Maryland 529 anticipates that the Maryland ABLE Program may require marketing services on an as- needed basis during the period of marketing contract.
Maryland 529 was originally created under the Enabling
Legislation as the Maryland Higher Education Investment Program by the Maryland
General Assembly in 1997. The agency was later called the College Savings Plans
of Maryland until July 1, 2016, when, in conjunction with becoming the
oversight agency for the Maryland ABLE Program, it became Maryland 529. The new
name reflects the sections of the Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.) which provide
for savings program for education and disabilities savings, I.R.C. §§ 529 and
529A, respectively. Maryland 529 is administered by an 11 member Board
consisting of the State Treasurer, the State Comptroller, the Secretary of
Higher Education, the Secretary of the Department of Disabilities, the State
Superintendent of Public Schools, the Chancellor of the University System of
Maryland and five citizen members appointed by the Governor.
Maryland 529 offers two 529 education savings Plans. On May
8, 2018, Maryland Senate Bill 933 was signed into law and renamed the Maryland
Prepaid College Trust as the Maryland Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer Prepaid
College Trust (“MPCT”) and the Maryland College Investment Plan as the Maryland
Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer College Investment Plan (“MCIP”). Senator Kasemeyer
has served in the Maryland General Assembly nearly continuously since 1983, and
was one of the primary sponsors of the legislation that originated the Maryland
college savings programs, including the 1997 legislation establishing the
Maryland Prepaid College Trust. The MPCT allows families to purchase one
semester up to five (5) years of future college tuition at a current price and
is backed by a Maryland Legislative Guarantee;. The MCIP currently offers 18
no-load investment options and is managed and distributed under Maryland 529’s
current contract by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Account holders with
Maryland taxable income in either or both plans are eligible to receive an
income deduction of up to $2,500 per year, per MPCT account or per MCIP
Historically, total marketing spending for the past three
fiscal years was approximately $1,000,000 annually but is not a guaranteed
amount in the future. Of that amount, 80% has been funded by T. Rowe Price as
part of their contract with Maryland 529 as program manager for the MCIP, while
the remaining 20% has been funded by the MPCT.
Scope of Work:
Category I – Comprehensive Marketing Plan
The Contractor, in concert with the Maryland 529 Board, shall assist the
Maryland 529 Marketing Committee with the development of Maryland
529’s annual marketing strategy and
public relations campaign. The goal of the plan is to increase participation
among all Maryland
families who have college dreams for their children.
A. Comprehensive Marketing Plan – The Plan will contain annual marketing
related strategies, including, but not limited to:
1) The development, maintenance and/or enhancement of an existing strategy
which will enhance Maryland 529’s marketing materials for the year;
2) Development of segmented Maryland 529 client personas and related
segmented messaging and activities to increase account holdings within these
3) A specific strategy to reach expectant/new parents, as well as current
4) A specific strategy to reach adults with disabilities and/or families of
with disabilities that may be eligible for Maryland ABLE; and
5) A specific strategy to target minority market and low income households,
with a focus to promote the Save4College State Contribution Program.
The Contractor will work with Maryland 529 to implement the annual
throughout the State’s fiscal year.
B. Market Research – Market research is a critical component in guiding
advertising and communications to new prospects and existing account holders.
1. Recommend and manage various projects, including working with vendors to
provide insight and analysis into research findings and reporting, scheduling,
coordinating meetings and presentations.
2. Facilitate focus group or similar testing of knowledge of 529 Plans,
satisfaction, advertising concepts for major campaigns, brand positioning, or
other marketing-related issues as requested by Maryland 529.
3. Conduct a market study and other formal market research to provide insight
and analysis into new prospects and current account holders’ behaviors as
requested by Maryland 529.
4. When assigned a research project by Maryland 529, Contractor shall
complete or manage the completion of the project through a Subcontractor in a
timely manner, with several milestones or deliverables throughout. These would
typically include, but are not be limited to:
a. Define research objective(s) and methodology selection
b. Provide participant screener criteria and questionnaire or discussion
c. Execute actual research project;
d. Provide data analysis and formulate conclusions and/or
e. Summarize key results or findings in written form and communicate
research results to Maryland 529, as directed by the Maryland 529.
Category II – Branding and Advertising
The Contractor, in concert with the Maryland 529 Marketing Department, will
comprehensive campaign to support the mission, goals and objectives within the
parameters of the Comprehensive Marketing Plan. All materials across all
channels will follow Maryland
529 branding standards. The campaign can include Maryland and Washington
DC- based radio, print, television, and digital advertising.
Separate campaigns may need to be developed to promote the Save4College State
Program and Maryland ABLE, which may use some or all of the following
A. Radio – Maryland 529 has used radio advertisements and special
sponsorships of 30-seconds and 60-seconds in length. In addition, we have been
add :10 and :15 second tags to address specific deadlines or events.
Development may I
nclude content, editing and recording.
B. Television – Maryland 529 has advertised on broadcast and television
The spots are 30- seconds in length with a focus on directing viewers to the
529 website. Development may include content, production, editing and
C. Print/Outdoor – Maryland 529 occasionally runs print advertisements in
publications and will be integrating billboard advertising development that
creative, layout and design, and placement in print/outdoor outlets approved by
D. Digital Media –Digital media advertising includes: banner ads, text ads,
advertising, social media advertising, mobile ads, HTML emails and web videos.
Maryland 529 has implemented a geo-targeted search term campaign, Facebook
advertising campaign, web banner ad campaign and video ads.
Category III – Print Collateral
The Contractor, in conjunction with the Maryland 529 Marketing Department, will
be responsible for all the development and production of the
printed materials used to market the
plans; including, but
not limited to, photographic services, layout and design, artwork, copy
writing, typesetting, production, and digital imaging. The enrollment kit,
tri-fold brochure, and annual report summary will require
printing support by the Marketing agency.
A. Enrollment Kit – The Enrollment Kit is Maryland 529’s most
significant marketing tool.
It provides prospective participants with all details about the plans. For the
those prospects seeking information about the plans, this may be the only item
received. While Maryland 529 staff is primarily responsible for the text and/or
of the Enrollment Kit, Maryland 529 is receptive to suggestions, ideas, or
about how the Enrollment Kit could be developed into a stronger marketing tool.
Enrollment Kit includes information on each plan (MPCT and MCIP). The current
Enrollment Kit is 68+ pages of text (including the inside front and back covers),
8.5 x 11
inches in size. The Enrollment Kit includes a Highlights booklet, two Plan
Statements, two Enrollment Forms, two return envelopes, and one outer envelope.
new Enrollment Kit is typically produced annually to coincide with each new
enrollment period and includes significant changes in both plans. For the
Enrollment period Maryland 529 printed 15,000 kits. The Enrollment Kit is also
digitally on Maryland 529 website.
B. Tri-Fold-Brochure – The tri-fold brochure provides a general overview of
and the key benefits of each plan. Typically, past brochures have been color
fold or bi-fold used for public distribution, displayed at other public places,
or as direct
mail pieces. The goal of this piece is to provide an overview of the key
features of the
plans for easy distribution. The Contractor is responsible for the concept,
C. Stand-Up Banner/Display – Maryland 529 currently has pop up banners that
at selected events, exhibits and fairs throughout the year. The Contractor is
for the concept, layout and design and for printing updates to the
D. Prospect Mailer – The prospect mailer is used to target new movers and
customers. The target audience has been generated from internal resources and
commercially purchased lists. The Contractor is responsible for the concept,
E. Flyers/Handouts/Take-One Sheets – Flyers and infographic hand outs are
by Maryland 529 staff at benefit fairs and community events, and are given to
organizations such as schools, non-profits, and businesses, that have requested
Maryland 529 general information. The number of flyers produced each year can
In 2017, Maryland 529 created 2 infographics in addition to 5 other flyers. The
Contractor is responsible for the concept, layout and design of the flyers.
F. Annual Report – The Annual Report is published once a year in the fall.
It is typically a
64 page 8.5 x 11 booklet. The Contractor will be required to design the cover,
charts and develop the layout for the piece. The content and data will be provided
Maryland 529. While Maryland 529 does not commercially print the Annual Report,
report is posted electronically and should be printer friendly.
G. Annual Report Summary – The Annual Report Summary is published once a
the fall in conjunction with the Annual Report. It is typically an 8 page
mailer. The Contractor will be required to design the booklet, format charts
the layout for the piece. The content and data will be provided by Maryland
H. Outdoor Billboards – Maryland 529 will be utilizing outdoor billboards
to promote the
Save4College State Contribution program.
Category IV – Media Planning and Buying
The Contractor will research, develop and execute a media-buying plan. The
include media audience, ratings/readership, value-added opportunities such as
on-air interviews and brochure
distribution at selected station events and/or other criteria as determined to
be relative to the
benefit of the plans. Maryland 529 and the Contractor will determine these
criteria. The Contractor will conduct the media buy as determined in
conjunction with the Maryland 529 Marketing Department
and as specifically directed by the Contract Monitor. All
radio, television, outdoor and print markets in Maryland and the District of
Columbia will be examined for inclusion or
exclusion in the overall media placement by the Contractor and the
Public Relations and Marketing Manager.
Campaigns are to be effectively understood and monitored. Reporting on the
performance of the media results to be provided on a monthly and quarterly
basis. The reports are to compare
data for each campaign/program, year over year, and include an analysis with
recommendations in order to optimize performance and
Category VI – Community Outreach and Public Relations (PR) Support
The Contractor will assist the Maryland 529 Marketing Department with
developing or carrying out comprehensive public relations and community
outreach services, which support the mission, goals and
objectives outlined within the stated budget parameters of the
Comprehensive Marketing Plan.
Maryland 529 targets all regions in Maryland, Baltimore City and Washington DC
areas. Each region may have unique
qualities for the public relations efforts and should be addressed
These services may include, but are not limited to: researching, writing and
distributing press releases; maintaining a press list;
securing partnerships with targeted media, organizations
audiences that can lead to informational seminars or other outreach
supporting social media efforts; and identifying and assisting in securing
partnerships with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) that would
support and promote the Maryland 529 brand.
A. Press Relations – The Contractor may be asked to research, write and
releases. Part of this service will include maintaining a press list and
with key members of the press.
B. Social Media – The Contractor will assist the Maryland 529 Marketing
evaluating current social media platforms and making recommendations for
engagement, improving user experience, and instituting new platforms, if
C. Partnership Development – Maryland 529 undertakes numerous community
partnerships annually that have the potential for local PR efforts. These
partnerships with organizations such as the Maryland Zoo and Port Discovery
Museum, Maryland-based minor league baseball teams, and the State Library
Additionally, Maryland 529 partners with CBOs that serve low-income and
communities such as CASA, Catholic Charities, CASH Campaign, and Junior
Maryland 529 will look to the Contractor to help secure community partnerships
would promote the Maryland 529 brand.