Silence is not goldenJune 27, 2012
#MediaMonday – Kacie TalamanteJuly 2, 2012
Many agencies simply will not respond to an RFP. Quite honestly, I don’t blame them.
In the public sector, the RFP process is typically dictated by state laws and city ordinances.
Even though we know it in advance, there are some drawbacks to the RFP process.
- We’ve seen it happen, mostly in the private sector, where an agency is not selected, but somehow, the ideas they submitted in their response are implemented by the would-have-been client.
- We have discussed with procurement officials for years that purchasing professional services is a much different animal than purchasing widgets. Our stand against “low bid wins” often falls into an audio void, even though “you get what you pay for” is how it often turns out.
Things have changed some over the years as our own messaging has been heard and in many cases taken to heart -- literally. We believe that communicating the correct message, whether it is on behalf of a public agency, a private company or an individual, is vitally important to the success and survivability of the entity. We say, “If you were having a heart attack, would you shop price for a heart surgeon?” Likely not. We’d say the same thing about shopping for a PR agency whose expertise can help determine whether or not an entity survives.
- What about the current contractor? We always ask the question regarding public-sector RFPs: “Who is your current PR agency and are you happy with them?” The standard response is: “It is company X, and everyone has an equal chance to win the contract.” In the private sector – if the client is happy, they do not make an agency change. In the public sector – sometimes they do, even if the agency is doing great work and the client is happy. It doesn’t always make sense.
And on top of that – really not everyone has an equal chance. A one-man band does not have the infrastructure or resources to handle some of the bigger jobs that require depth, staffing and a stronger physical presence.
- The budget. Most RFPs do not include the budget. Instead, they request the bidder to tell the prospective client what it would cost to provide the services requested. The bidders are then left to determine on their own how much they should charge – even though the requesting entity already knows how much money it has to spend. There’s a big difference between a $10,000 program and a $100,000 program. Proposing the latter with the former’s budget means nobody wins. It’s unrealistic and backwards thinking.
I’m sure we’re not the only ones with RFP nightmares. For us it’s a recurring dream because we’ll do it again.