Website RFP? No Thank You. Here’s Why.
2015 April 27
From time to time, we receive an RFP (request for proposal) from a business – usually one looking for an agency to develop/redevelop their website. Over the years we’ve learned quite a bit from our experiences answering a few, not answering others, winning some and losing others. Ultimately, we’ve decided to take a stance: No more RFPs!
We don’t template our relationships
Understanding goals requires two-way communication – not guessing. The thing that bothers us the most about RFPs are the generalizations and assumptions that the agency is forced to make in its response. In a true meet and greet, the first thing we do after introducing ourselves is ask the client what problem(s) they are trying to solve. What are their goals for this project? Who is their audience? Then we engage in real conversation. We ask questions and we listen. We learn about their pain before we tell them how we’re going to solve it.
On the other hand, an RFP, usually starts with a statement like this:
Being the happily married man I am, and I’m pretty sure my first date with my wife fourteen years ago wouldn’t have started off too well if I had asked her to fill out a form including a request like this:
I am seeking an attractive and smart woman to serve as my wife. This wife must demonstrate an ability to cook a perfect sirloin steak, and express a thorough interest in watching Husker College football every Saturday from September through January. This wife must also excel at doing laundry, among other unidentified housework to be identified at a later date.
The point is that projects are about relationships too. Do you really want to kick this off with an impersonal 15-page document that looks like something out of a law school text book? Help us help you by helping us understand your situation before we can have the chance to offer you a solution.
Creative agencies have an area of expertise – it’s creative marketing!
When you hire an electrician to fix your ceiling fan, do you brief him on how he should execute the job before you set him loose? What about when you bring your car in for an oil change? The point is that a creative agency has an area of expertise too. It should be hired not just to execute, but first to consult. If they’re any good at their job, creative gurus have learned from similar projects, and with your help in allowing them to understand the job at hand, they’ll have ideas and solutions you may not have considered. The brain power and experience that a good creative agency brings to the table is the most valuable thing they have to offer. A rigid RFP can really limit your ability to tap their expertise and the true scope of your project.
As in any relationship, personalities that don’t mesh are going to cause conflict. One of the first things that a client (and the agency) can learn from a conversation is whether or not they’re a good fit for each other personality-wise. An agency might be a great fit for one client, but terrible for another. An RFP response most likely will never reveal such intangible personality conflicts which can be devastating to any project.
The work speaks for itself
Look at the websites of the agencies being considered, like ours. Read a few of their blog posts. Observe the design, the writing and the flow of the sites they have developed. Then narrow your consideration set.
OMG clients come first
The last and most important reason why we no longer will answer a website RFP is that we believe our time should be spent serving our clients. Yes, well maybe cliche, but the truth is that our existing clients are already paying for our services and we intend to deliver results. Of course new business development is a big part of what we do as a company, but it will always be secondary. For us, RFPs require a massive commitment of time and we simply can no longer afford to let this cut into the time we spend executing for our clients.
So where do we go from here? It's pretty simple, if you have a project we would love nothing more than to hear about it. However, like all new clients we will meet with you face to face to discuss your project like we do the rest of our clients. Who knows, you just might hit the jackpot and we might take on your project.
We want to hear from you, so what are you waiting for? Contact us today.Get In Touch
Posted In: The OMG Collective