California State University, Chico Issues Marketing RFP

California State University, Chico (“CSU, Chico”, “University”, or “campus”) is soliciting proposals from qualified and responsible Proposers (“Bidders”, “Suppliers”, “Vendors” or “Contractors”) to provide technology and marketing services for an online MBA program at CSU Chico.

California State University Chico is a part of the California State University (CSU) 23-campus public University system. The campus is located in Chico, California, and occupies 119 acres next to downtown Chico. Located in the North Valley of California and nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the residential campus is 75 miles north of Sacramento, CA, and 75 miles south of Mount Shasta. One of the oldest campuses in California, the University was founded in 1887 as a normal school and became a State College in 1935. As the anchor institution in Northern California, California State University, Chico serves a twelve-county service area, the largest in the CSU system, equivalent to the geographical size of the state of Ohio.

CSU, Chico is a comprehensive university principally serving most of Northern California, our state, and the nation through excellence in instruction, research, creative activity, and public service. Our service region begins at the Oregon border and to the north of Sacramento, Nevada as our eastern border and the California Coastal range along the west. The University is committed to assisting students in their search for knowledge and understanding and preparing them with the attitudes, skills, and habits of lifelong learning in order to assume responsibility in a democratic community and to be useful members of a global society. Please explore our website as well as visit our Strategic Planning website.

Who are our students? CSU Chico is designated as a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). We serve a large number of diverse student populations which has a significant impact on our selection of Suppliers, because the Suppliers must be able to serve the diverse needs of our students and faculty in their different learning and teaching strategies as well as ensure the inclusiveness for all, including those with disabilities. The diversity of disciplines and programs offered by CSU Chico results in a diversity of assessments, assignments, and examinations being delivered. Suppliers must be prepared to support these multiple learning assessment and evaluation methodologies with ease, integrity, convenience, and affordability.

Scope of Work:

CSU Chico is soliciting bids for National Marketing Services and Student Recruiting to help launch a self-support online MBA program by Fall 2020.

The successful Supplier will help identify the potential for this market and refine a marketing message that will resonate with potential students. The Supplier will identify best practices that meet the needs of today’s online graduate learner, and steer CSU Chico towards a sustainable program with strong enrollment, broad recognition for quality, a focus on student success, and a reputation for being an outstanding value. The Supplier will then help CSU Chico to execute on this recruitment plan. Self-support fees are variable depending on the business model for the program. Additional costs of online student services can more easily be incorporated into the cost of self-support programs. Self-support programs are fully funded by student fees, which can be higher than state-supported tuition if necessary to cover the direct and indirect costs to deliver the program. The online MBA program will be launched as a self-support program. In this RFP, CSU Chico seeks traditional fee-for-service bids. Bids that propose traditional OPM-style revenue sharing will not be considered.

Where are we going and why this RFP?

CSU Chico is soliciting bids to help generate enrollment for a self-support fully online MBA program with first start by fall semester 2020 of entering into a contract with the successful Proposer. Our desire is to create a program with a steady state enrollment of 160 -175 students per year by end of year three. A successful MBA program may lead to additional online graduate degrees and certificates, as well as undergraduate completion programs for students who have completed community college. CSU Chico is seeking proposals for services (“Services”) and products, listed below, that supplement and augment current university services and products with the goal of cost effective marketing and quality student recruitment.

The Services we are seeking in this RFP include:

Online Program Consulting. CSU Chico is looking for a business partner that will help us build our capacity and augment our current resources and processes to quickly launch first an Online MBA program and possibly other programs or certifications after that. We seek a partner with recent demonstrated success in launching an online MBA degree program in the non-profit higher education market. The company will consult CSU Chico leadership on today’s trends and best practices and methods that best fit our institution and future students to put the MBA degree online.

Market research. Provide robust, technically sound analysis of the MBA market tailored specifically for CSU Chico. This means not just handing CSU Chico a list of broad marketing analysis but deep analysis geared for the strengths of CSU Chico and meeting the market demands.

Marketing and lead generation. Create contemporary messaging and branding for the digital markets, aligned with CSU Chico’s strategic plan and program-specific attributes, to generate quality leads. Working closely with university marketing teams, create branding and marketing assets, search engine optimization, paid search strategy, and other digital outreach efforts designed to build awareness of program and generate a flow of qualified global applicants. As needed, construct landing pages, microsites and advertisements.

Marketing Analytics. Provide real-time marketing analytics to inform and evaluate overall program efforts including student enrollment, paid search words, campaigns, conversions, etc. Gather on-going data to assist in program and course evaluation and to drive continuous improvements. Analyze lead generation from digital clicks to capturing student prospective profiles. Analyze and report on the most cost effective marketing models to ensure student fee dollars are going as far as possible. We are especially interested in bids that guarantee student enrollment and provide for fee clawback if enrollment is lower than anticipated.

Student Recruitment and Enrollment Services. Provide easy and contemporary technology and workflow processes to manage student recruitment and enrollment. Document contacts with students through a Customer Relationship Management system, qualify student prospects, and counsel students in completing applications for admission. Analyze and report on recruitment and enrollment success, issues, areas for improvement.

Overall – Institutional partnership. Partner with CSU Chico to identify reasonable enrollment milestones and goals and assess online MBA program readiness. We see this as a collaboration to support the success of CSU Chico efforts to provide further educational opportunities to students using the online modality and to do so to the highest capacity. We are looking for providers who know and understand the value of engaging with their clients for true collaboration and are flexible in addressing their clients’ needs for the greatest success of the company and CSU Chico.

Proposer’s Proposal

Each Proposer will provide responses to the categories and questions in Appendix C, Table of Services. The table is organized by the categories outlined above. Proposers will propose the services that they have found to be successful and cost effective for customers and services they are capable of delivering with high quality, confidence, and reliability. The Proposers proposal will be evaluated on the responses to each category in Appendix C.

Due Date:


November 13, 2019

Relevant agencies include Alison Brod PR and MWWPR.

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