Bionic today revealed new automation aimed at streamlining the painful RFP process for media planners, media buyers, and ad salespeople. This software upgrade was inspired by insights gleaned from handling more than 6,000 RFPs for hundreds of advertising agencies and thousands of media vendors over the past five and a half years.

What’s an RFP?

There are hundreds of thousands of media options available for advertising. The RFP – Request For Proposal – is a tool that helps to bring clarity to this dizzying array of alternatives.

After narrowing the scope to a small “consideration set,” media planners and media buyers use RFPs to gather focused proposals from ad salespeople. The RFP describes goals such as who the ads should reach, how many should be reached, when the ads will run, budget levels, and other marketing objectives.

Each ad salesperson responds with a proposal to achieve those goals with recommended advertising placements, pricing, and available quantities. After gathering, evaluating, and comparing the proposals, the buyer then accepts or rejects each proposal, in whole or in part. If accepted, the proposed placements become new entries in the media plan.

When used properly, the RFP is a valuable communication tool for both buyers and sellers of advertising media. It gives buyers fresh ideas and tailored placements. It gives ad salespeople a platform to distinguish their media offerings.

Nonetheless, the RFP is often criticized as an archaic holdover from the mad men days of advertising.

The Problem with RFPs

There are myriad problems with the RFP. It’s the Fiesta Nobody Loves. Without the right system in place, the RFP process is tedious and expensive process. In fact, a study has shown that digital media agencies spend 38 hours and $3,018 per campaign on RFPs. Many more hours are spent on the sell-side.

Insights Gained from Handling 6,000+ RFPs

Bionic first introduced RFP management to its software five and a half years ago. It has been used by hundreds of media planning teams to send more than 6,000 RFPs to thousands of media vendors. This experience and feedback from clients have given us greater insight into the RFP:

  • No, The RFP is Not Dead – Despite what you might read in the news, the RFP process is alive and kicking. Despite its well-known flaws and the advent of real-time programmatic advertising, the RFP remains a primary tool in a media planner’s toolbox.
  • The RFP is More Than Rates and Avails – The media RFP is also used to gather ratings, KPIs, ad specs, and a lot of other information.
  • The RFP Process Requires Automation – For media planning teams, centralizing the RFP process on a purpose-built system is critical to efficiently and effectively running an RFP process. It avoids hours of labor and countless mistakes.
  • RFP Needs to Be Shared, But Exclusively – Media planners need to restrict access to the RFP, but at same time need to make it easy for both planners and sellers to invite others to participate in the RFP.
  • The RFP Process Requires Standardization – Ad sales teams want an easy-to-use interface, but also need access to the full capabilities of a media planning tool including advanced packaging, flighting, ratings, and KPIs. All this needs to be delivered in a standardized format with standardized nomenclature.
  • Everything is Negotiable – The RFP process needs to support multiple proposals, revisions, and multiple budget levels.

Changes to the RFP Tool for Media Planners

For media planners, Bionic has streamlined the way you send RFPs. On your campaign, go to the new RFPs tab, click the “Add RFP” button, then follow a few simple steps and you’re done. You have a centralized dashboard to monitor every RFP sent and every proposal received. It’s like an air traffic control system for RFPs.

Changes to the RFP Tool for Ad Salespeople

For ad salespeople, Bionic has completely revamped your interface. We rebuilt it using latest technology which makes it a snap to handle all the RFPs coming your way.

You’ll find all your open RFPs on your home page as soon as you log in. You’ll also have easy access to your entire history of previous RFPs and proposals.

Your proposal creation tool has been upgraded with the latest media planning technology, making it faster and easier than ever to deliver quality proposals.

How to get the new RFP Tools

If you’re already on Bionic, your software has been upgraded for free as part of your Bionic subscription. You’ll find the new features the next time you log in. For guidance with the new software, please email, call, or chat with the customer support team. We’d love to help you to get the most from the new software!

If you’re not yet using Bionic, visit our website to learn more and get your account:

Webinar Recording

Here’s a recording of a webinar showing off these new capabilities, which was originally held Monday, November 19, 2018 at 11:00 am US Eastern.