A. General. The University seeks an agency or agencies that can provide the services needed to help IUP in its branding efforts and help drive important initiatives for enrollment and advancement. IUP seeks a true marketing partner to deliver strategic planning, media strategy and buying for both traditional and digital channels and creative development services for all channels.
B. Specific. More specifically, the agency will help to accomplish the following goals:
1. Enhance and improve IUP’s brand reputation in ways that correct market misperceptions and support our branding efforts.
2. Expand the pool of high-quality applicants at all academic levels.
3. Increase visit registration by prospective students for relevant recruitment events.
4. Increase the quality and quantity of inbound inquiries by undergraduate, graduate, and culinary students.
5. Support advancement efforts to increase giving to IUP.
III.II Nature and Scope of the Project
This year at IUP, launched several initiatives that will help us thrive in what we’ve dubbed our new reality. By new reality, we mean a whole new set of circumstances. At colleges across the country— but especially here in Pennsylvania—there are fewer college-bound high school seniors than at any other time in modern history. Public universities, IUP included, are receiving less support from state governments than ever before, although we are pleased that Pennsylvania’s legislature has begun to increase its investment over the last few years. And, finally, while we have very bright students in our classrooms—our latest freshman class had an average high school GPA of 3.31—Generation Z is seeking a different experience than any other group we’ve welcomed before. At the same time, as a public doctoral research university, IUP is discovering and extending knowledge and then applying it to improve our communities and our world. What’s very special is that our faculty engages our students at all levels in their work, enhancing their learning in and out of the classroom. There is good news to tell, but until recently branding and marketing for IUP has been very limited. As a result, we face market misperceptions and lack a clear identity. In September 2019 we launched a new brand effort designed to differentiate IUP, better define who we are and what we can do for our students, correct market misperceptions, and build a positive brand reputation. We are seeing some signs of success, but the next step is to re-examine our traditional and digital marketing strategies and tactics to ensure that we are effectively reaching our core audiences and markets, and drive consideration for IUP. This problem statement was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as changes in higher education have accelerated, the challenges that IUP faces have grown and the need for branding and marketing is even more vital. There are potential new audiences and new markets to investigate and the way in which we reach them needs to be explored, challenged, and enhanced for increased reach and efficiency.
A. Strategic Assistance. The marketing agency will assist IUP’s enrollment and marketing efforts in the strategic components of achieving the above goals. Individual strategic components include:
1. Insight into brand reputation and share of voice for both Indiana University of Pennsylvania and other, comparable universities.
2. Understanding of current marketing trends and tactics and how they might be applied to IUP’s enrollment marketing goals at all academic levels.
3. Expertise and insight into target audiences, including their demographics, aspirations, pain points, preferred channels, and typical behaviors. Audiences include but are not limited to high school students and their parents, current college students, and working professionals.
4. Understanding of higher education admissions cycles for both undergraduate and graduate programs, and how current and potential marketing tactics can best be used within that cycle.
B. Creative Services. The marketing agency for Indiana University of Pennsylvania will also assist in content development if and when the University cannot create advertisements and other creative in-house. Creative services available should include:
1. Design and writing of print materials that are consistent with the design of IUP’s current print materials and which adhere to IUP’s brand standards.
2. Design and development of digital ads, both static and HTML5, that can be used on social media, search engines, retargeting efforts, and programmatic display campaigns.
3. Development of landing pages that are consistent with the design, layout, and content of IUP’s current website while taking advantage of current best practices in web design, lead generation, and conversion optimization.
4. Strategic and tactical advice and assistance in developing effective visual, video, and written digital content ranging from GIFs to infographics to long-form whitepapers.
5. Research-based information architecture and web design services. 6. Iterative testing and continuous improvements on all marketing tactics, including expertise in and commitment to A/B testing mechanisms.
C. Traditional Advertising Services. The successful supplier will be able to secure special discount opportunities that are above and beyond the advertising budget and special opportunities for advertising and media placement that are unable to be secured by the University without the work of the successful supplier. The successful supplier must:
1. Have access to media buys at discount (agency) rates, which extend and increase the efficiency of the advertising dollars available to advertise and market the University.
2. Be authorized to meet and discuss advertising opportunities with all media and media sales representatives on behalf of the Executive Director of Marketing and Communications or others as designed by the University.
3. Obtain approval from the Executive Director of Marketing and Communications or others as designed by the University before finalizing advertising purchases.
4. Have good knowledge of media opportunities in our key DMAs, including but not limited to Pittsburgh, Johnstown-Altoona, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Scranton Wilkes-Barre.
5. Agree that the authorized University representatives will have the right to negotiate, purchase and place advertising for the University if the University representative so desires to do so and agrees that the University is not required to work through the successful bidder for all advertising purchases and placement.
D. Online Advertising Services. To accomplish its goals, the university is looking for an agency with expertise in a wide range of digital marketing channels. Relevant channels that the university has used successfully in the past and will continue to use include, but are not limited to:
1. Search Engine Marketing: keyword-based advertising on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing search engines (Example: serve ads to searchers for “universities in Pennsylvania,” “Pittsburgh history major,” “Indiana University of Pennsylvania admissions,” “Western PA grad school,” “business masters programs.”)
2. Social Network Advertising: internet and demographic targeting on appropriate (established and emerging) social media channels. These social media channels include but are not limited to: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter. (Examples: Facebook users in high school who are interested in nursing, or college graduates in Western PA with previous studies in math.)
3. Display Retargeting: targeted advertising to website and landing page visitors who have not yet requested additional information about IUP or one of its programs.
4. Programmatic Display: increase general awareness of IUP to targeted, relevant prospective students while increasing paid and organic search site traffic.
5. Social Video (YouTube): keyword-based YouTube advertising via Google AdWords (pre-roll video, search results, and display).
6. Inbound Marketing Tactics: take advantage of inbound tactics including search engine optimization, landing page optimization, branded blogs, long-form gated content, lead nurturing through e-mail marketing, and other emerging techniques.
July 15, 2020; 2:00 P.M. EST
Linda Hotchkiss Purchasing Agent I Indiana University of Pennsylvania Robertshaw Building 650 South 13th Street Indiana, PA 15705-1087 Telephone: 724-357-3077 Fax: 724-357-2670 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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