Here's an RFP for you -- a Request for Professionalism

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Peter Madden Peter Madden
I did it again.

I responded to a freaking RFP. As always, it was in in-depth request. As always, the demands were many. As always, I got excited at the prospect at working with this particular company.

And as always, we gave away some really good ideas in terms of PR events and strategies.

Why? Well, since the big move downtown, an addition of a couple more great people, and spending (I mean "investing") more dollars in the past three months than the previous three years, when a company approaches us that seems pretty cool, a potentially good match in terms of needs and goals, and a very healthy budget, I'm going to play ball. Or should I say take the bait?

I just wish the playing field was level; that the bait at least tasted good going down. Not in terms of our competitors obviously but in terms of the criteria on which the response to the RFP was being judged.

That probably should have been my first hint.

Who was it that said stupidity is walking through a door and being hit on the head and continuing to walk through the same door again and again expecting a different result?

My head hurts.

Let me be clear -- I love competition. I think it brings out the best in people and agencies when you approach it the right way. And as in any competition, as with the RFP, there is only one winner. The fact it wasn't us this time wasn't a big deal to me. Thankfully, we've never been busier. And as one of our trusted advisors JT says, "some will, some won't. who's next?"

The big deal was how this company, Cricket Wireless, a subsidiary of LEAP Communications, handled showing us the door. Oh no, good people -- it wasn't just a form letter. It was a form letter that had another agency's name in place of ours.

They didn't even take the time to cut and paste our agency's name into the form letter. I wonder how much time they took to actually review our proposal?

When a 30-page, detailed proposal from an agency isn't selected, I think the agency deserves an explanation. A detailed one at that. How else are you supposed to improve upon what was presented? RFP or not, when a company decides not to work with you, you'd be foolish not to get details surrounding the criteria process and where your agency didn't match up. So my response to our marketing contact at Cricket outlined good wishes (I'm such a freaking sport) and a simple request: can we have a candid discussion regarding the criteria process and why we weren't selected?

Shhh. Listen closely. Do you hear that? Me neither.

Unlike the insect, I still haven't heard from this inappropriately named Cricket.

Will I go down this road again? Is it even playing ball or is the fix already in? In the future, do I have our attorney write up a document stating all information is intellectual property of ours and the company requesting the RFP has to sign in order for us to participate? That's a pretty steely way to kick off any relationship.

Then again, your typical RFP isn't exactly a love letter.
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