One bulletproof way to deliver customer delight at scale – consistently – is by embedding an effective data-driven personalization strategy into your product and marketing framework.
And, attempting to build these capabilities in-house may be your initial go-to response. But, hold on!
It can cost you upto $300,000 and hundreds of precious tech man-hours in building out a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with regards to personalization, in-house. You’d be better served bringing on board an external vendor to produce near-instant conversion uplifts, for a fraction of the cost.
In this backdrop, strategically evaluating external vendors so you make the right long-term choice is key to your personalization roadmap. And, we’ve put together a free and comprehensive Request for Proposal (RFP) template to help you do just that, fast and effectively.
What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)
An RFP is a formalized, structured, and detailed document that you – as a business – will create and share with qualified third-party vendors to enable you to complete a strategic project.
It outlines your business requirements, project history, progress made, and roadblocks faced. It further contains a comprehensive list of questions that your shortlisted external vendors will respond to, helping you make an in-depth assessment and alternative comparison.
This will eventually help you arrive at a final selection decision – based on various rounds of inputs, feedback, and review – on a vendor that is best suited to execute your project.
Why do you need an RFP for Omnichannel Personalization?
Just like you purchase new software or outsource existing physical or digital infrastructure to optimize economies of scale, omnichannel personalization can also be purchased.
But, before you decide to employ the platform and services of an external vendor, you need to do your research and due diligence. Goes without saying, right?
While you can begin with a shortlist of qualified vendors – based on basic primary research – you need to share your personalization requirements with them and also gauge how they can help you effectively address your pain points.
Think of the RFP and the process as bridging the gap – quickly – between what you need and how best a vendor can help you address this. And, helping you make the most well-informed purchase and integration decision.
Regardless of you being an e-commerce, OTT, news and media, travel, BFSI, or edutech platform – you will require an RFP – once you’ve decided to bring onboard an external personalization vendor.
Are you looking for vendor that will help you deliver 1:1 recommendations on your website and/or mobile app? Or, a vendor that can deliver these powerful contextual recommendations across diverse touchpoints and marketing channels as well?
Does your e-commerce platform require the search results to be personalized on the homepage? Or, are you looking to boost customer acquisition through personalized ads on Facebook and Instagram?
These are questions that you must ask your shortlisted vendors and figure out if these meet your actual requirements, enabling you to move the needle on the KPIs that matter most to you.
What does this RFP template contain?
To help you approach this process systematically and make a well-informed, data-driven purchase decision, we’ve put together this RFP template for omnichannel personalization.
It contains sections (that need to be completed by your business and shortlisted vendors) on:
- RFP and external vendor information
- Your company information, existing pain points, KPIs, and expectations
- Vendors’ core competencies, value propositions, and relevant capabilities to address your pain points
- Other relevant information that you may want to share with vendors, to help them tune their pitch to suit your specific needs
- Other relevant information that vendors may want to share with you, to help you make a more well-rounded evaluation and purchase decision
We’ve also outlined a detailed “Consideration Checklist” of 60+ questions based on the key personalization features or capabilities that are critical to you.
These revolve around:
- Ease of Integration
- Customer Data Collection & Tracking
- Onsite Personalization
- Journey/Channel Personalization
- Experience Testing & Optimization
- Dashboard Reporting
- Product Support & Consultancy
Mind you, this is as exhaustive and relevant a list of questions that you will need to take into consideration. But, we encourage you to modify these questions or add new ones to the mix, to ensure it is truly tailor-made to your requirements!
Who will help evaluate this RFP?
When you’re investing in an external omnichannel personalization platform, it requires cross-functional buy-in, to ensure everyone is on the same page.
So, while a personalization and 1:1 recommendation engine-led solution will primarily help Marketing or Retention Managers move the needle on their KPIs, you’ll require proactive feedback and inputs from:
- Product Management
- Analytics/Data Science/AI/ML
Of course, it goes without saying that you’ll need complete buy-in from the senior leadership including your CMO/CDO, CTO/CPO, CEO/COO, etc.
Omnichannel personalization isn’t a “set-it-and-forget-it” flywheel. And, purchasing from an external vendor can be a fine balancing act.
At the end of the day, you need to pick a vendor that doesn’t just provide value-for-money, but a vendor that is also capable of addressing your evolving pain points at scale.
And, every question you ask during evaluation and comparison must stem from your core belief in customer-centricity.
Will a vendor help you consistently deliver 1:1 customer experiences at scale across every single stage of individual customer lifecycles?
Get complete clarity on your future personalization roadmap. Shortlist the best-in-class players based on initial considerations. Ask the right questions. Assess and compare carefully. Think long-term. And, choose the right omnichannel personalization vendor.