'Request for Information' and 'Request for Proposal' are commonly used interchangeably, which isn’t quite correct, but easy to put right. Before we walk through media monitoring RFP best practice, we thought it would be best to explain what exactly we mean by an RFP, and how this differs from a Request for Information document:
A Request for Information (RFI) is a document sent out to vendors in order to shed light on specific questions, collect information or provide clarification on a service or product. On the contrary, a Request for Proposal (RFP) has the goal of prompting bids from potential vendors, while a Request for Quotation (RFQ) seeks price quotes and is sometimes includes in the RFP.
Due to the nature of each document’s goals, media monitoring RFIs are often sent first as they provide a good stepping stone towards evaluating the capabilities of vendors. Unlike an RFI, the media monitoring RFP goes a step further and offers additional details, possibly asking vendors to propose solutions to particular needs, such as global media tracking. That’s not to say that all three documents won’t have some form of overlap, in fact, they most likely will since companies often use RFI insights to draft their RFPs and decide on which vendors to send the RFP’s to.
Since strong RFI documents highly benefit RFPs, we’ve included some tips on creating media monitoring RFIs below.
To help you get it right the first time, We've collated and blended the best parts of the most successful media monitoring RFPs we’ve seen and created a downloadable template to guide you. Download this using the form on the right-hand side!
Let’s explore each section of the template in more detail. Ask yourselves the answers to the questions and write your responses (in full sentences) in the downloadable media monitoring FTP template.
1. Introduction – Background information on your company
What year was your company established and by whom? What’s your mission statement? Where is your company’s HQ? How many people work for your company? How many people work in your department? What are the names and titles of the department leads that the vendor will be working with? How many offices do you have around the world and where? What products and/ or services does your company offer? What’s your unique selling point that set you apart from competitors? Which of your competitors is doing a good job? Who is your target audience? How many clients do you have and where in the world are they? Who are your key stakeholders?
2. Current situation
Are there any key challenges your business is currently facing? Are there any key challenges your department is facing that are restricting you / making it difficult to achieve your goals? What are your companies business goals for the year ahead? What are your department's goals for the year ahead? What are your departments KPIs? What metrics do you use to measure KPIs? What other tools do you use to measure KPIs? What current marketing/ comms and/or PR initiatives do you have in place? What’s working? What needs to be improved?
3. Project Goals and Scope of Services
What project do you need completing? What are you trying to achieve? What SMART objectives do you expect to accomplish? What tasks and criteria are involved? What does success look like to you?
4. Evaluation criteria
What mandatory functions and features should the media monitoring tool provide? How should the onboarding process be run? If you need the support of vendor account managers, what should their role include?
5. Additional proposal content/ bidder qualifications
What attachments are you expecting to receive along with the proposal? Do you require details on the size/ geographic expansion of the vendor? Do you require examples of past work and the results? Do you require references from similar companies within your industry? Do you want to see who will be working on your project (name/ title)? Do you want to know of all the resources they will be dedicated to the project?
6. Possible challenges
Are there any roadblocks, such as resources, that might prevent certain vendors from successfully completing the project?
What is your budget?
8. Project deadline
When do you want to start the project by? Is there a date when the project is expected to end or is it ongoing for the foreseeable future?
9. Proposal deadline
Until which date can vendors ask questions about your project? When is the deadline for potential vendors to submit their response to the RFP by?
10. Submitting the proposal
How would you like the RFP structured? How should vendors submit their RFPs – by mail, delivered in person, etc?
It’s worth keeping in mind that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to media monitoring RFPs. We’d advise you to tailor the RFP template to best articulate your company’s needs. If you’d like to explore RFP best practice for your company in particular, drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org!
PS. Don't forget to download your RFP media monitoring template using the form on the right-hand side.