DPAA Drafts RFP Guidelines For Buy-Sell Process in Digital OOH

February 8, 2012 by Dave Haynes

One of the real consistencies in the digital advertising business is that there is very little in the way of consistency.

The people who control media dollars go crazy because the pitches for media avails that would seem similar come in reading wildly different. The people making the pitches go crazy because they’re not really sure what’s wanted, but they do know too much of the time the response isn’t go anywhere, anyway.

It’s about 300 miles from perfect, but there’s work well underway to make it better. The definition of better, in this case, would be buyers consistently stating what’s needed in proposals and sellers consistently supplying that.

The Digital Place-based Advertising Association, the umbrella non-profit body that represents the interests of digital out of home network operators and the broader eco-system, has been hard at this for a while, and has now released a draft of its best practices for the Request For Proposal ad buy/sell process for campaigns that would come out of Out Of Home budgets.

The DPAA Out-of-home (OOH) Committee, says the draft intro, developed the recommended RFP Response to OOH planners and buyers to make the buying process more efficient for digital place-based media sellers and OOH planners and buyers alike.

Any digital place-based media seller, network or otherwise, responding with a digital place-based media solution to an OOH planner or buyer should respond with at least the information suggested below. In general, digital place-based media sellers should anticipate the needs of the agency to make a quick and informed decision from the RFP response. 

The Mission of the OOH Committee, the document also notes, is to enable the OOH Planners and Buyers and DPAA members to most effectively and efficiently conduct business. The committee identified RFP responses as an area that needs standard response data to help drive efficiency between buyers and sellers. The DPAA OOH committee is composed of agency specialists, network operators and others involved in supporting the buying or selling process, which all worked together to outline these items as important and fundamental to the RFP responses when working with Out-of-home agencies.

The guidelines are primarily a checklist and template.

The information below should be included in any response to an RFP whether the information is requested or not. The DPAA OOH Committee determined that this information is fundamental to what an OOH planner or buyer will need to know to evaluate the network efficiently. This list is not intended to limit the information in the response and the network’s unique selling proposition may be appropriate. With any RFP, it is important that the response be tailored to the marketing goals of the RFP and when the RFP specifies a geo-targeted area, additional information is recommended as outlined below:

ASSUMPTIONS – Some items which are assumed to have already been presented or explained (in a sales presentation) and therefore redundant are; overall capabilities, research (if any) and by whom, programming description and content partnerships (especially as it relates to potentially competitive properties which an agency would need to evaluate).


As a Checklist- This list is not intended to be a format for all responses; rather this should serve as a checklist to ensure that you have included everything in the response in addition to the RFP’s specifics. Unless otherwise requested the following information should be supplied in Excel.

They also ask for more information when it comes to Geo-targeted Specific Proposals

DPAA President Sue Danaher says the goal was to provide sellers with something that clearly lays out “what buyers want to see.”

She says sellers who conform to these guidelines certainly improve their chances of getting included in media plans, though it’s a guarantee of nothing. She also stresses not getting the information in like this doesn’t mean a network’s proposal response won’t go anywhere … but it does make the job that much slower and harder.

The inclusion and fairly explicit recommendations around measurement are also not mandatory, but people who sell media in this sector know the demand for proper, accepted measurement from credible sources is now strong and not going away. The DPAA’s audience measurement guidelines, now a few years old, have become the norm, says Danaher.

By getting the fundamental stuff out of the way (and the objections removed), Danaher says the media process can actually turn instead to the things that can actually make a difference. “It frees the buyer and seller up to talk more conceptually.”

Companies like DOmedia have this stuff in their database (used by Starcom) and other entities like rVue and NEC’s Vukunet also have a lot of data. But Danaher says no one has all the networks, and there’s no one existing research or directory resource for all of it. So for now, RFP submissions need to go in with this stuff attached.

Based on what’s happened with digital and other, more matured mediums, it’s just a matter of time before most or all of this data will sit in central databases and be largely automated.

The DPAA hopes to lock down the recommendations before the end of March and is actively looking for feedback. They aren’t expecting a lot of changes because, as the DPAA’s Ryan Pogy notes, the committee reflected a cross-section of interests and needs and wasn’t guessing at what some stakeholders might want.

You can see the material here …  If you have questions or comment’s Pogy’s your guy.



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