Vendors shall prepare on business stationery a brief transmittal letter that accompanies the Proposal. An individual authorized to bind the firm to all statements including services and fees contained in the

Proposal should sign the letter. 

Transmittal letters shall be addressed to:

Steven A. Jost 

Director of Procurement 

Bowie State University Procurement

Department Facilities Building, Room #102 Bowie, Maryland 20715 C.

Issuing Office Bowie State University Procurement Department Facilities Building, Room #102 Bowie, Maryland 20715 Procurement Officer: Steven A. Jost Telephone Number: (301) 860-4212 FAX Number: (301) 860-4209 E-mail:

Questions and inquiries must be submitted in writing and received by the Procurement Office no later than 5:00 P.M. September 28, 2022

Submission Deadline: 3:00 P.M. on October 12, 2022 in order to be considered.


In 2013, the university conducted its first comprehensive market research study which resulted in

development of a new visual identity and brand platform that guided marketing efforts through 2018

with the theme of “Find Strength. Take Pride.” Limited resources and internal staffing hampered

development of robust marketing initiatives to effectively launch and sustain brand promotion. The

effort did result in building internal receptiveness to brand marketing.

Under the leadership of a new president, refinement of the initial brand work was initiated. New

market research was done in 2019 to assess any changes in perceptions of the university and

knowledge of institutional strengths. The research involved all our key stakeholder groups –

current and prospective students, faculty and staff, alumni, and business/community partners. The

result of that research affirmed findings of the earlier work that location, affordability and innovative

HBCU experience remain key drivers of prospective students’ interest in BSU. It also showed that

business and community leaders had begun to recognize the university’s growth and academic

strengths in STEM to meet workforce needs, but still felt the university was not visible enough in the


A marketing campaign built around the tag line – Taking Tomorrow. Boldly. – launched in 2019

amplifying the university’s growing momentum with innovative programs and new opportunities for

students. The rallying cry of the campaign, “We are Bowie Bold,” has been embraced by the campus

community as a mantra expressing pride and confidence in taking on the future. (See current brand

guidelines). Internal messaging and external advertising focused on institutional and individual bold

attributes and outcomes have achieved some success. We seek a partner agency to bring strong

copywriting support to energize and expand brand messaging and audience engagement. The

university’s small internal communications team has employed multiple strategies, including news

media, social media, website and other digital media and outdoor transit to promote BSU, however, it

lacks the bandwidth and range of expertise to effectively manage the demands of a comprehensive

brand marketing campaign to significantly enhance awareness and reputation.

The university has an ongoing relationship with an enrollment management partner doing direct

recruitment marketing for undergraduate and graduate enrollment. We have enjoyed steady

enrollment growth over the past five years because of this partnership. The firm selected through

this RFP would work collaboratively on strategic alignment of brand marketing and recruitment



Beginning in 2022, Bowie State will begin to receive an infusion of funds from the state over the

next 10 years for marketing to support the success of new and enhanced academic programs. At least

six new programs including software engineering, cyber operations engineering, data science, are set

to begin enrolling new students in spring 2023 with more programs in the pipeline. The university

also launched its first online degree programs in 2022. Building awareness of these significant shifts

in the institutional profile is a key goal of this project.

With this new funding, the university’s Office of University Relations and Marketing can now move

to establish a comprehensive, sustainable marketing strategy with the support of a full-service agency

partner over multiple years. The university seeks to establish and execute a comprehensive, cohesive

marketing plan that includes new and traditional media to establish broad awareness of the quality of

BSU programs, enhancing is reputation and ability to attract high quality students from diverse


Additionally, BSU seeks to enhance recognition of the university’s impact in the region

among alumni, community and business leaders, corporations, federal agencies, and foundations to

expand partnerships that can assure sustained growth and long-term viability of the institution.

The main point of contact for coordination of work under this contract will be Director of University

Relations and Marketing. Collaborative meetings with other members of the URM communications

and creative teams will be expected.

a. Required Services:

Bowie State wishes to retain an agency of record for a multi-year engagement to provide

professional services along with guidance and counsel to establish a robust brand-marketing

program to complement successful direct recruitment activities. The agency should be able to

work collaboratively with the university’s communications and marketing team to provide

support in the following areas:

1. Strategic planning, building on recent research and existing brand platform, to develop a

comprehensive, three-year marketing plan with strategies to influence key target audiences

and provide counsel on long-term planning

2. Budget planning to determine optimal resources required for a sustained brand marketing

and communications strategy including development of a university magazine

3. Copywriting and development of creative assets for immediate deployment including

digital, print, video to support a multi-channel campaign to engage target audiences and

increase awareness of the value of Bowie State University

4. Video production for brand commercial and other media assets

5. Digital and web asset development to enhance website and mobile engagement

6. Media planning and buying services with consideration of target markets in Maryland,

Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia as well a guidance on

expansion into other markets

7. Collaboration with current enrollment marketing partner to assure brand messaging

alignment and cohesion of marketing tactics:

b. Deliverables:

1. Advertising and communications plan for the current 2022-23 academic year: Develop

and implement a multi-channel plan to begin to build awareness of BSU’s growing areas of

strength and new undergraduate and graduate degree programs being offered online and inperson on the main campus and at several regional centers. Media buying and monitoring

should be included.

2. Creative assets to support the one-year advertising campaign: Develop campaign assets

with consideration of, but not limited to: 30 and :15 sec. commercials, digital, print and OOH

ads and website content. Mock-ups of at least three ad concepts shall be presented for

consideration. Final designs shall be produced and delivered in formats required by selected

media outlets.

3. Supplemental research: Conduct focus groups, ad testing and/or other research activities as

needed to build on existing data to inform development of advertising and marketing plans.

4. System to track and report on the outcomes of marketing activities: Develop a dashboard

or other method to track marketing outcomes and impact on key metrics identified

5. A comprehensive three-year marketing plan: Incorporating the work from year one,

develop and implement a plan for year two and three through fiscal year 2024-25. The

ongoing campaign should target expanded awareness in target geographic areas and

perceptions of key target audiences to include alumni, community leaders, business/corporate

partners, parents of prospective students.

6. Guidance for a sustained, long-term brand-marketing strategy: Provide guidance for

ongoing media mix and continued long-term planning including budgeting options for low,

medium and optimal levels of funding to effectively execute sustained brand marketing.

Consideration factors for decision-making should be outlined.

7. Recommendation for additional research: Propose ongoing research strategy and timeline

for evaluation of shifts in audience perception and refinement of marketing strategies.

c. Contract Term:

This Contract shall be effective for the period commencing on award of executed contract for

a period of three years. Pricing should detail any packaging and/or volume discounts for a

partnership of three (3) fiscal years through June 30, 2025.

d. Project Plan

Respondents shall provide detailed strategies and timelines to describe the approach they will

employ to address each component of the project described in the scope of work to assist Bowie

State in meeting its objectives. It is preferred that plans include provision for progress reports for

each area of service and description of the firms approach to collaborating with university staff

throughout the project.

Work will commence immediately upon issuance of a successful contract.

e. Financials

The university has allocated up to $400,000 for direct agency costs for year one. A “separate

budget” of approximately $500,000 will be available for media purchases in year one.

Respondent shall provide a detailed total project cost broken down by respondent’s estimated

number of hours, hourly rate and associated direct costs necessary to complete all work for each

of the areas listed below. Estimated media costs should be outlined separately under

Alternate Bid Pricing for each year, but not included in the Year One through Year Three


Advertising-Marketing Plan and execution to include media buying and monitoring.

2. Creative asset development (writing, design, video)

3. Development of comprehensive three-year marketing plan

4. Execution of marketing strategies for years two and three

4. Supplemental Research

5. Long-term budget planning guidance

6. Rate for additional marketing services outside the scope of this proposal that may be requested

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