?"

    I can believe that this variety of RFP is declining, as the demands of programmatic have become more sophisticated (i.e. beyond pure lowest cost) and some have taken this in house.

    The "other" RFP is the one I am more familiar with, which comes from marketers seeking a change to their total eco-system of marketing. They are unhappy with (or unclear about) the performance of their marketing dollars, they feel their eco-system has ballooned into something that does not work as well as it should (i.e. silo-ed, with redundancies and inefficiencies, etc.) and the outputs of their marketing eco-system do not reflect the world that their consumer lives in. The occurence of that RFP is not going away, but growing, in our experience.

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