How to Find RFPs for Creative Services

Small design, writing, programming, and consulting jobs are often awarded on the basis of an informal proposal or interview process. But larger projects often use a more elaborate Request for Proposal (RFP) approach. And in cases where the client is a public institution, these RFPs must, in most cases, be publicly posted and open to anyone who is interested in bidding on them.

Winning business through RFPs is tough, sure, but there are still a few very good reasons to keep up with the published RFPs in your market: They offer a good window into the state of the industry, can keep you abreast of new projects being launched by past clients, and may also reveal the occasional gem of a winnable project.

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After a Successful Proposal, Don’t Skimp on the Interview

“One Riot. One Ranger.” It’s an old saying in Texas, based on an apocryphal story about the Texas Rangers’ 1896 response to an illegal boxing match in Dallas.

Called in to stop the fight from happening, the state law enforcement organization sent just one Ranger, who was allegedly met at the train station by an incredulous Dallas mayor wanting to know where the rest of his group was. According to legend, the lawman’s reply was something along the lines o”how many fights you got?”

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How to Find RFPs as a Subconsultant

We’ve written quite a bit in previous posts about how to navigate the request for proposal process when you are the primary consultant responding to the RFP, and how to find RFPs that are right for your firm.

But what if the services you provide are so specialized that they’re seldom requested in their own RFP? Are there proactive steps that you can take to earn a spot as a subconsultant on RFP teams, as opposed to just waiting for teaming requests from prime consultants?

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How to Respond to an RFP

Crafting an effective response to a formal request for proposals (RFP) can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it’s not something that you do on a regular basis. Confusing instructions, multiple deadlines within a single RFP, unfamiliar scope descriptions, and limited opportunities for client interaction can all lead to various levels of failure, up to and including outright rejection of the response by the recipient before it is even considered.

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Sample RFP Response for a Downtown Master Plan

It’s been a while since we posted anything new here on Pushing Snowballs. The biggest reason for this is probably the fact that we’ve been busy with the launch of our new marketing agency, Content & Context, and have been pouring all of our content-generation energy into that business and its website.

People still visit this site in pretty significant numbers, however, so we’ve been thinking about the kinds of information we can share that will be valuable to the site’s users, and that will also complement the things we’re now doing at Content & Context. By the way, please take a look at that site sometime and let us know what you think.

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The One Question You Must Ask Yourself Before Responding to an RFP

What are the questions you need to ask yourself before deciding whether or not to respond to an RFP or RFQ?

That was what I had originally envisioned for this post. A list of questions to consider before you commit to expending the time (as well as covering the hard costs for travel, etc.) associated with a serious RFP response. Maybe even ten questions. After all, people do like lists.

As I got into it, however, I started thinking about how I have come to approach this decision-making process over the years. And I realized that all of the questions I had in mind were really just variations on one big question:

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Creating a Screen-Friendly PDF Brochure

It is rare to get a request for a hard-copy firm overview any more. Almost everyone who asks for one wants it sent via email.

The reasons for this shift aren’t hard to understand. The ability to view PDFs is now pretty much ubiquitous, and receiving information in this format enables people to get it faster, and easily pass it along to others in their organization.

There are also some clear benefits to this situation for brochure senders. It saves on printing and postage costs. It eliminates the need to store pre-printed brochures, and the waste that accompanies that practice. It makes it easy for you to customize materials on the fly. And it’s also better for the environment, assuming that the recipient doesn’t just turn around and print out their own copies.

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Free Tools for Creating Marketing Budgets and Forecasting Revenue

I have been reading Professional Services Marketing by Mike Schultz and John Doerr of the Wellesley Hills Group off and on for the past several weeks, and I finally got around to checking out the two free Excel spreadsheets that they created to accompany the book.

These spreadsheets, which are available for download from the Wellesley Hills Group website, address concepts that are explained in detail in the book, but there are also some instructions within the files, so you could get some use from them even without having read the book.

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Big Company Marketing for Small Creative Firms

As a marketer of a small firm, you probably don’t have the resources that a 50-100-person firm (or larger) has at their disposal. They may have multiple marketing staffers, while you might have one, or less than one, full-time person focused on marketing and business development. They have money to spend on outside PR or advertising consultants, while you rely on in-house capabilities. And they probably spend money on the production of glossy marketing materials and/or interactive content with a lot more glitz than anything you can generate.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t a lot you can learn from these big-firm marketing operations, including things that don’t cost any money at all. That’s because some of the most potent advantages large firms have don’t come from financial resources, but from the smart planning and resource management that come from taking a thoughtful approach to the marketing process.

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Sample RFP Responses – Volume 2

Here’s another good example of a well-executed creative-services RFP response. This one was a winning proposal for a law school web project, prepared by Chicago-based Rogue Element and offered for free download by HOW Design Magazine.

Very thorough, yet concise, and has a flow that makes it clear that it wasn’t just pasted together at the last minute. Well worth checking out.