On a trip to New Zealand, I met with a company that works with clients to help them win tenders. As a graphic design company, they worked with clients to format and refine the presentation of their tenders by building in images and formatting the text for maximum impact with the Tender Evaluation Panel.
A friendly debate
The business owner and I had a good natured debate about the virtues of style versus content. It’s no secret that in my opinion, content is king. My opinion is based on personal observation within the tender evaluation room where I have seen very flash tenders end up in the ‘no thanks’ pile, while more humble looking versions go into the ‘yes please’ pile.
It’s not about looking good
No amount of symbolic imagery or sophisticated formatting will hold the TEP’s attention for long if the tender does not have the information they are looking for; information that makes them feel confident and comfortable that you can deliver the products or services to the department’s satisfaction.
To keep in mind…
Building graphic design into your tenders can eat up valuable time during an already short response timeframe. My new friend in NZ says they manage this challenge by getting involved early when their clients are first developing the tender.
Tip: if you’re incorporating graphic design into your proposal get the creative team involved from day one.
Keep in mind this may increase your development cost so you might only incorporate graphic design into large projects that can carry this extra investment.
And the winner is…
If your budget and schedule can extend to style and content, then do both. If you have to choose, then put your money into content because no tender is ever selected simply because it had good graphics. Good information that tells a convincing story will always win.