Marketing RFP Issued By Hampton Roads Workforce Council


A notable obstacle to addressing the shortage of maritime jobs in Hampton Roads is the prevailing

lack of awareness regarding the range of career opportunities in this sector. Insights gained from

focus group research conducted with high school students and their parents in the Hampton Roads

area reveal misconceptions about maritime employment and the potential for successful careers it

offers. The most expedient solution to dispel these misperceptions is targeted marketing.

Demonstrating the effectiveness of targeted marketing, Newport News Shipbuilding executed a pilot

marketing program in 2022, yielding substantial results with a modest investment. This initiative

included strategic elements such as 30-second commercials, a digitally targeted ad campaign

confined to specific businesses and training facilities and paid social media advertising. As a result,

Newport News Shipbuilding witnessed a remarkable surge of over 40% in job applications and an

almost 30% increase in applications for trades jobs year over year.

With the involvement of the Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) in a nationwide maritime job portal

(, a new avenue has emerged to launch a comprehensive marketing campaign.

This campaign is envisioned to facilitate applications for regional positions within the SIB,

encompassing both job opportunities and training programs. A crucial aspect of this endeavor is its

alignment with national efforts, achieved through ongoing dialog and collaboration with the SIB.

The execution of the marketing campaign entails the engagement of a proficient third-party

marketing firm(s). Their responsibilities encompass conducting focus groups, polling for essential

messaging, and formulating creative outreach products and advertising strategies. Feedback from

the HR Regional Workforce Training System staff and Board will contribute to the refinement of

these approaches. The campaign’s primary target groups encompass middle and high school

students, parents of these students, skilled trades workers, Transitioning Service Members/

Veterans/Spouses, and individuals engaged in low-wage jobs or professions lacking clear

advancement pathways. Tailored ad messaging utilizing microtargeting and geofencing techniques

will effectively reach each distinct audience. Moreover, the campaign will be tailored to various

programs under the HR Regional Workforce Training System, including GOTEC, Hampton Roads

Veterans Employment Center, GEMS, and others.

As the marketing campaign progresses, the Council and the contracted marketing firm(s) will diligently monitor key performance metrics such as impressions, click-through rates, and user actions. Additionally, application rates at targeted employers and training providers will be tracked. These metrics will be pivotal in informing decisions regarding campaign enhancements and future investments.


The Hampton Roads Region boasts several notable features, including the third busiest port on the eastern coast, the world’s largest naval base, the nation’s largest ship and boat building and repair subsector, and an upcoming distinction as the largest offshore wind farm site in the country. As a result of the region’s flourishing maritime “blue/green” economy, there has been a significant surge in demand for skilled maritime professionals to cater to the diverse workforce requirements of this sector. It’s essential to advocate for the array of maritime industries and opportunities present within our region, by targeting diverse audiences through the following Statement of Work:

A. Focus Groups and poll for key messaging:

Engaging in focus group studies is crucial to formulating core messages and influencing the development of outreach products, innovative messaging, and strategic ad placements. The contractor’s responsibilities encompass collaborating with Council staff and stakeholders, recruiting, facilitating, and collecting data, all aimed at ensuring that the campaign’s messaging effectively resonates with a wide-ranging audience. The completion of this work is a prerequisite for commencing outreach and marketing efforts, proposals should emphasize the importance of \swift turnarounds times.

The comprehensive results should be organized into a thorough report that showcases insights, substantiated by direct quotations or statistical findings. The report should distinctly outline the ramifications and offer recommendations derived from the data, which will guide:

i. Creating an awareness campaign for our diverse audience aimed at achieving immediate

and medium-term increase in awareness of the opportunities in the maritime industry

using digital platforms.

ii. Incorporating a positive youth development approach into the planning and execution of

the campaign.

iii. Developing long-term performance benchmarks and standards to evaluate the continuing

performance of the campaign.

B. Advertisement /promotions (pay to play):

The Council is in search of an entity or entities capable of generating interest, attracting participants, and fostering engagement in employment and training opportunities within the maritime industry. This objective will be met through the creation of a comprehensive media management strategy that effectively enhances the understanding and awareness of the maritime industry and its prospects in the Hampton Roads region.

The entity or entities will work with the Council and appropriate stakeholders to accomplish:

i. The development of a media plan that will reach our targeted audiences; K-12 students and their parents, transitioning military members and spouses, veterans, and the general population of Hampton Roads.

o This may be accomplished by utilizing available media platforms, such as:

 Radio spots, top of the hour reminders, DJ mentions, television, and news spots, print publications, billboards, bus ads, etc.

ii. The finalization of media schedules for the approved media plan before commencement.

iii. The submission of a final report with the activity details provided. Entity(s) will monitor all paid media outreach, as per approved media schedules, to monitor proof of play/print details.

C. PR Collateral/Materials Development:

The Council intends to utilize different digital channels and platforms, such as social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing, with the goal of accurately reaching and engaging the targeted populations in Hampton Roads region.

The Council is seeking a vendor or vendors with the capability to formulate, execute, and

structure a social media and online strategy. This strategy is designed to spotlight the maritime

industry, with a specific focus on job and training opportunities. The vendor will undertake the

following initiatives:

i. Conceive and Execute Campaigns: Develop marketing and social media campaigns and

strategies, including devising content concepts and setting up implementation schedules.

ii. Expertise and Recommendations: Offer expert guidance and suggestions on optimal practices and strategies for implementing social media initiatives.

iii. Enhance Online Presence: Assist in expanding the Council’s digital footprint online, pinpointing avenues to amplify our outreach.

iv. Create Digital Commercials: Craft digital advertisements introducing the maritime sector and its associated professions.

v. Website Content Enhancement: Collaborate closely with Council staff to appraise and enhance existing website content, optimizing it for lucidity, relevance, and SEO efficacy.

Implement updates and revisions, including generating new content where needed.

vi. Podcast Production: Generate a series of roughly 25 podcast episodes featuring captivating and enlightening interviews with prominent figures and influencers in the maritime industry.

The selected agency will be responsible for formulating a unified social media strategy, curating persuasive content, supervising online advertising campaigns, and providing regular performance evaluations. The goal is to ensure the campaign’s success in terms of augmented lead generation, heightened traffic to the Council’s website, and enhanced audience engagement.

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