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Questions You Should Be Asking in Your Next Marketing RFP

Creating a new request for proposal is a massive undertaking, but when done right, it can go a long way towards helping your organization select the right marketing partner.

RFP Questions Hero

Writing a request for proposal (RFP) is an essential first step toward finding a vendor that meets your needs — and your budget. At its core, the RFP’s purpose is to simplify the agency selection process. A well-crafted RFP gives you an apples-to-apples view of what each vendor has to offer and enables objectivity, making it the go-to tool for finding the best agency partners.

The success of the RFP process hinges largely on asking the right questions, but due to the creative nature of marketing, it can be a challenge to come up with questions that garner the information you need. Here’s how to make sure you’re creating an efficient and effective marketing RFP.

What to Ask in Your Website RFP

No matter which type of website RFP you need — a technical, nuts-and-bolts quote request that’s focused on the specific methodology to be used or a more tech-agnostic approach that asks creative agencies to recommend solutions — the questions you ask will help you understand what to expect from each vendor’s unique approach.

“While cost is always going to be a driving factor, it’s crucial to also get a feel for the agency’s approach and experience during the RFP process,” says Tina Kelly, chief marketing officer at Casual Astronaut. “Finding a strategic partner that aligns with your own organization’s values and has a proven track-record of staying on budget and on schedule is incredibly valuable.”

Home in on these elements by including the following questions in your website RFP:

  • What is your approach to project management, design and content creation?
  • What is the timeline for completion and how often will status updates be provided?
  • How often do you complete projects at or under budget?
  • What does your review and testing process look like?
  • Can we speak with a customer who has engaged your agency on a similar project?
  • Can you provide sample websites that showcase your work?
  • What CMS do you recommend and why?
  • What kind of ongoing support will be provided after the build?

What to Ask in Your Digital Marketing RFP

When creating an RFP for digital marketing services, be sure to ask for information that will give you a good understanding of who the agency is, what types of services they offer, the type of talent and resources they have access to, as well as their ability to handle your project while delivering results. It can also be helpful to include information on campaigns and channels you’ve ran in the past, as well as an outline of past paid media budgets, if available.

“The majority of the agency’s response should be specific to the challenge you’ve laid out in the RFP,” Kelly says. “The more detail and context you’re able to provide, the more accurate the response will be.”

And don’t forget to find out if there’s a markup on media, Kelly says. “That could be a red flag, if the agency is compensated by spending more media vs. focusing on being as cost-effective as possible.”

Include some or all of these questions to find an agency that meets your needs:

  • What is your proposed solution to our challenge and why?
  • What channels do you recommend to reach our target audiences and why?
  • What percentage of your overall business is digital marketing?
  • Is there a markup on media? If so, why?
  • What is your approach to performance reporting?
  • How will ROI be demonstrated?
  • Can you share relevant case studies?

What to Ask in Your Content Marketing RFP

Whether it’s social media fodder, longform articles or concise product copy, trusting someone else to inhabit your brand’s voice often requires a leap of faith. But a well-executed RFP can remove some of the risk.

“Content can be so subjective, and there’s very rarely a one-size-fits-all solution,” Kelly says. “It’s important to find content creators that balance quality with effectiveness, and to invest in content that aligns with and bolsters your brand.”

And don’t overlook the process beyond the actual creation of the content — be sure to examine each vendor’s approach to brainstorming and ideation, collecting source material, search engine optimization, image sourcing, editing, revisions, population, promotion and integration. A good content agency will be well-versed in all of these areas, and should be able to offer insight on both creating and amplifying content.

These content RFP questions can help you find the right match:

  • What is your specific specialty? Is it videography, journalism, photography, social — or all of the above?
  • Do you have experience creating content within our vertical? If so, please provide examples.
  • Who will be creating the content?
  • How do you ensure that your content is accurate? Describe your fact-checking process.
  • How will SEO be handled?
  • How will the content be integrated into other marketing efforts?
  • How will you measure content performance?

Sending Out an RFP?

From websites to digital marketing campaigns to content programs, we’d love to discuss how our experience fits your project’s goals.


Jeff Ficker
Jeff Ficker Chief Creative Officer

Jeff has more than a decade of experience as a content marketing strategist. At Casual Astronaut, he oversees the agency’s team of editors and art directors, who collaborate with a network of writers, photographers and videographers to produce content with a journalistic approach. He has launched marketing programs for dozens of global brands, including The Ritz-Carlton, CBS Television, UPS and Honda/Acura.

A contributor to Travel + Leisure and Sunset, Jeff is a former adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Jeff lives in Phoenix but flees to Copenhagen every summer to escape the desert heat. Outside the office, he volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Arizona’s foster care system.

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