Feeling a bit tender…

9 01 2009

Not a great week. Not a great way to enter 2009. Staff at Bobballs have been involved in three tenders and a pitch for new business.

When exhaustion dulled out the rest of the world for a bit, we found ourselves thinking of the humble procurement guy. We wondered what it must be like to be on the receiving end of these tender responses? What does it feel waiting for serious incoming from PR agencies…

  • Do you read the ‘magnum tender opus’ like a book?
  • Do you set aside the creative bit, the creds and case studies and move directly to the costs?
  • Or are you ever moved by the linguistic dexterity of a PR company trying to understand your requirement?
  • Maybe it’s an exciting thing to consider the perspective your organisation excites in others?
  • When you see really great ideas incorporated into the matrix of ‘methodology’ or ‘strategic planning’ bits, do you get very excited?
  • Or do these tenders nearly always read the same?

Staff at Bobballs are concerned that like Hungarian or Finnish or Basque, ‘tender language’ might be moving beyond the commonality of normal idiom. Is PR ‘tender language’ cutting its family ties with ordinary English?

PR guys refer to the importance of understanding the needs of target audiences, stakeholders etc etc. And yet I’ve never had a conversation with procurement personnel. What about the guy that deals with all this PR verbiage? Is admission to pitch always an endorsement of tendering skills? Seriously, how are we doing? Are tender responses always tedious?

The skill of composing a tender document is learned in isolation. Each PR company must have evolved its own culture and language. How do we know if tenders collectively are evolving into rarefied genius or excessively jargonised rubbish?

Or maybe none of this amounts to a whole hill of beans. In the act of completing a tender maybe you demonstrate your commitment/willingness to pitch. Therefore by virtue of your submission you are subsequently invited to pitch… and nothing else matters.

On reflection the above is clearly the exigency of tender fatigue. But still, if you’ve been on the receiving end, please do drop us a line…




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