Digital signage is a great communications solution for any sized project, but for a particularly large-scale implementation, you may want to consider putting out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to several digital signage providers.
Writing an RFP for digital signage allows you to precisely outline your needs, provide specific contract details and expectations, and establish formatting standards for all submissions. From there, providers may submit proposals that make a case for why you should choose their solution in a way that addresses your concerns.
Putting the time into writing an RFP for digital signage can streamline the review process and help determine which proposals are feasible and worthy of further consideration.
If you don’t have a lot of experience in creating an RFP, the good news is that they all typically follow a similar structure. This can help provide a basic outline for your proposal and help you cover all the critical information that providers will need to submit a thorough proposal for your digital signage project.
Here are the essential elements that you should include in the initial RFP for digital signage. We’ve also provided a free RFP template at the bottom to use for your next digital signage RFP.
Use this first section to introduce your company and convey the challenges and pain points that you are experiencing. Try to avoid discussing possible solutions and focus on detailing the problem at hand. This will encourage providers to come up with innovative solutions and help you avoid receiving a batch of proposals that are difficult to differentiate from one another.
While a vendor can visit your company website to learn more about what you do, this section should take things a step further and detail your values. Don’t waste too much time talking about what you do on a daily basis or logistical level. Instead, focus on the ideas that helped found your company, why you are different from the competition, and the kind of organization that you want to be going forward. This information will give vendors a better idea impression of who you are and how they might be uniquely positioned to partner with you on your project.
This section should include both qualitative and quantitative goals. You may want to discuss your goals for how incorporating digital signage in your building will look and feel to visitors and users. While you might not be a design expert, you can still convey that the digital signage should seamlessly fit within your existing architecture in a way that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Don’t worry about going into details about how to achieve these goals–leave it up to vendors to present solutions that meet your needs.
Bonus Tip: Even before putting the RFP together, we recommend accurately assessing the communication needs of your business which will give you better insight into the signage project requirements. Download our free Project Requirements Worksheet to help you get a full and precise snapshot of your project and avoid mid-project challenges.
It is also good to come up with some qualitative metrics that can be used to measure success. You might consider how much you want to increase certain conversion numbers or user engagement. How and what you measure will depend on the type of business or organization you run, but it is a good idea to include some hard numbers to set expectations and encourage submissions to contain specific and realistic solutions.
Every provider will have different strengths and weaknesses. Some digital signage companies may specialize in providing and installing displays and hardware solutions, while others may focus more on digital signage software capabilities and the support structure of their product. You will need to take your audience and resources into consideration to determine which factors are most valuable to completing your project. It may be difficult to know exactly how much hardware you will need, especially if you are leaving design decisions up to the vendor, but try to be as specific in your requirements as possible. The more you can outline your needs, the more accurate each bid will be from the beginning.
Be clear about project timetables and any other milestones for certain deliverables. Include any pertinent information concerning deadlines. For instance, will you be installing digital signage in new construction that is slated for a specific grand opening date? Is there a new product launch that you want to advertise through digital signage? If you are looking to complete your digital signage project under a tight deadline, the more you can communicate your needs, the more likely you will be to receive proposals from companies who are ready to get started and have the time to dedicate to your project.
Use the RFP for digital signage to identify who will be the primary point of contact and elaborate on how final decisions will be made. Will the vendor be presenting ideas and asking for approval from a single project manager, or will decisions have to be discussed by a committee first? Make it clear who will be involved with the digital signage project and how accessible all parties will be during the project. This will establish expectations about how much oversight you will be providing and how quickly the project will be able to move forward if issues arise that require discussion.
How much do you want to spend on hardware, software, labor and ongoing support services? Be clear upfront about how much you can dedicate to your digital signage project to instantly weed out any companies who may be charging prices beyond your budget.
Asking vendors to provide a detailed report on how they would use your budget will also allow you to make informed decisions. After looking at proposals, you will have a better picture of what components in the project are worth investing in.
Require that vendors include portfolios of their previous work and demonstrate how they were able to help other companies meet similar goals and expectations to your project. It is important that they not only show a track record or success but also that they have a clear understanding of you and your goals. You want to see that they understand your project well enough to articulate any connections or similarities between your project and their past work.
While much of your RFP is designed to outline your expectations and what you are looking for in an ideal candidate, it is a good idea to include a summary section that gives an overview of your expectations. This section can serve as a reminder and a quick reference for companies who are putting together proposals, and it serves as a final effort to remind vendors only to apply if they can meet your criteria.
Writing an RFP for digital signage projects does require a little more effort on your end, but it is also a valuable experience that will challenge you to critically think about the purpose of your digital signage project before speaking with potential providers. Once the RFP is written and distributed, it will help you attract qualified candidates and easily compare submissions so that you can make informed decisions that will ensure a successful project. Putting in the effort upfront will reap many rewards.