Ok, so now you’ve hopefully already read the Top 10 Questions to Answer Before Creating a Franchise PR RFP that outlines the questions you need to answer internally before you start crafting the RFP.
Now, it’s time to draft a killer RFP that nets you the perfect agency relationship. As the CEO of 919 Marketing, I’ve literally reviewed dozens of RFPs issued by a wide range of companies. They tend to fall into two camps — either super generic and cookie-cutter or a complete overkill, where so many questions and requests are made (e.g. asking for references before you’ve even decided if they qualify) for so many things that it’s clear there is no clearly defined selection strategy.
In almost every situation, RFPs don’t ask the hard questions required to truly uncover the true differences between the participating agencies based on the goals and expectations of the client. If you have read other articles that I’ve written about franchise marketing, including one entitled, “Why Clients Hate Their Franchise Marketing Agency” you know that I have a pretty unfiltered take on all things related to the relationship between clients and agencies. While I’ve been on the agency side of the coin for almost 25 years, I’ve also worked on the client side as an EVP Marketing and hired several marketing firms.
Here’s my take on the top 10 questions to include in your next franchise PR RFP:
1. What are the terms of your agency services agreement? Please provide the length of the agreement, termination clauses, payment terms, the coverage amount of errors and omissions insurance, the desired method of settling any disputes, and the projected staff hours worked per month and the billable rate per hour. Do you have any clients that might pose a conflict to managing our account? We insist that you don’t currently work with a competing brand nor accept work from a competing brand while under contract with our company. This is mandatory.
2. What related services do you provide in-house? Check all that apply
- National Public Relations
- Local Market Public Relations
- Grand Opening Public Relations
- Crisis Communications
- Data Analytics
- Video Filming and Production
3. How are you different than other franchise PR firms? Please be specific and direct — people, processes, experiences, services, etc.
4. What are the top 3 reasons clients select your agency? What are the top 3 reasons you have lost accounts?
5. What is your methodology for developing a strategic action plan outlining goals, timelines, deliverables and KPIs? What data analytics approach do you utilize to make more informed PR strategies and pitch topic recommendations? Discuss your in-house capabilities integrating PR and SEO to augment our website and digital marketing success.
6. Describe the agency approach when onboarding a new account. What do you do? What do you need/expect us to do?
7. What do you suggest regarding the initial media focus? Rank each outlet 1-9 (with 1 being the most important) in terms of your initial thoughts about our brand PR strategy.
- National business and entrepreneur media
- National consumer media
- National franchise trades
- Other trade media (e.g. Nation’s Restaurant News for restaurant brands)
- Local media campaigns promoting franchisees as thought leaders
- Grand opening programs
- Crisis communications
- CEO branding/thought leadership
The Account Team:
8. Who will be working on our account on a day-to-day basis? Detail each team member’s relevant category experience, years of PR experience, projected # hours per month, etc. Who would be responsible for managing our timelines and budgets? Who would be responsible for writing pitches and press releases? Who would be responsible for pitching the media outlets?
9. Do you utilize any kind of scorecard or grading system that enables us to evaluate and give feedback on a regular basis? Please provide an example. Bi-weekly update calls will be required to discuss new initiatives, progress made, and future goals. Further, the agency must also monitor/track the success of all efforts via a robust reporting dashboard. Quarterly performance updates will also be required.
10. What documented success do you have working on an account like ours? Please provide (3) case studies that show what you did, the results generated and testimonial from the
- Relevant brands (size, current market position, similar # of franchisees)
- Brands facing similar PR challenges as our brand
- Data analytics-driven PR program with a fully integrated SEO component
There are a ton more standard questions you can add to the RFP, however, be careful not to overdo it in phase one. Nevertheless, check out my article entitled “The Must-Have List of Franchise PR RFP Questions” to explore a deeper list of potential questions.
Here’s an insider tip for deciding which agencies to invite to the RFP and which ones to exclude from consideration. Meaning, how good are they at generating press for themselves? Are they repurposing media content on social channels? Does their website have a high Domain Authority? Do they know how to use PR coverage to increase their search ranking around conversion keywords like “franchise PR firm” for example?
Good luck with your pending franchise PR agency search. I trust that you have found this article on the “Top 10 RFP Questions For Franchise PR Services” helpful and worth the read.
BTW — I would seriously consider adding an agency to the RFP list that ranks high for the term “franchise PR firm” on a Google Search. Just my two cents.