Agency Opinions on the Infamous RFP

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – October 27, 2004

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers.


1. Agency Opinions on the Infamous RFP – Few Surprises
2. Clients Share Their Innermost Secrets
3. Pardon the Outspoken Plug!


In late September, one of the nations largest foundations turned to us to conduct research to learn how their communications staff and some of their largest grantees (nonprofit organizations) could improve and create standards or alternatives for the RFP process. The foundation and its grantees hire ad agencies, public relations firms, research/polling companies and media buyers to help them create and implement communications campaigns around issues the foundation supports. We polled our agency registrants for their input.

Within the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing those results, but there were few surprises. In

Question # 1 (of 23 multiple-choice questions), given 11 options ranging from “clear” to “confusing”, the majority responded that RFP’s were “not well thought out”, and “asked for wrong information.” In later questions, respondents remarked the RFP was merely a formality; that the preferred candidate was already identified.

One respondent’s comments reflected many: “Most RFP’s seem to be constructed by people who have little idea about the marketing process, their real goals and objectives, and what they need to convey to get back meaningful responses… Also, they ask for sooo much detail that it can’t possibly be meaningful. They need consultants (intermediaries) in the search process and trust them to do their job … never thought I’d be saying this!”

More details to come…


We’ve been helping clients manage their searches for so long (beginning 1997) that we tend to forget that our registered agencies, particularly when they receive an invitation to compete, don’t always understand the extent to which we converse with our advertising or public relations clients (those conducting the search). Al Ries (The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR) makes the point that your company needs to be Number One in your category, and if you’re not, create a new category! That’s precisely our case. We’re nothing like an on-line directory, but it’s apparently easy to confuse us as such. If you’ve done a Demonstration Search at:


then you understand how we differ. We OWN our category, but admittedly haven’t made enough noise about that.

Our client conversations and consulting interactions are as extensive as those that take place with Search Consultants you know and read about in the press. Agencies prefer our process though – our objective is to help each client identify and then formally invite just those agencies extremely well qualified, generally eliminating the need for the infamous RFP. We’re not a filter either, so we step aside after the invitations and mandate direct communication between invited agency and client decision-makers.

Since our “official” role ends at the invitation,

we want to make certain you’ve received yours. In case your new business contact is traveling, not only do we fax the invitation and confirm by e-mail, but we telephone. We’re looking to confirm that you received the invitation, answer any questions (about process or the client), then learn if you plan to proceed. If not, for reason of conflict, budget or “other”, we’ll convey that polite response to the client. But connecting is not an option – it’s necessary. That way, everyone is happy when they know the facts.

Clients share confidences with us to the same extent they would if working with a hired and compensated Search Consultant. After more than seven years, I’m proud of our unblemished record protecting the fiduciary responsibility we have to maintain confidences on both sides of the client and agency fence.


When and where we can, we like to help young, new talent. Such is the case for Han Lee, designer/director in Los Angeles. Han visited in September, more curious about the agency community than anything else. He’s looking for work, as is the case for the others that contributed to this project. When I visited his web site, I had to say “wow!” Take a look for yourself at Hanlee.TV. First at his work;

then to the Nike site for more.

As to Han Lee: Freelance designer & director for T.V commercials, broadcast network, music video and film Los Angeles, California, Graduated from “OTIS college of Art and Design,” with a Bachelor in Digital Media.

“I believe that design is finding story and logic from a given subject; to communicate, to achieve, to avoid complacency, to enable, and most of all to make good times.

My idea of design has been applied to create direction in many different art forms such as: print, broadcast design, music videos, tv commercials, and film.

Style is always bound to change, but idea is what takes hold of it and molds it into something that endures.

Do you have some work for Han Lee?

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward
to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.


Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

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