Attention healthcare organizations! Tips to make writing your healthcare marketing RFP easier and get on-budget responses.
The right ingredients in The Great British Bakeoff
My wife Robbin and I are avid fans of The Great British Bakeoff, an annual TV series where twelve amateur bakers compete over 10 weeks to be named Britain’s best baker.
I know nothing about baking – but I’m fascinated by the variety of baking assignments in the show, from exotic breads to Tudor-era marchpane extravaganzas. We also enjoy the fact that the contestants are likable, modest, and actually root for each other – unlike the grotesque competitors in similar American shows.
Now, the key to winning the bakeoff is creativity, combined with the right ingredients.
Tips for writing a healthcare marketing RFP
While considerably less appetizing than a bakeoff, a healthcare marketing RFP also requires the right ingredients to be successful:
- Share your budget: It’s simple: If you want responses that are within your budget, you need to include that budget in your RFP! It’s OK to give a range. Marketing agencies work with budgets by adjusting the project scope – for example, we can adjust the number of interviews we do in a branding project. This is a balancing act, because we also work to deliver the most value for the money. And after we win a project, it’s common to further discuss deliverables and budget, because new needs become apparent as we get to know you better.
- Define your objectives: We often see RFPs that don’t do a good job of defining global objectives. Instead they focus on tactical details and requests. This often requires us to answer less important questions, instead than looking at the big picture.
- Present the problem, not the solution: For healthcare marketing agencies, problem solving is in their DNA. So they may be able to suggest effective solutions that you have not have thought of yet.
- Make quality time with agencies: Often the RFP is used to keep healthcare marketing agencies at arms length. Considering that healthcare marketing campaigns are major budget items that can last for months, it makes sense to invest time in a free-flowing discussion with the competing teams. That’s a lot more revealing than a dog and pony show. Note: you should talk to the people who will be actually working on your campaign.
- Limit the number of bidders: Unless you want to spend your weekends reading proposals, you should limit agencies to a manageable number. Pre-qualify a limited number of agencies to bid. How to pre-qualify? Ask: Are they knowledge experts in your vertical? Do they have the right skillset? Do they have relevant use cases?
- Give feedback: Once the the RFP process is completed, please provide feedback to both winners and losers. It’s the right thing to do – and agencies will appreciate and remember when you send them future RFPs.