Work Requisition Form

You can thank Airbag Industries for the overly-bureaucratic sounding post title.

The talented folks at Airbag have recently launched this little web application (see a video demo) as a way for them to gather the brief but necessary details from a prospective client who’s considering hiring Airbag to work on a project.  I think the execution is pretty flawless — design and layout are top shelf.  No surprise there.

But I wonder about the usefulness or practicality of a tool like this. It kind of reminds me of those “We are now accepting projects in January 2009″ messages you occasionally see on agency sites.  51% of me thinks that they’re complete assclowns for actually putting that on their site and the other 49% of me thinks it’s kind of cool.  Whether the message is accurate or not is anybody’s guess.  But in any case it does add to the agency’s air of boutique-yness… like, they’re so busy you’d be lucky to work with them.  Nothing wrong with trying to maintain that image.

But I digress… back to Airbag’s RFP tool. As a guy who works at an agency I see most clients falling into one of two categories: a) ones who you’ve worked with many times and will just call you up for a quote and b) ones you’ve never met and find you by word-of-mouth or just surfing.  I can’t imagine the former being too impressed at being redirected to a web app rather than talking to you and the latter group would even think to look for a tool like this (unless you dedicated like 75% of your home page to it). And even if they did find it I suspect they wouldn’t be too jazzed at the prospect of filling out a multi-page form the way YOU want them to after they’ve most likely written an RFP or some kind of similar document themselves.  They just want to send a quick email to the company’s general email box with the RFP attached.

I don’t want to be all Captain Buzzkill on this idea.  I think Airbag’s heart is in the right place.  They’re frustrated with the lack of education a lot of clients have when dealing with interactive shops.  They’re not blaming the clients because it’s us as agency folk who need to educate them.  Maybe this whole application is intentionally labourious for clients as a way to educate those that aren’t able to provide the basic info (timeline, scope, budget) and force them to either figure those details out or contact the agency directly and know that their are some “gaps” in the information they’re supplying.

I think most of the folks reading this blog are in the interactive agency business.  What do you think?

by on September 17, 2008

1 comment

  1. I think it’s not a bad idea for new clients. I agree that at an agency level it’s probably going to get in the way, but after running a small interactive studio for a few years I’m still amazing how little some clients have thought about their business, why they’re coming and what they want.

    If a tool like this captures some clients that aren’t sure, then it’s a big time saver. Making quotes and estimates for projects that go nowhere because of limits the client hasn’t considered is a real time killer. Even having to re-issue quotes because they forgot an aspect of the project can eat up valuable hours.

    There will still always be clients that will call or drop a quick email.

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