MARKETING RFP ISSUED BY IALR

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The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to solicit sealed proposals to establish a contract, through competitive negotiation, for marketing services and recruitment strategy development for the Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) Program, as stated in this RFP (“Project”).

Background:

A. IALR is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia that engages the resources of Virginia Tech, Danville Community College (DCC), Averett University and other partners. Its main goal is to diversify, transform and grow the economy of Southern Virginia. IALR is governed by a Board of Trustees, which appoints an Executive Director to oversee a staff supporting five divisions and other departments. IALR serves as a regional catalyst for economic transformation. That mission is accomplished through applied research, advanced learning, economic development, advanced manufacturing, and conference services.

B. The ATDM program was developed by a public-private consortium comprised of IALR, DCC, Phillips Corporation, and the Spectrum Group in consultation with the defense industry. The program is fully aligned with the National Imperative for Industrial Skills (NIIS) Initiative and advances the NIIS aspirational goal to accelerate workers into and through training pipelines at scale and velocity. IALR will serve as the lead organization for program implementation.

C. ATDM is a fast-track, intensive and targeted program for training workers to fill Defense Industrial Base (DIB) skill gaps rapidly and at scale. ATDM has universal application across the DIB and inherent flexibility to be customized for specific manufacturing sectors, such as shipbuilding. ATDM trains technicians at an accelerated pace to the specific skills and certifications needed to be immediately effective on the shop floor, thereby reducing “time to talent.” Key ATDM attributes include:

1. Rigorous 24/5 training schedule that graduates student cohorts every 4 months at scale;

2. Targets adult learners from industry and career transition programs, including active military and veterans;

3. Applied learning that leads to nationally recognized certifications; and

4. Customized curriculum, equipment and technologies based on industry input, aligned to priority skills gaps.

Scope of Work:

A. General: IALR seeks to develop and implement a strategic marketing and recruitment plan to recruit students for the ATDM Program. The Project will include creation of a unique brand/logo positioned for successful trademarking; development of a mobile-responsive, SEO-friendly website; and production of web-compatible videos and other media formats that will reach the target market. The offeror will need to provide website design and development focused on the implementation of ATDM, and will need to have experience implementing plans within the defense sector.

The offeror is invited to provide social media and public relations plans that will include the establishment of a profile and presence on relevant platforms, as well as ongoing monitoring, editorial strategy deployment and analytics and the establishment of a plan for outreach events, media relations and other public-facing efforts that interface with the content strategy/schedule for social media and the website. This includes monthly reports of resulting media hits, event attendance and other performance metrics to gauge success of the plan. To that end, IALR seeks a professional communication and marketing/media firm to oversee this entire plan.

B. Collaboration: The Program will be managed by the Advanced Manufacturing Program Manager at IALR. The offeror will lead the planning and execution of the strategic marketing plan and will spearhead the creative process and services for production of a logo and brand identity guidelines, videos, promotional materials and other marketing collateral, including website design/development and related aspects. Throughout the process, the offeror will work closely with the Program Manager, who will be available to meet in person or via conference and/or virtual meetings.

C. Strategic Marketing and Recruitment Plan: The offeror will provide expertise in the creation of a strategic plan that will include brand development for the ATDM Program and will work closely with the Program Manager to develop a logo for the Program. The plan will identify marketing strategies that will provide the highest probability of success in recruiting students in the targeted sectors as well the multimedia materials and/or events that may be most effective in successfully marketing the ATDM Program. This plan will include a timeline of implementation for various aspects of the plan. Working in collaboration with the Program Manager, the offeror will develop the marketing and recruitment plan and, once executed, provide suggested modifications, based on evaluation and assessment.

D. Website Development, Content Development/Maintenance and Hosting: Offeror will develop a highly editable, modular website that will serve as a landing page for the ATDM Program. Initial development should be completed within the first six months of the contract period. The website will include a custom design theme and features as well as responsive design and engaging content. It may include the production of videos, which will be described below. The website development will include a full sitemap as well as a minimum of three (3) design concepts that will consist of a home page and three (3) to five (5) subpage designs. In addition, an SEO implementation strategy will be developed and executed to best achieve determined goals, which include, but are not limited to, optimization of keyword usage and density, verification and inclusion of Meta and Alt tag usage, creation of landing pages, use of back-linking, as well as the revision of site content to include the desired keywords. Offeror should provide a strategy for integration of Google Analytics, or other software, to track website user behavior, measure key website metrics and perform analysis of high-ranking online competitors. Offeror will collaborate with IALR to identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and will then design a measurement plan to track them in a useful and accurate manner. A plan for utilizing methods to optimize website pages for keywords, metadata and tags will be developed in collaboration with IALR. A plan for ongoing content development, site maintenance and hosting will also be designed in cooperation with IALR. Access to the content management system and training should be provided to the Program Manager and supporting IALR team at the culmination of development. Completion of the marketing and recruitment strategy should be within the first six months of award with refinement, validation, and execution through the remaining deliverables period.

E. Video Marketing: If the strategic plan identifies the need, the offeror shall create a series of videos promoting ATDM to potential students, such as veterans, incumbent workers, underemployed, transitioning military, and others. The videos would be utilized through the development of the website as well as potential runs in identified targeted marketing sources. The production would consist of preproduction meetings to outline specific goals and quantities of videos, storyboarding of concepts for review, scheduling production of videos that may include limited off-site shooting at Industries, trade shows and conferences in Virginia to get testimonials and B-Roll, as well as local shooting in the Danville/Pittsylvania County region. The offeror will be provided access to existing B-Roll of legacy programs to aid in efficiency, as applicable. The offeror will provide all video/audio/lighting equipment, and editing to include reasonable rounds of changes as needed, assistance uploading to websites and online platforms as needed, and coordination of implementation into the marketing plan as necessary. Offeror will provide all B-Roll and raw footage to IALR at the conclusion of production, along with all final versions of videos – all of which shall be the property of IALR or DOD.

Due Date:

January 7, 2021, at 12:00 p.m.

Address:

Institute for Advanced Learning and Research ATTN: Finance Department 150 Slayton Avenue Danville, Virginia 24540

Prosek Partners and Shift Communications are relevant agencies worth considering.

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