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Worst of RFI's & RFP's

In previous 4A's BizDevBlog posts (3/18 "Frustrated With RFP’s From Hell;" 4/6 "Why Are RFP's So Difficult?" and 11/18 "Winning RFP Proposals") members and industry experts flagged "Worst RFP Practices" and suggested alternative approaches that can allow agency and client to achieve their objectives more effectively and efficiently.
"Worst RFP Practices" that have been mentioned include:
  • Out of Control Questionnaires: one infamous questionnaire included 281 questions (only about 10 of the questions related to marketing)
  • George Foreman Cooking (Applica Inc) wanted agencies to mail in strategy and creative executions
  • Blind RFP's (for an undisclosed marketer) are always a worst practice
  • Excessive long list of candidates
  • Too many "finalists" presenting ideas and executions (for example Amazon with 9 or Zappos with 12)
  • Scope and budget keeps changing during the RFP process
  • Clients remain remote and inaccessible
  • Unnecessary or unreasonable client requests for financial details
  • Client's insisting on ownership of all ideas and work [even if the agency is not selected]
  • Auctions particularly when participants are not identified or when auction process is not conducted by an independent third party
  • Failure to disclose any client mandatories is a waste of everyone's time—If location, time zone, compensation method or price, size, etc are "must have" then these requirements should be clearly articulated up front
The 4A's New Business Committees would like to gather your "Worst RFI's and RFP's Practices" comments along with suggestions of alternatives so that we can craft a 4A's recommended process. Should there be separate distinct RFI phase and then an RFP phase?
Please submit your comments below
Posted by 4A New Business Committee: Mitch Caplan, Dave Lubeck & Tom Finneran

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