Sound Transit Issues Marketing and Advertising RFP

Sound Transit Issues Marketing and Advertising RFP

Sound Transit is requesting Proposals from firms to provide marketing/advertising services who will research and identify target markets; develop integrated marketing and digital marketing strategies; develop and implement advertising campaigns across multiple channels, including media purchases, creative product development, and print, digital and audio-visual production; plan and conduct digital marketing campaigns; and evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing program. The full scope of work is attached as Section Two Scope of Work.

The objectives of this contract include:

  1. Promote Sound Transit ridership.
  2. Promote the launching of new services and openings of new facilities.
  3. Boost awareness of Sound Transit and all of its services within Pierce, Snohomish and King counties.
  4. Support customer care initiatives and help retain existing riders.
  5. Support efforts to maintain Sound Transit’s brand health.
  6. Identify specific markets that yield the greatest potential returns from the marketing/advertising program as a means of achieving these goals.


Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit services for the people of Central Puget Sound. As the regional transit provider, Sound Transit trains and buses offer express service between major population and employment centers in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Sound Transit was authorized in 1993 by the state Legislature and approved in 1996 by a vote of the people living in the regional transit district, which stretches 1,080 square miles and serves about three million people, or 40 percent of the state’s population.

Sound Transit’s ST Express buses, Link light rail and Sounder trains provided more than 35 million rides in 2015. The agency has also invested about $5 billion in infrastructure including transit facilities, highway direct access ramps, and regional track and signal improvements.

In 2008, voters approved a major transit system expansion highlighted by 31 miles of new Link light rail serving 20 new stations to the north, east and south of Seattle. Planning and construction are underway and by 2023 riders will have 50 miles of light rail service in the region.

In 2016, voters again approved a major transit expansion of light rail, commuter rail and bus services to take people further and faster to destinations throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Scope of Work:

The consultant shall provide the required experienced professional services using staff from its own firm and/or sub-consultants approved by Sound Transit. The consultant is encouraged to create teams that address the breadth and depth of expertise required by this scope of services. The areas of expertise to be provided under this contract focuses primarily on assisting with the branding and marketing of Sound Transit services. The consultant shall work closely and in cooperation with Sound Transit staff.

Past performance for marketing/advertising services averages 150 hours a month. Service hours may scale up to 300 hours of services in a month for special business needs such as station and rail segment openings.

Each marketing and/or advertising project may involve a variety of disciplines over a period of months. A project may include, but isn’t limited to, efforts by project management, account services, strategic direction, creative direction, copywriting, art direction, web services, media strategy, media planning, media buying, media management, ad trafficking, reconciliation, planning meetings, messaging strategy, developing creative briefs, and creative concepts, for example. Past performance suggests that, on average, total units of marketing and advertising per contract year may include, but aren’t limited to, the following: three 30-second radio spots, three 30-second broadcast television spots, nine :15 video spots for online digital advertising, four print ads, six transit outdoor executions including one fully or partially wrapped transit vehicle and 15 social media placements or digital banner ads.

The work under this contract includes, but is not limited to the services listed below. These services represent only a portion of the full marketing program for Sound Transit. These services are only an estimate of assistance Sound Transit may need and items within it are subject to change or deletion. Task orders will be used to issue work to the consultant. Complete scopes of work will be developed by Sound Transit with the consultant prior to beginning each task order.

The consultant shall provide products and services necessary to create print, radio, television, digital, outdoor and other advertisements for Sound Transit. Additional services may include but are not limited to, research, market planning, advertising and branding for ORCA (regional smart card for fares); and marketing mitigation for Sound Transit projects. The consultant will also help develop campaigns to help Sound Transit launch new services as requested by Sound Transit. The consultant shall also provide media buying services and place advertising media for Sound Transit during each contract year. The consultant shall:

I. Advertising

  1. Analyze, existing and potential markets for Sound Transit services. Analyze the effectiveness of messages and techniques being used to reach those markets.
  2. Provide general business advice related to advertising, marketing, branding, digital marketing and media placement. This business advice shall include helping Sound Transit develop its short- and long-term advertising and digital marketing plans.

II. Support developing project goals, key performance indicators and measurement mechanisms to track and verify the success of all work.

  1. Help develop and implement advertising and/or digital marketing plans for Sound Transit’s approval. These plans shall include recommendations related to media, channels, creativity, budgets, and the appropriate integration with other Sound Transit promotions, and public outreach efforts.
  2. Perform the work, subject to Sound Transit approval, necessary to develop and produce creative for print advertising, broadcast advertising, digital advertising (including paid social), transit advertising, outdoor advertising, direct mail, video, collateral materials, and audiovisual materials.

(a) Create and prepare advertising ideas and programs.

(b) Prepare cost estimates to produce the recommended programs.

(c) Produce content with appropriate messages and forward it to media outlets with proper instruction to fulfill advertising orders.

(d) Check and verify insertions, displays, broadcasts or other means used, to such degree as is usually performed.

(e) Evaluate and report on advertising results as required.

(f) Submit invoices for advertising printing or production to Sound Transit for payment in a format that meets Sound Transit’s reporting requirements.

(g) Establish and maintain a system for Sound Transit review and approval of all activities at appropriate stages of development.

III. Digital Marketing Program

  1. Consult with agency staff to identify the best mix of Search Engine Marketing tactics to meet agency goals
  2. Work collaboratively to ensure alignment between consultant-driven and in-house digital marketing efforts
  3. Set goals for digital campaign elements, collaborate to determine and implement tracking mechanisms and provide analytics and campaign success metrics as required
  4. Work with agency to integrate tracking, reporting, and analytics of consultant activities into existing agency accounts and reporting mechanisms. Sound Transit uses Google Analytics Platform. Sound Transit will provide the framework for tagging advertising.
  5. Provide project management as required for digital marketing and advertising programs and serve as an on-call project manager, if needed, to coordinate other Sound Transit digital or marketing projects where there aren’t internal project management resources allocated.

IV.Media Buying Services

  1. Employ knowledge of available media and channels that can be effectively and efficiently used to communicate Sound Transit services and messages.
  2. Recommend best practices for digital media buying that can be implemented by various teams including consultant, Sound Transit staff and other vendors.

V. Act as Sound Transit’s agent to order the space, time or other means to be used for advertising. Secure the most advantageous rates available.

  1. Audit media invoices for space, time, material preparation and services. Maintain budget and records of project expenditures.
  2. The consultant will provide media buying services for advertising produced by the consultant, other consultants, or Sound Transit, for promotions, meetings and other events as needed. These services shall include acting as Sound Transit’s agent to:
  • Place media buys
  • Review and audit invoices for media buys placed by consultant
  • Remit payment, on behalf of Sound Transit, for media buys placed by consultant
  • Invoice Sound Transit for media buys placed by a consultant (as a straight pass through without markup) for reimbursement.

The consultant shall conduct the review, audit and remittance process in a timely manner sufficient to satisfy vendor payment processing timeframes.

Due Date:

November 21st


Attn. Christopher Jones, Contracts Specialist

Sound Transit Procurement and Contracts Division

401 South Jackson Street

Seattle, Washington 98104-2826


Zeno group and W2O Group have relevant experience.

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