Montgomery County, Maryland’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) – Division of Transit Services and Commuter Services (CSS) are seeking proposals from multiple Offerors for marketing services, including, but not limited to the following areas: marketing materials, advertising, market research, development and printing of collateral brochures, multi-media, direct mail services (paper and electronic), marketing campaigns, business and community outreach, design capabilities, web design, social media management services, video design/creation/production services, and event planning and staging, including conferences, trade shows, and exhibits. The County’s intent is to award contracts to multiple Offerors, to enable the Department to use those Contractors best able to provide the particular types of services required at the time specific needs arise.
MCDOT includes the Division of Transit Services (TRN) Ride On, the County’s public bus system, and the Commuter Services Section (CSS) in the Director’s Office, which promotes use of all forms of alternative transportation/commute options (i.e., non-single occupant vehicle or “SOV” use). The resultant contracts to this RFP will be to provide marketing services to both these operations within the Department. At times these services will be coordinated (e.g., for a particular campaign), but generally the services required by Ride On and those required by CSS will be requested separately and will need to be provided separately. The Contractor(s) may also be tasked with providing professional and support staff to assist other County Using Departments who choose to participate in the Marketing contract services, in marketing and promotion for a wide variety of additional marketing activities. All County Using Departments who intend to participate in the resultant contract series must initially coordinate their efforts through MCDOT- Transit Services for guidance.
The Division of Transit Services and Commuter Services are funded through the County’s appropriation process. All of TRN’s and CSS’s marketing efforts must be conducted in a cost-effective manner consistent with annual fiscal year appropriations and with the specific constraints of grants it receives from other sources. The specific elements of the marketing effort will vary according to priorities established by the Department and may not include all elements discussed herein.
The mission of Ride On is to provide safe, reliable, convenient and cost-effective bus service in Montgomery County. Ride On desires to support its mission through a marketing program that enhances the image of public transportation in the County, builds ridership on County-supported services by reaching new markets and communicating with existing riders, and increases support for transit in relation to traffic reduction, environmental concerns, and other mobility goals.
The nearly 43-year-old Ride On system was established as a neighborhood circulator feeder service to the Metrobus/Metrorail system. Over the years, Ride On has grown in service area and passengers carried, to where it is now equivalent to the scope of service provided in the County by Metrobus. Ride On now operates 22 hours per day and seven days a week. Ride On operates bus service throughout the County, with 360 buses on about 75 routes, and plans to expand service in the coming years. Weekday daily ridership now averages 70,000.
The mission of the Commuter Services Section (CSS) is to initiate, market, and implement programs and services to reduce single occupant driving, particularly during peak periods. These types of programs and services are often referred to as “Transportation Demand Management” or “TDM.” One of the key elements of that effort is to convince employers to adopt TDM programs and strategies to reduce use of single occupant vehicles (SOVs) among their employees. Another element is to convince employees themselves to use alternatives to single occupant driving. CSS also provides information on TDM to a variety of other audiences, operates three Transportation Management Districts in Greater Shady Grove, Silver Spring and Friendship Heights (where TDM measures are focused to reduce congestion in these urban areas), oversees Contractor operations in two other TMDs (Bethesda and North Bethesda), operates a commuter store in Silver Spring and a Mobile Commuter Store that encompasses most of the county. A fourth TMD has been established in White Oak and although not funded at this time it may become operational in the near future.
CSS also does the marketing for the County’s Bikeshare programs, including the County’s relationship with Capital Bikeshare.
CSS seeks to undertake a variety of informational, educational, marketing and promotional efforts consistent with its mission, including materials and services directed at employers, employees, the business community at large and specific subgroups thereof, property managers, multi-family residential complexes, the general public, advisory committees, internal audiences within the County, professional associations, and other targeted audiences which may be identified in the future.
Scope of Work:
The scope of work under any contract resulting from this solicitation is for marketing services and including, but not limited to the following areas: marketing materials, advertising, development and printing of collateral brochures, multi-media, direct mail services, marketing campaigns, business and community outreach, design capabilities, web design, social media management services, video design/creation/production services and event planning and staging, including conferences, trade shows, and exhibits. It is not necessary for an Offeror(s) to provide the entire range of services listed. Offeror(s) with skills and experience in one or more of the services required are encouraged to respond, as the intent is to award contracts to multiple Offeror(s), to enable the TRN/CSS to use those Offeror(s) best able to provide the particular types of services required at the time specific needs arise. The Offeror(s) selected for a project will work closely with the TRN/CSS staff to develop, create and implement projects based on available funding and the specific marketing needs of each entity.
In order to accommodate the County, Contractor(s) will be required to reassign or add personnel as work disciplines change, levels of required experience vary, or as work assignments are added or completed. It is anticipated that the Contractor’s personnel will provide one or more services in, but not necessarily limited to, the following areas:
A. Strategic Planning. The Contractor (s) will be responsible for developing or assisting with development of a strategic plan for marketing, outreach, public relations, collateral materials production, and related services for TRN/CSS over a single year or multi-year period.
B. Develop and disseminate advertising, marketing, and other communication materials. The Contractor(s) will write, develop and otherwise create and/or arrange for the use, dissemination public service and distribution of various forms of communications: advertising, brochures and other collateral materials, press releases, literature, publications, electronic media, and/or public relations types of information. All assist the must be approved by the County’s Contract Administrator.
C. Submission of advertising materials. When submitting materials to the media or other third parties, it will be the Contractor(s)’s responsibility to:
1) Examine or audit advertising released through the media to verify that quality, timing, position, and distribution is consistent with the plan and schedule.
2) Render such other services as are customarily performed by advertising, public relations, and/or graphic arts agencies. Whenever possible, a Contractor(s) will assist the County in maximizing use of in-house County facilities, including the Public Information Office, print shop and mail room, as well as donated services such as public service announcements, free media placements, etc.
D. Prepare Creative Materials. The Contractor(s) will prepare creative materials as planned and scheduled above and present them to the Contract Administrator or his/her designee for approval. A number of copies to be delivered will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Contractor(s) will prepare and deliver mechanicals and artwork to the County for approval prior to delivery to the printer. Whenever possible, a Contractor(s) will develop creative layouts electronically. These must be compatible with the County’s computer hardware/software configurations or as directed by the Contract Administrator or his/her designee. The Contractors(s) must provide the County with camera-ready artwork (electronically) of all work prepared for the County. The County will own, and retain all rights to reproduction of, all artwork and other materials prepared under the contracts.
E. Plan and Coordinate Special Events. The Contractor(s) will coordinate or provide assistance for special events, including groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, or other public or quasi-public events, as well as preparation and assistance with exhibits for various conferences, events and other purposes. The Contractor(s) will assist in the development of display graphics, signs, invitations, programs, special promotional materials, speeches, and other materials and information as required. In addition, the Contractor(s) may be called upon to assist with the identification, preparation, and scheduling of opportunities for speaking engagements and/or presentations at a variety of professional meetings and/or events.
F. Conduct Research and Surveys and Provide Analysis of Results. The Contractor(s) will conduct research and/or surveys on various issues on behalf of the Using Department. Research/survey topics could include, but are not limited to, responses of riders, non-riders, employers, employees, and others to various messages, the effectiveness of advertising and evaluation of response rates, program or service development, etc. The Contractor(s) will provide comparrison of results from various surveys and/or other research, and report on implications for programs and services, marketing approaches, etc. Contractor(s) will develop evaluation techniques to ascertain the relative effectiveness of various communication methods and marketing strategies employed. The Contractor(s) will conduct and analyze the evaluations periodically as directed by the County. The Contractor(s) will assist the County in determining which techniques are most effective and the Contractor(s) will assist staff in modifying outreach strategies and work plans accordingly.
For example, the Contractor(s) may be asked to conduct follow-up of historical market research, including a survey of Ride On riders that would provide tracking information compared to previous customer satisfaction surveys. Other pertinent market research may focus on non-riders. Research may be required to identify those segments of commuters in Montgomery County who show the greatest propensity to use alternative transportation and those segments with the greatest potential to change from use of single occupant vehicles (SOVs) to other commuting arrangements (e.g., transit, carpooling, etc.).
Additional tasks may include: Evaluate existing instruments and data. Identify market research requirements and cost-effective methods of completing research. These may include surveys, focus groups, or other appropriate research activities. Consult on research for unplanned projects and issues on a contingency basis. Coordinate with other contractors working on behalf of the County, and with other County offices as appropriate.
G. Public Relations. The Contractor(s) will provide assistance with story placement, speech writing, press release preparation and dissemination.
H. Other Related Duties as Required. As mentioned, additional opportunities may arise in which the Contractor(s) may be required to provide marketing, public education, or outreach services to various audiences.