Will 2010 Bring Fewer RFP Cattle Calls?


It’s a bit early to be making – or asking readers for – 2010 predictions. However, there is one we’ve been thinking about. Namely, will we see fewer RFP “cattle calls” in 2010. By that we mean the widely circulated and publicized, every agency and their brother is in on this RFP.

One agency head recently quipped to PRNewser that they don’t do “beauty contests.” Another said they try to stay away from pitches that are widely publicized, especially if they don’t have a connection. Perhaps the low point in RFP cattle calls came in April of this year, when a Kayak.com RFP hit the front page of PRWeek and many of the big agencies went after it. The budget: a whopping $10,000 a month, something some of them wouldn’t have blinked at a year or two earlier.

Despite the rhetoric from agency heads, and the fact that the economic climate seems to be at least somewhat improving, the indication so far is that the cattle calls will continue. Ketchum CEO and Senior Partner Ray Kotcher recently told PRNewser that United Airlines had, “cast an amazingly wide net” with their PR agency of record RFP. It certainly makes sense from the brand side – the more agencies involved – the more ideas, and more likely they will bid each other down.

We’re curious to hear your take. Will you be changing your new business strategy after the holidays? Or are open pitches always still welcome, and a necessity of the agency business?