RFP for Marketing Services: How to Get Started

RFPs for marketing services allow businesses to collect proposals from digital marketing agencies. If you’re getting ready to create an RFP for marketing services, we suggest including a company overview, statement of work, project timeline, budget, and response guidelines. Learn more about how to receive qualified proposals and increase your chances of finding the best digital marketing agency.

Whether a startup or enterprise, at some point, you may need help growing your business. Maybe your marketing team needs extra hands running a social media campaign, or maybe you need to capture media attention after a product launch. No matter your advanced marketing strategy needs, understanding how to create an RFP (request for proposal) for marketing services is important.

An RFP enables companies to field proposals from interested online marketing agencies. You can then review the proposals and select the company according to your criteria.

To help you secure the right internet marketing company for your project, we outline the key elements of an RFP for marketing services below.

RFP for Marketing Services: What to Include

  1. Company overview
  2. Statement of work
  3. Budget
  4. Project timeline
  5. Response guidelines

1. Company Overview

At the beginning of an RFP for marketing services, you provide helpful background information.

A company overview provides potential marketing partners with useful information such as when your company was founded, employee count, location, and key products.

A helpful overview section includes:

  1. A brief history
  2. Key stakeholders
  3. Products or services
  4. Location
  5. Size
  6. Value proposition

In the background section, answer the questions, “Who; what; where; when; why, and how?” By providing this information, you enable creative agencies to understand your business and help them craft more targeted proposals.

For example, despite its brand recognition, MSNBC provided an extensive background section in its RFP for marketing services.

MSNBC RFP for marketing services example


In the background section of MSNBC’s RFP for marketing services, the media organization details its structure and history of digitalization. It also features key facts, providing prospects with helpful information that’s not necessarily readily available online.

2. Statement of Work

Following an overview of the organization, you should include a statement of work in a RFP for marketing services.

A statement of work is a concise overview of what you expect to achieve with the project. In this section, always define your project scope.

In the statement of work, businesses should clearly state their objectives and expectations for the digital agency selected for the project. Be as specific as possible, including tasks, expectations for reporting, and metrics of success.

The RFP, for example, should outline which marketing services the partner will provide. Define if the chosen digital marketing company will deliver Facebook ad campaigns or content marketing initiatives.

By creating a statement of work that specifies expectations, you will be more likely to receive proposals that align with your RFP and engage the right marketing partner.

3. Budget

Next, clarify your project budget in your RFP for marketing services.

Budget may include:

  1. Total marketing budget
  2. Budgets for specific channels
  3. Terms of payment

Specifying a budget enables marketing agencies to develop accurate proposals, offering only services that fit your budget.

Budgets also narrow your choices for marketing partners, helping to expedite the decision-making process.

If a marketing agency is over budget, your company is unlikely to choose them as a partner. Similarly, a marketing agency is unlikely to respond to an RFP with a budget that’s too low.

4. Project Timeline

Always share your timeline in a RFP for marketing services. Proposal and project timelines help you eliminate marketing and advertising agencies that can’t meet your requirements.

Your project timeline should be specific and set dates for deliverables requested in your RFP. For example, if you need help segmenting your audience to launch an ad campaign, you should specify audience segmentation as a week-one deliverable. This information helps digital agencies determine if their team can submit a proposal and successfully execute the project.

It’s also helpful to provide agencies with a timeline for the vetting process. This promotes transparency throughout the process and gives marketing agencies a timeframe for asking questions about the project.

If you have a flexible timeline, you can include that in the RFP, too. A flexible timeline may help widen your candidate pool.

5. Response Guidelines

Outline guidelines for communicating with marketing agencies that respond to your RFP for marketing services.

An RFP for marketing services should indicate who to contact for questions and how to send proposals.

If you prefer to receive proposals via email, for example, you should share the point of contact’s email address and the proper subject line for agencies to use. Or, if Google Drive’s the preferred method of communication, share the link to the project’s folder and the title format that agencies should follow.

Companies streamline the submission process by detailing the requirements in RFPs. This mitigates confusion and may expedite the response process.

Beyond file formats and points of contact, it’s important to outline the information that marketing services providers should include in their proposals. This not only helps you receive the expected information but also eliminates vendors that can’t meet expectations early in the vetting process.

RFPs for Marketing Services Help Businesses Find the Right Partners

By creating detailed RFPs for marketing services, companies position themselves to receive precise proposals from qualified vendors. From a list of qualified prospects, businesses can then select the marketing services provider that best fits their requirements.

To develop an effective RFP for marketing services, companies should include the following information:

  1. Company overview
  2. Statement of work
  3. Budget
  4. Project timeline
  5. Response guidelines

RFPs for marketing services that feature this information can help businesses find the right partners for them.