State of Michigan Issues Creative and Marketing RFP
The Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA), Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency (MVAA) has issued an RFP for creative and marketing services. The program goal is to create and expand brand awareness of the MVAA programs and services and direct veterans to full-service support by calling the Michigan Veterans Resource Service Center at 800-MICH-VET or click to access self-service resources at MichiganVeterans.com. Vietnam era veterans and their spouses are called to action to call or click to find an accredited service officer who can help them navigate the process of applying for or checking for new or additional federal VA benefits.
MVAA is a civilian division of DMVA and is the state agency charged with creating awareness of federal benefit, State programs and local resources available to veterans and their families. The Agency serves as the central coordinating point for al veteran services in state government and is accredited by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (USDVA) to represent veterans within the VA system. MVAA operates state veterans homes with oversight from the Michigan Veterans Health System and will be building two new state veterans over the next three years.
MVAA communications efforts primarily focus on conducting highly visible brand awareness campaigns communicating agency services and inviting veterans to contact the Michigan Veterans Resource Service Center’s 800 number (800-MICH-VET) and directing veterans to the agency’s one stop web portal, MichiganVeterans.com. The agency also advertises special events, targeted outreach campaigns to specific veteran populations and provides communications, marketing and public relations support for the Michigan Veterans Health System.
Each MVAA media campaign is designed using the medium and message specifically target to the intended audience. MVAA has an in-house Communications staff to handle earned media/news media relations, printing, warehousing and distribution of all materials, and limited graphic design. Current Michigan Veteran Population and Demographic Information is included in Schedule C. The overall goal of all our advertising and MVAA seeks to increase the awareness of agency support for veterans and invite them to engage agency services by broadly advertising the Michigan Veterans Resource Service Center and Michigan Veterans web portal.
Scope of Work:
Achieving maximum effectiveness and efficiency in expenditures for marketing, promotion, social media and advertising services, supplies and materials to ensure awareness of messages within target audience. Working within program budget, guidelines and message strategies as directed by MVAA.
The Contractor must provide technical assistance and support to MVAA in the development of communications and marketing campaigns and related tools that can be used to increase brand and program awareness, and reach targeted audiences. These activities may include: create print, radio, television, digital and outdoor advertisements; identify new and emerging cost effective ways to reach the target audience; create collateral materials; update materials for new campaigns; create and execute a sports marketing campaign; develop communications materials for emerging campaigns in addition to the anchor campaigns for priority issues of MVAA requiring communications support; and comply with meeting and reporting requirements as specified.
Main tasks to be accomplished for each media campaign include:
- Identify a marketing strategy for MVAA brand and program awareness.
- Identify and develop creative concepts for MVAA brand and program.
- Conduct marketing research such as focus group testing, telephone or intercept surveys.
- Produce and duplicate media materials as needed.
- Develop a media plan for MVAA brand and program awareness.
- Place media messages, conduct advertising tracking surveys and produce monthly and quarterly reports.
1) The Contractor must develop a comprehensive annual communications/marketing plan for developing and implementing audience- specific external communications that will largely be focused on the campaigns identified in the Background Section of this Statement of Work (SOW).
2) The Contractor is responsible for coordinating with existing agency communication staff to develop paid, earned, owned and shared media plans for projects/issues/events for appropriate target audiences, that help meet stated objectives.
3) The Contractor must identify new and emerging cost-effective ways to reach target audiences.
The Contractor must conduct market/audience research, as appropriate, to better assess and understand the target populations that the State is trying to reach. This research may include the use of marketing databases (e.g., Nielsen, PRIZM), focus groups, intercept surveys, observational research, telephone surveys and other tools as approved to help determine/refine message and creative strategies. The Program Manager will determine on a case-by-case basis whether research is necessary to achieve the desired results.
1) The Contractor is responsible for developing media plans for all individual media campaigns and their appropriate target audiences, messages, message strategies, and communication vehicles that help meet stated objectives. The Contractor must update this plan and provide it to the Program Manager as they require it throughout the fiscal year.
2) Once this Media Plan is reviewed and approved by the Program Manager, the Contractor will proceed with developing individual Media Buys based on the Media Plans. The Contractor is required to submit these Media Buys to the Program Manager for review and approval. This must include:
- Paid media budget
- Target audience
- Flight dates
- Geography/media markets
- Advertising vehicles (TV, cable, radio, etc. and rationale)
- Media weight (gross rating point/GRP) levels and expenditures for each medium in each market
- Provide in-depth evaluation of all media vehicles (radio, television, print, outdoor, digital, etc.) available to the DMVA, MVAA throughout the State as requested by DMVA, MVAA.
3) The Contractor is also responsible for advertising placement and must:
- Buy and negotiate radio, television, and cable air time, cinema, internet, publication space, outdoor and transit space, direct mail services, and any other media used for advertising and promotions projects. Negotiate matching spots, value added, bonus, and other creative means to further advertising reach.
- The Contractor must negotiate and purchase all forms of digital media including desktop and mobile if needed and approved by the Program Manager. The Contractor will continually optimize throughout the campaign to make sure the best results are achieved. The Contractor must provide a detailed monthly report, (or more frequently as determined by the Program Manager and campaign needs) on the digital campaign metrics including but not limited to cost, reach, frequency, clicks, calls, page views, engagement and changes in perception and understanding of MVAA and MVHS programs and services. See also Section 4.3.D.
- Work to extend the budget through innovative ideas, creative partnerships, and aggressive negotiation skills to leverage funding available for paid advertising.
- Inform the Program Manager of and evaluate as requested any special or unique media placements or opportunities.
- Negotiate make-good media-weight for any under-delivery to be scheduled during the next applicable paid media flight.
- Conduct a post-buy review/analysis on the placement of media and the effectiveness of media buys including but not limited to terms of cost, reach, frequency, clicks, calls, page views, continuity, and message dispersion requirements, engagement and changes in perception and understanding of MVAA and MVHA programs and services for each media campaign. No later than two months following the end of each media buy, the Contractor must submit this post analysis report to the Program Manager. The Contractor should use findings to refine current and future media plans.
- Provide follow-up reporting to the Program Manager including invoice reconciliation and audience delivery assessments with an objective of receiving plus or minus 10 percent of the Gross Rating Points (GRP) goal in the proposed media buy.
- Provide a final report of the base buy plus the bonus weight no later than 60 days after the media buy and bonus have aired to DMVA, MVAA. Return on Investment (ROI) for the bonus weight must be included in the report.
4) Placement services include not only paid media but also value added media, Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) media, Michigan Cable Telecommunications (MCTA) media, and Michigan Press Association (MPA) media.
5) The Contractor must cooperate and work in tandem with third-party media auditing services to periodically examine and audit advertising released through the various media to verify that quality, timing, position, and distribution are consistent with the approved plans, guidelines, and industry standards. If, for any reason, the auditing service finds these conditions are not met, it is the Contractor’s responsibility to rectify the situation.
1) The Contractor must create high-impact, modest-budget creative strategies and tactics.
2) The Contractor must refresh existing ads as requested or when under-performing and develop new ad themes, campaigns, and campaign assets, including 30-second TV ads, radio ads, pre-roll, billboards, etc.)
3) The Contractor must design collateral materials (such as banners, posters, radio liners, web banners, etc.)
4) The Contractor is responsible for developing or modifying advertising/marketing/creative concepts within established budgets, including but not limited to TV, radio, print, digital, social and other media channels.
5) The Contractor must work to create the most compelling ads to drive clicks and actions for digital media.
6) The Contractor is required to prepare a creative brief and present at least three creative concepts, which the Program Manager reviews. One concept is taken to final art or script and storyboard, which is routed for review and comment. Once changes are made and reviewed, the concept will receive final approval from the Program Manager to move forward. In instances where DMVA, MVAA and/or the program is not completely confident with the creative presented, the Contractor will get prompt feedback and will require the creative team to immediately move forward with developing new concepts.
7) All communications must be diverse and culturally competent.
8) All creative concepts/materials/productions must be copyright free, including non-rights managed visual materials (to be used in print, online, and other forms) and full buy-out (unrestricted use) of talent in all Michigan media (broadcast, cable, and online) for a minimum four-year period. The Contractor must ensure that in negotiations of talent rights, the State will be signatory on all talent/property rights.
9) The Contractor is responsible for developing social media/new media strategies and deliverables (including mobile, interactive, Pandora) to complement advertising and earned media campaigns.
Strong agencies to consider for this assignment include Finn Partners and Ruder Finn.