Do you sometimes feel that bidding on advertising projects is a losing game, requiring hours of research and free spec work?
We do too. Even with differing opinions about how agencies should respond to these kinds of opportunities, some thinking them wasteful or limiting to creativity, perhaps a positive perspective on the process still exists. Instead of killing creativity, the structure just might become a challenge that grows your team by leaps and bounds.
The process usually goes something like this:
- Stumble across a request for proposal
- Have an RFP sent by a colleague
- Actively search for an RFP
Debate whether it’s worth it.
We usually end up asking realistic questions such as:
- Is our agency a good fit for this organization or project?
- Do we have time to fit in this bid along with our client work?
Conduct free research. If you look on the bright side, this equals learning all you can about a new industry or product, which actually translates to professional development at practically no cost.
Develop a free strategy.
Develop those problem-solving skills. Marketing and creative strategy can be a tricky maze to work through, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of cracking a case.
Conduct free brainstorming sessions, sometimes lasting all day.
Grow a stronger team that gets better at thinking together and dealing with frustration together. When our new graphic designer had just joined the team, we dove into a proposal that accelerated the adjustment process. We “got the bugs out” learning how she thought and worked. In the end, we were better prepared to serve our existing clients.
Develop a free creative brief complete with purchased stock photography for a variety of mockups.
Exercise the creative juices of your copywriters and designers with beautiful spec work that can be used in portfolios. Spec work never hurt anybody.
Wait and wait and wait.
Whether or not you gain the project or even hear back from your prospect, you have an odd sense of satisfaction. You’ve grown as a marketer and advertiser. You’ve grown closer as a team. And your newfound knowledge is something no one can ever take away from you.
Can you relate? Share your RFP experiences with us in the comments below.