Is The RFP Process Broken? Most Clients And Agencies Think So

When it comes to the process of handling RFPs (requests for proposals) for advertising account pitches, advertisers and agencies often seem far apart. Except on one thing: a majority of both stakeholders believe it is broken.

That's the finding of a study of advertisers and agencies conducted last month by Advertiser Perceptions for MediaPost to understand where ad executives stand, and how they would fix the process.

Not surprisingly, a higher percentage of ad agency executives (70%) believe the process is broken than their client counterparts (55%), but a majority of both sides believe account pitches are due for an overhaul. That's where the agreement seems to split, and the finger-pointing begins to take off.

While advertisers fault agencies for their lack of understanding about their account needs -- their top response (55%) for what they believe is wrong for with the RFP process -- a corresponding percentage of agency execs believe advertisers don't supply them with enough information to make a suitable pitch.



Beyond that, advertisers kvetch that they don't get to vet who works on their account, assert that the advertising accountability structure needs to change, and that the current RFP process doesn't give them an opportunity to see their agencies in action before they select them.

On the agency side, respondents complain that they don't have sufficient opportunity to discuss the parameters of an RFP with clients beyond the questions they are asked to respond to, that they can't address the agency's own needs in the process, and that there is too much focus on price and little interaction with clients that sets the process off on a "bad footing."

1 comment about "Is The RFP Process Broken? Most Clients And Agencies Think So".
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  1. Michael Hubbard from Media Two Interactive, August 30, 2021 at 1:34 p.m.

    This topic has been a hot one for me for years - and of course, as a small agency - we are notoriously going to say the process is rigged against us :)   But even when it's not procurement led (which adds another layer of finger pointing), I still feel like the client side can eliminate almost all concerns you've addressed above (both advertiser and agency).  For starters - use an agency consultant.  Yes, it costs more money, but they'll help you find what you actually are sending out an RFP for.  Second - require transparency.   By requiring transparency of EVERYONE, that elimnates every agency concern outside of price, and can eliminate every advertiser concern except seeing the agency in action.  We often say if the advertiser won't give us Analytics access, then they don't trust us enough to make us their agency, and on the flip side, we can't show them enough about what we do without showing them how we can specifically apply our expertise to their data.  So don't issue an RFP if you aren't going to allow for full transparency, and agencies shouldn't be responding without the same. 

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