Glossary: Request for proposal (RFP)

A request for proposal in email marketing answers specific questions about how the vendor solution will meet needs and goals. It provides detailed information on requirements such as function and workflow, business goals and integration specs to the vendors. These are often lengthy documents. An RFP might be used in conjunction with a RFI (request for information) and  RFQ (request for quotation), or those might be included in an RFP.

Content of an RFP

The RFP often includes scope of work (SOW), pricing information, price quote, contract terms and conditions, as well as detailed reference information. The client presents a business problem, and the bidders propose their possible solutions to the problem. An RFP may also use an evaluation tool such as a weighted factor matrix that considers the relevancy and weight of predetermined criteria. This provides a level playing field in terms of evaluating products and services by factors other than just price.

Requirements analysis

The process of creating an RFP often forces the organization to think through what it really needs. The same is true regarding the creation of an evaluation team and the evaluation criteria to be used in narrowing down the field to the best and final offer (BAFO) stage.

Loose use of the term RFP

Formal procurement documents are used worldwide and aren’t always called an RFP. For example, they might be called “tender offers,” “briefings,” or be part of a creative pitch. The terms are used loosely, so be sure what is expected and set your expectations accordingly. An RFP might be used in conjunction with a RFI (request for information) or an RFQ (request for quotation), or those might be included in an RFP.

About Jordie van Rijn


Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named on of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016 " by Entrepreneur magazine.