Office of the Senior Advisor Issues Marketing RFP

The District of Columbia Office of Contracting and Procurement, on behalf of The Office of the Senior Advisor (OSA) (the “District”) is seeking a contractor to leverage mobile technologies to strategically plan and coordinate events to promote DC Statehood and educate the nation about the DC Statehood initiative. One of the keys to reaching more Americans is to actively engage with millennials and younger audiences around the country through a national SMS/text messaging campaign.


Nearly 80% of Americans are unaware of the lack of representation for the 700,000 residents of Washington, DC, and that in 2016, 86% of DC voters voted in favor of statehood for the District. In addition, Washington, DC has a population larger than two states – Vermont and Wyoming, and is on par with populations of Alaska and North Dakota. Furthermore, DC residents pay more in federal income taxes per capita than residents in any other state, and collectively, pay more than 22 other states.

In 2015 Washington, DC was admitted into the Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization (UNPO). Out of all 23 democracies in the world, the United States is the only one that does not provide representation for the residents in its federal district.

As a result, local DC laws passed by locally elected officials are constantly under threat from Congressional interference, which leads to greater uncertainty within the local business community because DC laws and budgets are constantly under threat and must be approved by Congress. This direct congressional oversight increases pressure to enact laws and promulgate policies based on the needs of non-local constituents rather than local interests, creating an unfair playing field and making doing business in DC more challenging for local interests. Statehood would give DC greater autonomy over local affairs.

Businesses in all other states have access to Senators and voting House members who have tremendous power over legislation and regulations however the DC business community has limited influence in the development of federal laws and regulations.

In 2016 the New Columbia Statehood Commission (NCSC) was created to make a formal effort to advance the statehood initiative and in 2018, Mayor Muriel Bowser (MMB) created the first ever DC Statehood Office. The DC Statehood Office has launched a national awareness and education campaign starting with 10 states (Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Washington) located in 5 US regions (NW, NE, MW, SW, SE).

In addition to educating national audiences through traditional grassroots/grass-tops state-to-state outreach, MMB has invested in using technology and digital communications platforms to amplify our message and maximize our reach. In FY2018 we began building the infrastructure to support our digital outreach efforts and have gained national visibility with millions of views across social media, web and video ad networks. As a result, we have seen an increase in web traffic and have received thousands of petition signatures in support of DC Statehood and we continue to get more each and every day.

In FY2019 we will build upon this foundation / framework as we launch interactive kiosks across DC, a mobile app and an SMS/text marketing campaign to reach and engage with supporters and allies both in DC and nationwide across all digital platforms and communications channels.

Scope of Work:

OSA seeks a contractor with experience marketing on a national scale to develop and implement a digital messaging campaign using a comprehensive market research plan and digital message testing strategy to promote DC Statehood and educate the nation about the DC Statehood initiative. The comprehensive market research will include multiple voter/consumer segments in up to 9 selected media markets within 5 US regions (Northeast (NE), Northwest (NW), Midwest (MW), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW)). The goal of market research and digital message testing is to determine which messages and visual stimulus are most effective in communicating “DC Statehood” messaging and influencing target audiences across the US. By leveraging real-time feedback provided by digital ad platforms that allow for systematic message delivery and robust analytics, contractor shall determine messaging with the highest penetration, the strongest calls-to-action, the most impact in given segments.

The District’s plan to increase awareness about DC Statehood will strategically leverage mobile technologies, coordinate events and educational programming nationwide. One of the keys to reaching more Americans is to actively engage with millennials and younger audiences around the country through a national SMS/text messaging campaign. The goal is to inform residents around the country about the Americans living in the District of Columbia who pay collectively more than $3B in federal taxes each year, including over 200,000 military service members who seek to fully and equally participate in our democracy – and have a voice in the decisions that affect us all.

The contractor shall employ traditional message development techniques, using best practices, benchmark polling, and focus groups to establish sample baseline messaging across different market segments with different goals. Digital advertisements should be designed for select target audiences (determined based on a random sampling by area) across national markets and large-scale testing should yield actionable insights from widely distributed datasets that will be used to guide marketing strategy and decision-making.

The contractor shall submit all materials to a designated staff member within the office of the Senior Advisor for review and/or approval, provide a step-by-step outline of each phase of the project with the expected completion date, and send weekly and/or bi-weekly status updates and reports until the project is completed. Specifically, the contractor shall complete the following:

                1. Market research to determine target audiences across the US

                2. Message development and testing

                3. Implementing the digital messaging campaign

Due Date:

January 7th, 2019. 


APCO Worldwide and Porter Novelli have done extensive government work.

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