Why RFPs Are a Waste of Our Time, and Yours

Written by | Tagged RA Culture,

November 27, 2018 | Rosenberg Advertising,

It’s a common practice in many industries: a company has a need and sends a Request for Proposal (RFP) to multiple organizations. For some companies, RFPs make perfect sense — when you’re buying a commodity with strict specifications and the entire decision-making process relies heavily on hard facts. The situation becomes much grayer when the need is marketing and the request is sent to agencies. The RFP may ask questions about the agency’s background, request case studies and may even solicit a detailed strategy or campaign idea based on the company’s perceived marketing need. The proposals typically take hours (if not days) to complete with no guarantee that they are ever read.

If you send us an RFP, you’ll likely receive the following response from myself or Austin:

Thank you for your interest in working with Rosenberg Advertising! We don’t typically respond to RFPs, but we’d love the opportunity to come into your office (or invite you to ours!) to learn a little more about what you’re looking for in order to develop a customized marketing strategy for your business.

We’re not trying to be difficult . . . promise! It’s just that, well, responding to RFPs just isn’t who we are, and we owe it to you to explain why.

Why we didn’t respond to your RFP

Instead of spending our time answering broad, vague questions, we’d rather sit down with your team and find out what makes your company unique. It’s how we start every new client relationship, and it’s how we want to start our relationship with you. Quite frankly, we need to be the ones asking the questions. We prefer to get to know the ins and outs of your business, your goals, who your customer is and your budget before we ever even think about making recommendations. An RFP simply leaves no room for any of that. Our process takes time and it is labor intensive. At the end of it, you may decide that we aren’t the right fit for you and that’s okay. But we guarantee you’ll get more value out of sitting down with us than you ever will from an RFP response.

While we could pitch you interesting and creative ideas in response to your RFP, what if we get the job only to realize that our initial suggestion isn’t the best solution for your business? Then we’re left either adjusting a strategy that everyone is already set on, or trying to execute a strategy that we know won’t yield optimal results. It’s not fair for either of us!

We operate a 13-person agency, making it critical that we strategically allocate our resources in a way that gives our clients the best possible service and expertise while keeping costs fair. Unfortunately, completing an RFP just isn’t a smart allocation of those resources and would force us to take time away from our client work, something we rarely like to do. Our clients are our biggest asset and increasing their sales is where our focus lies. When you think about it, isn’t that the type of agency you want to work with . . . one that dedicates the majority of their time to their clients?

So if you’ve checked out our work and want to partner with us (we’re flattered!), do us both a favor and skip the RFP process. We guarantee that if we are a good fit, an RFP won’t be necessary. Let’s sit down, have a cup of coffee (or two) and really get to know each other. Just think, you may never need to write an RFP again.

We aim to build long-term client relationships. Did you know that we’ve worked with many of our clients for 20+ years? Learn More.


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