6 TIPS ~ Skip the RFP & Pick The Right Experiential Marketing Partner

by Ben Cohen, C.E.O.

Finding the right experiential marketing agency that’s best suited for your company needs can be a lengthy, time-consuming, and confusing process which makes it hard for even the best in the business to break through. Recently, a number of our BCEX clients have shared that they are skipping the traditional RFP (request for proposal) step in order to save both time and resources. Here’s a synopsis:

  1. Tap your network - Reaching out to the people you know and respect to find a new AOR will be your best connection as they’ll be honest and forthright about agency strengths and weaknesses, providing intelligence that may not be revealed through a typical RFP or presentation.

2. Set up casual in-person meetings or Skype calls to gauge potential synergies. Much of the success of an agency/client experience has to do with chemistry and complimentary communication.

3. Avoid asking to see a campaign that mirrors what you’re looking for - If you’re in the market for fresh ideas, then create a dialogue with the agency team who will be on your experiential marketing campaign. Many times past experience is not always indicative of future success. Look forward, not backward.

4. Mystery shop and see the agency in action. Once you have an agency short list, check out their work as it’s happening. Drop by unannounced or find out if you can schedule a visit to a program activation to observe their execution strategy, choice of staff, and the way they interface with consumers.

5. Experiential marketing is all about bottom line results. Once you’ve identified your top agency choices, ask how they measure the results of their programs and request examples.

6. Only ask for a proposal after some initial vetting — Great, so you’ve knocked it down to one or two final firms. If they are seriously interested, they will put the right amount of time and effort into an RFP-like presentation. The right experiential marketing agency will showcase their knowledge of your industry, market, and potential for success.