Business works best when designed around specific parameters of a market situation. For example, I’d advise against taking another company’s social media participation policy and adopting it wholesale. Or seeing a Facebook sweepstakes idea and running the exact same program, even if you’re in a different industry and geography. Or using a photo of your customer service team as your Twitter avatar because your industry competitors are using that approach. You may be thinking, “of course not.” So then why copy-and-paste a RFP without customizing for your own needs?
Buyers of social media services have benefited from the work of Maggie Fox‘s Social Media Group and creation of a Social Media RFP template. Unfortunately, too many lazy buyers have misused this source material; in the words of SMG themselves:
“the Social Media RFP template is too long, has too many questions, and many clients and purchasing departments are simply cutting and pasting the content with little or no thought about their actual needs.“
If you think the term “lazy” seems harsh, then why would smart companies be asking for credentials in podcasting, del.icio.us, and virtual worlds? Last time I checked, Second Life wasn’t high on any marketer’s list of priority platforms. Taking this kitchen sink approach is a disservice to both buyer and seller.
I’ve always been an advocate of creating solutions when uncovering issues – stay tuned. In the meantime, I’m interested in hearing about your experiences with social media RFPs from either side of the table.
Caveat emptor? Caveat venditor.