Black Hills State, Major South Dakota University – Seeking Marketing Agency

Black Hills State University

Black Hills State University – the third largest comprehensive public university in South Dakota – is seeking marketing proposals from qualified agencies to develop and implement a comprehensive marketing plan to increase enrollment and raise the visibility of the University in South Dakota.  Black Hills State University is a masters-level state university with nearly 4,400 students. BHSU offers academic programs in business (AACSB), exercise science, natural sciences, social sciences, the arts, mass communication, health sciences and education.

They also have a leading public relations program.

The university, founded in 1883, is located in Spearfish, S.D., which is recognized as one of the top 10 most livable small towns in the USA and has also been recognized nationally for outdoor recreational opportunities.

They seek an agency to develop creative concepts, finished ads, and a detailed plan for media placements. The agency, in coordination with BHSU University staff, will:

  • Develop a compelling message to adapt for use across the audiences using the “Where Anything is Possible” tagline
  • Develop creative concepts for ads targeted for specific audiences:
  1. High school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors and their parents, counselors and teachers in South Dakota and a neighboring states.
  2. Working adults and individuals who have some college credit but no degree within 100 miles of BHSU-RC

The agency’s primary deliverable is research to determine BHSU short- and long-term opportunities for sustainable growth in the market areas outlined. Specifically, the Marketing/Recruitment Plan should address the following key areas:

  • Understand how BHSU is perceived by specific target audiences to determine best messaging.
  • Increase the number of high school senior applicants (resulting in an increase in students who enroll as new freshmen) in the Fall 2017 by 5 percent.
  • Increase the number of transfer students with an emphasis on South Dakota and neighboring states by 6 percent.
  • Raise awareness of the University’s academic quality among all audiences.
  • Increase the number of students enrolled at BHSU-RC by 8 percent.
  • Recommend campaign strategies and tactics. Identify primary media outlets (billboards, TV, cable, online retargeting, other).
  • Prepare written report synthesizing research and reasons for campaign strategies. The completion will include a written report that synthesizes the findings from the research and the agencies’ recommendations for conducting a successful campaign.


  • Conduct research to determine how BHSU is perceived to develop compelling and effective messaging.
  • Designs for billboards, television, online, print advertising and/or other recommended mediums.
  • Campaign Plan. Develop a marketing plan that includes clarified goals and outcomes, timelines, specifications for placement, and recommended evaluation methods.

Proposals are due no later than 5:00PM MST on Jan. 11, 2016 and should be submitted to or to Black Hills State University, Attn:  Lorraine Talks, 1200 University, Unit 9505, Spearfish, SD  57799-9505.


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