Got project work? How to ditch the RFP

Whether you have an incumbent agency, multiple agencies or no agencies, there are going to be times when you need to find an agency that can take on project work.  It might be because you require specialized services. It might be because you want a fresh set of eyes and hands on a particular project. Or it might be because you hope to execute a project at a cheaper rate.

Whatever your reasons, you probably don’t want to go through another RFP process to find what you’re looking for.

And ultimately, what really matters is great work at a fair price.

While project-based models aren’t for everybody, with some marketers favouring long-standing relationships, there are some real benefits:

  • Choosing from best in-class agencies able to do the work
  • Opening opportunities for smaller boutique agencies that otherwise couldn’t compete on your whole business
  • Eliminating layers of process that can come with larger, AOR relationships
  • Potentially eliminating the day-to-day politics of larger client / agency relationships

It’s therefore not uncommon for marketers to discover project-based agencies can be more responsive, more agile and even leaner when it comes to pricing.

So if any or all of that resonates, then the question is how do you find a project-based solution without having to undertake a complex RFP process?

Here are a few thoughts for marketers contemplating assigning project work:

Ask colleagues within the industry

A personal recommendation is one of the most helpful ways to meet potential new partners in the industry by providing a warm introduction to a known quantity.  Just be sure you understand the context, what projects were done that came highly recommended and whether there’s a fit with your own business.

Take the cold call

Yes, that’s right – take the cold call! Agencies who make proactive calls to clients asking to share their capabilities, best work and thoughts around how they might help grow your business are presumably keen to work on your business.  And a ready-made credentials presentation is worth an hour of your time every few weeks as it may open the door to a great potential solution at later date.

Be curious about great work

If you see great work, find out which agency produced it and if you’re contemplating project work now or in the near future, ask if they’re open to working on your business, what their costs look like and how they think they could create equally great work for you.

Fast track access

We maintain a database of agencies open to project work, together with contact information, preferred project size and hourly rates.  And if you’d prefer fast-track access to pre-screened agencies that could right for your business, ask us about our fast track project solution and how to avoid an RFP process for project work.

As a wise person once said, every project is an opportunity to learn, figure out challenges and to invent and reinvent.  What will you discover working on your next project?


Stephan Argent is Founder and Principal at Listenmore Inc offering confidential advisory to marketers looking for truly independent insight and advice they can’t find anywhere else. Read more like this on our blog Marketing Unscrewed / follow me @StephanArgent

Photo: Nikk




Please share / like / follow: