We’ve fielded a lot of RFPs over the past couple of months and the best one thus far was from YPO’s Flagship Events Director, Philippa Green. Whenever receiving an RFP, I immediately take out my Remarkable tablet (if you don’t know what that is, Google it, as it is amazing!) and begin to detail the questions we need answered. Typically, there are several — sometimes a dozen or more. In this instance, we could only come up with four! It was so incredibly thoughtful, concise, and detailed — and truly a breath of fresh air.

If you are planning to craft an RFP that will ensure you get what you’re asking for in the way of an event or experiential RFP, here’s our takeaway from that RFP and some tips for you as you craft yours. 

  1. In a world where we all have superpowers, we could read your mind. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world (yet). Take everything and anything you can possibly think of that may be relevant to the event and your brand/company as a whole and create an executive summary. Here’s your “why”. If we understand your “why”, we’ve got a far better chance at delivering on your “what”. What is your company’s vision/mission/value? What do you want your attendees to walk away with in terms of their experience? What have you done before for this audience and how do you want to change/enhance/improve the event? 
  1. The devil is in the details. When you begin to outline the “what”, avoid generalities and be specific. While we understand the details are probably still being hashed out, be prepared to share as much info as you can – attendee demographics, a prior or draft agenda, transportation needs, educational sessions, activities, anticipated F&B requirements, any themes, if applicable. Even if your RFP is for a specific piece of the event, the more we know about the event in its totality, the better our response.  
  1. A picture is most definitely worth a thousand words. Remember – we can’t read your mind! Show us! Show us what you like, what you don’t like, what you’ve done, what you want to do. Share your work-in-progress agenda. Share high level information on the content. Share any creative and marketing you’ve already got in play. 
  1. Detail your expectations of us and share your selection criteria. Identify your priorities. What’s most important to you? Budget? Relevant history? Creativity? Team expertise? We understand in many cases that your procurement department may have a piece of the decision-making process but we hope it isn’t just about money! And let us know the time frame and procedure for questions we may have – as we most definitely will have questions no matter how thorough you’ve been.  We’re inquisitive kinds of people! 
  1. Please, please, please open your kimono! We never understand why a company is reluctant to share its budget. We suspect it’s because you think we will allocate it all, but that isn’t the case.  At the very least, give us some parameters so that we can create a cohesive proposal that is something you can afford. (As someone who was on the client side for quite some time, this is something I always happily shared as I knew I had a better chance of proposals that were grounded in reality rather than lofty dreams.) 
  1. Give us time! Think about the time it took you to craft the RFP.  Now think about the time needed to truly create a thoughtful response.  One that is creative, strategic, consultative, and prudent from a budget standpoint. Our goal is to provide the most comprehensive response possible – a deep dive into all of the elements you’ve shared with us. And that takes time.   

While we can’t share ALL of our secrets, we hope this serves as a guide to craft your next RFP. And hey, while you’re thinking about it, send one our way! 

‘til next time… 

With over 100 years of collective experience in creative solutions, our team can strategize with you to create an amazing event, whether it be in-person, digital, or fusion.

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