Five Tips for Writing a Kick-A$$ RFP

We love it when new RFPs land in our inbox. As researchers and data geeks, few things excite us like the fresh opportunity to share creative ways to answer your biggest business questions. And after crafting responses to thousands of RFPs over the years, we’ve found a few helpful tips along the way.

Getting your RFP right is a win-win for everyone. It helps you find the best research partner for the job, and it helps us design a tailored approach that’s right for the challenge and aligned with your organizational needs. At MarketCast, we pride ourselves in our collaborative, high-touch working style, and we thought it would be useful to share our thoughts on what it takes to create a kick-a$$ RFP.

1. Collaboration is key 

Research projects aim to solve critical business problems. Therefore, it’s vital that the right internal stakeholders on the client side are engaged during the RFP writing process. A collaborative approach ensures that the people most impacted by the work can help define the challenge, outline what success looks like and set the right questions that need answering.

2. Curate a variety of purposeful questions

Not every RFP will look the same, however, there are a few themes you can carry over from project to project. By curating a library of questions and RFP templates to tap into, you’ll accelerate your process and hopefully establish some consistency.

Common Question to Ask

Why this research now? 

  • What overarching business goals, market trends, competitive contexts, or upcoming decisions are driving urgency for this study?  

Who will use the findings and what does success look like?  

  • Knowing which functional teams are involved and what decisions they’re looking to make from the findings helps focus on the appropriate methods ensuring everyone gets what they need. 

Is there prior research we should build upon? 

  • An approach that starts from scratch will look quite different from one that has a running start. Providing a sense of what relevant prior research and strategy work exists helps everyone get farther, faster by designing a study that builds on what’s already known. 

Does your team have hypotheses that should be kept in mind? 

  • Sharing your initial hunches helps align thinking with where you’re heading internally – and allows for a more sophisticated research design to be put together (e.g., fine-tuning sample plans, markets, and research exercises that creatively unpack your hypotheses) 

What are your timing considerations? 

  • Are there internal meetings or milestones you need to have insights for? Establishing an understanding around what is needed and when helps determine what methodological compromises might need to be made to achieve speed, and whether scoping for extra interim reporting touchpoints might be necessary.

3. Value transparency 

Most RFP respondents would agree that one of the most frustrating things is unclear expectations. When you write the RFP, aim to be transparent whenever possible. 

Do you have a budget in mind?

It’s always an awkward question, but trust us, a range or upper limit allows for the crafting of a study that offers the most bang for your buck. Breaking out core study components and recommending add-ons can always be provided, highlighting what each component adds to the overall research, giving you control over the final scope and investment. 

What will help drive internal buy-in of study findings?

What internal socialization techniques work best for your organization to ensure teams actually see your findings and put them into action? Our in-house creative team works hand-in-hand with our researchers and can include options for an array of creative collateral, videos or other immersive experiences.

4. Avoid template traps

Don’t let your RFP template trip you up – always give it a close inspection before getting started. If it’s been around long enough, it’s likely grown to include a kitchen sink’s worth of company information that doesn’t always apply, or worse, it contains errant specs from prior work. And, if you typically copy and paste from prior proposals, then this advice is even more critical!

 5. Examine and review  

Writing a great RFP is a skill that takes practice, and like any project or process, never overlook the importance of evaluation. Make time annually to diagnose which of your RFPs resulted in the strongest vendor responses, and which missed the mark. Ask yourself what worked well, what could be improved, and whether you’re effectively answering the key ingoing questions noted above. And, of course, seek out and share best practices with other RFP writers at your organization!

Of course, everyone has their own views of the perfect RFP. But, we do believe that these are important items to address and take into consideration when responding to any RFP. Now, get writing! 

“Buy Now, Pay Later” Goes Mainstream

Gen Z Doubles Down on “Buy Now, Pay Later” Apps

Consumer’s love of alternative payment methods dates back centuries. Here in the U.S., lay-away programs once ruled retail, and still exist today, allowing shoppers to put items “on hold” as they pay a series of installments. The credit card boom, starting in the 60s, allowed consumers to increasingly throw down their plastic to make purchases and defer payments, often resulting in an endless cycle of high interest debt.

Enter a new generation of “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) apps, which combine the best of both worlds. With BNPL, consumers can buy and receive those fresh new kicks now, but get the convenience of paying for them in 3-4 interest-free installments.

After taking a closer look at BNPL purchasing behavior, MarketCast found that Gen Z is turning up the volume on BNPL apps the most, especially for larger purchases. Since their income is limited, based on their age and life stage, Gen Z are more apt to take advantage of BNPL services that allow them to make high ticket purchases, including clothing and beauty products.

Popular BNPL Apps

MarketCast’s Gen Z Trend Tracker analyzed the organic opinions, across social and digital media, of those who self-identify as Gen Z (ages 13-25) to best understand how this cohort is embracing BNPL. Key findings include:

  • BNPL has experienced a 75% increase in conversation from the Gen Z cohort since the onset of COVID.
  • Beauty brands are the most referenced consumer segments related to BNPL.
  • 61% of the social conversation about BNPL is by Gen Z females.

Among the brands gaining the most traction are following:

  • Klarna experienced record growth in 2020 by being the first business of its kind featured in a Super Bowl ad.
  • Sephora and Urban Outfitters were two of the most mentioned brands among Gen Z using these apps.
  • These apps also partnered with popular influencer branded businesses like KKW Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics and Morphe Cosmetics.

Why it Matters

Despite the increased popularity of these apps, there’s still room for consumer brands and online retailers to enter the conversation across audiences. Specifically, our Gen Z tracker found young, Black women were exploring BNPL apps for a wide range of purchases, from haircare and beauty to clothing. Additionally, as the Gen Z cohort ages and their income increases, the buying behaviors learned today could translate into a wider array of brands and segments.

To learn more about our BNPL research and our Gen Z Cohort Tracker, contact us.

MarketCast Sports Poll: Industry Confidence Levels Rising

The long-awaited return of fans to sports stadiums around the globe feels closer than ever, especially with public confidence rising as the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues at pace in the U.S. In this month’s Sports Poll, in addition to reviewing industry optimism, we’ve taken a look at the evolving ticketing trends concerning teams and leagues, as well as reviewing the standout characteristics we’re seeing emerge from new leagues with new formats.

Trends in Ticketing

Interestingly, the sports industry is leaning towards a paperless ticket model, and, according to our poll, we should expect teams and leagues to initiate the transition to paperless over the next 2 years. The acceleration of this could also be fuelled by COVID-19, in a bid to minimize unnecessary physical interactions.

When will the sports industry transition to a fully paperless ticketing model?

Who should be allowed to have access to consumer ticketing data collected at sporting events through mobile ticketing platforms, and in what form?

Aside from lead generation, what do you believe mobile ticketing data is most useful for?

Trends in Emerging Sports

Turning to the latest trends and developments surrounding new sports leagues, of those surveyed by our poll, Premier Lacrosse League is the most recognized – with 83% of sports insiders polled having heard of the emerging league. In addition to this, 17% believe if they were a brand, they would be more comfortable spending their budget on a partnership with Premier Lacrosse League or NBA 2K League than any other emerging league listed.

Which of the following emerging leagues have you heard of?


If you were a brand executive, which of the following emerging leagues would you choose to partner with?


Which of the following benefits is most appealing to a sponsor of an emerging league?


Our final call out from this month’s Poll results gives spotlight to the business outlook in the industry, and, it appears to be stabilizing, although, we are still not yet at pre-pandemic levels.

Thinking about your own business, what best describes your confidence level regarding the next 12 months?