NC STATE UNIVERSITY Request for Proposals Digital Marketing/Advertising Services (DELTA)
Raleigh, North Carolina
DUE DATE: 2:00 pm, Thursday, January 19, 2023
ISSUING AGENCY: NC State University Procurement Services Department Campus Box 7212 Raleigh, NC 27695
The awarded vendor shall:
1. Develop, execute and manage multimedia advertising campaigns for NC State Online, select academic programs and other areas that partner with DELTA. The multimedia campaigns may include, but are not limited to mediums such as:
a. Google Adwords
b. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels
c. Google Display ads
e. Billboards, buses and other Out of Home mediums
2. Proposed campaigns must achieve one or more of the following goals for NC State Online, select programs and other partners:
a. Create awareness and interest
b. Position NC State as a leader in North Carolina
c. Generate quality leads
d. Increase the number and quality of applications
e. Increase enrollments/registrations
3. Be creative in approach, ideas, planning and execution. DELTA MarComm is looking for an agency partner who implements tried and true successful campaign strategies, and balances that with new and innovative ideas that will help the client reach new levels of success. Applying successful tactics from other industries to higher education and putting new twists on current practices are examples of the creativity sought. Demonstrated knowledge of the higher education competitive landscape, specifically in online/adult learners, past success with other clients and high level understanding of the NC State brand are factors that will be used to evaluate this.
4. Work with the DELTA MarComm team to develop metrics and benchmarks for campaign performance. Once metrics are determined, continuously monitor campaign performance. Identify and make recommendations on how to improve these metrics. Campaign efficiency metrics, include but are not limited to:
a. A/B testing
b. website traffic
c. click through rates
d. conversion rates
e. cost per acquisition/lead
5. Be transparent and proactive in communications. Provide timely responses to requests and inquiries from the client. Meet with the DELTA MarComm team on a regular basis (weekly preferred) when large campaigns are active to provide updates, discuss changes and/or enhancements for the live campaigns and receive updates and feedback on lead generation, lead quality and applications from DELTA MarComm. Vendor will work with DELTA MarComm to plan and implement new tracking measures and enhance existing ones.
6. Collaborate & coordinate with other DELTA MarComm team members and campus partners on campaigns and activities identified by the client. One of the areas the vendor will collaborate with is the DELTA MarComm social media staff on activities such as social media promotions, organic social media growth and activities and website activities. Examples of other areas the vendor may need to collaborate with include colleges and/or departments with which DELTA partners, any sponsorships DELTA may enact and University Marketing & Communications.
7. Work with DELTA MarComm team to create and implement crisis response plans on how active or soon to be launched campaigns will be handled should targeted geographic areas, targeted audiences or NC State be impacted by severe weather events (i.e. hurricanes, floods, tornadoes), emergencies or other catastrophic events. Provide primary agency contacts and backup agency contacts who could implement these plans within immediate and/or timely timeframes required by the situation.
8. Provide sophisticated and comprehensive analytics that, at a minimum, includes:
a. Customized, real-time dashboard with campaign data that is available 24/7 for client login
b. Weekly analysis reports for marketing professionals
c. Monthly reports, written in language that is clear and easy to understand for leaders and individuals who don’t have marketing backgrounds. The report shall include items such as:
i. Actual versus projected spending reports
ii. Progress towards key goals and metrics
iii. Level of confidence that projected spending, plans, strategies and tactics will have the desired impact
iv. Areas of notable success and/or efficiencies
v. Areas of concern or that need adjustment
d. Detailed end of campaign reports with analysis and recommendations for next cycle (twice a year)
9. Complete any one-time or recurring training required or requested by the University or department, such as Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), NC State brand training or guidelines around program marketing. Ensure that appropriate staff receives training and stays updated, when required, and provide confirmation of this in writing (email is preferred) on an annual basis.
10. Provide other related services as needed, including:
a. Assistance with creative, messaging or asset production, such as landing pages, digital ads, billboards, videos, radio spots, etc. All assets must meet University brand guidelines.
b. Assistance with technology that can research, deliver, measure and optimize marketing and advertising campaigns in areas such as data/tag management, website analytics, optimization, search performance analysis, etc.
During the project, the awarded vendor shall:
● At the initiation of the contract, vendor and client will work together and agree upon an approval process that will provide client with adequate time for review and vendor with adequate time to execute. Vendor and client will review the process when needed, but at least touch base yearly to ensure the process is working and expectations are being met for both parties.
● Once the agency project/account team is identified and agreed upon by both client and vendor, the primary DELTA MarComm team liaison will be notified immediately of any agency team changes that will impact the account. Additionally, any associated plans to replace a member of the agency project/account team must be shared at that time. When appropriate, a DELTA MarComm team representative should be included in the selection process.
● While highly unlikely, if the University requests a staff change on the project/account team, it would be a result of failure to improve performance after addressing issues with the account executive or partner. Areas of concern would be service related, such as patterns of unresponsiveness, missed deadlines or repeated and blatant carelessness.
● A review of projected spending, along with recommendations for improved efficiency and effectiveness, twice a year approximately six months apart for each full contract year, with a possible recommended outcome that some funds may be reallocated. Timing of the bi-annual reviews will be discussed and mutually agreed upon between DELTA MarComm and the vendor.
4. SUPPLIER QUALIFICATION/EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS
The proposed personnel should have the following experience and qualifications:
1. Provide evidence of a minimum of five (5) years strategic marketing and advertising experience with strategy, multimedia campaigns, creative development and digital technologies. Additionally, that should include experience in lead generation campaigns of comparable audiences, size and scope. There is a strong preference for experience, five or more years, in higher education, with a focus on online, distance and adult learner audiences.
The adult learner audience includes those interested in graduate programs, certificates and continuing education.
2. Demonstrate skills and expertise in new and existing technologies that aid in the execution, efficiency and evaluation of multimedia campaigns. List any specialized credentials and/or certifications earned by the agency or individual staff (i.e. Google Premier Partner, YouTube Certification, Twitter Flight School Certification).
3. Describe and demonstrate agency philosophy and approach to campaign management, communication and other processes that agency will use to meet requirements in Scope of Work and create a positive working relationship.
4. Vendors must supply at least three (3) references demonstrating experience in multimedia media planning, research and placement, as well as experience with targeted statewide, regional and national campaigns. It is the vendor’s responsibility to provide valid reference information and the University reserves the right to use reference checks in its evaluation of proposals.
5. The proposal response must demonstrate that the vendor has the staff, internal resources and expertise to perform required duties in the Scope of Work. Demonstrate the ability to meet timelines and provide adequate time for review. Agency should include information on agency structure and organization, detailed biographies (½ a page) on key agency leaders, and the proposed project/account team (include tenure, skills and experience). It is important that the account team assigned to DELTA MarComm is accurately represented and included.
Attention will be paid to the stability of leadership and staff. The University defines the project/account team as agency personnel who have a direct relationship with the DELTA MarComm liaison or who will have a major role in development and/or implementation of the project/account. Examples of personnel who would likely meet this criteria include, account executive, creative director and project manager.
6. The vendor must demonstrate a working knowledge of NC State Online and Distance Education’s competitors (state, regional and national) and methods of recruiting graduate students and adult learners in the competitive online landscape.
7. The DELTA MarComm team is supportive of student interns being involved with the project/ account and welcomes these opportunities. If available, please describe your program along with the estimated fee structure.