a. University

The University is composed of six (6) distinct operating units, and each of their associated entities and offsite affiliates including:

• Amherst Campus

• Boston Campus

• Dartmouth Campus

• Lowell Campus

• President’s Office – Central Administration

• Worcester Campus

The University’s five campuses and President’s Office are geographically dispersed throughout the state. Each campus possesses a unique and complementary mission. A single Board of Trustees composed of 19 voting members and 3 non-voting members governs the University. The President of the University oversees the fivecampus system, and each campus has its own Chancellor.

Additional information about the University of Massachusetts System is available through the University’s web site at

Statement of Work




The Isenberg School of Management is soliciting formal proposals from qualified vendors to grant a license to arrange and execute a complete communications plan to support overall branding and student recruitment for current Graduate Programs including: Online, Hybrid and On-Campus MBA, the MS in Accounting (Professional Track and Transitional Track), the

MS in Business & Analytics (Amherst, Newton and Online), the Masters in Finance, and the Graduate Certificate programs in Forensic Accounting, Business Analytics and Management. This agency will also work with Isenberg on new revenuegenerating programs to be launched over this contract period on an as-needed basis. In addition to student recruitment efforts, vendors will provide communications solutions to enhance the overall awareness and reputational capital among our academic peers, alumni and other key influencers including but not limited to business leaders and recruiters that hire our students and alumni. This vendor will operate under the supervision of the Marketing and Communications team, led by the School’s Chief Marketing Officer.

Bidders should be able to demonstrate that they have performed and/or managed all services applicable to their bid including, but not limited to:

A) Account Service

B) Brand Strategy and Marketing/Business Planning Consulting

C) Media Planning and Management

D) Media Evaluation and Analysis

E) Creative Development & Production of Media Assets

F) Brand, Messaging and Design Guidelines

G) Content Development

1.1 Isenberg School of Management / Campus Information and Background:

1.1.1 One of today’s leading centers of public higher education in the Northeast, the University of Massachusetts Amherst was established in 1863 under the original land Grant Act. Located in the historic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, the 1,400-acre campus provides a rich cultural environment in a rural setting. In recent decades, it has achieved a growing reputation for excellence in an increasing number of disciplines, for the breadth of its academic offerings, and for the expansion of its roles in education, research, and public service.

1.1.2 The Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst has one of the nation’s top-ranked public business school undergraduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1947, Isenberg is AACSB-accredited and has more than 4,000 undergraduates majoring in seven business disciplines, ranging from accounting and marketing to sport and hospitality and tourism management. More than 2,000 students are enrolled in nationally and internationally recognized on-campus and online graduate programs. The school’s nearly 50,000 alumni live and work in more than 80 countries, and many of them serve as mentors, guest lecturers and network connectors for Isenberg.

1.1.3 Priorities: The Isenberg School of Management advances the reputation and mission of the University of Massachusetts’ flagship campus and land grant institution by investing in five priorities: 1) attracting exceptional students, 2) sustaining faculty excellence, 3) enabling student success, 4) creating global citizens and inclusive leaders, and 5) inspiring innovation in teaching and learning—each with several underlying initiatives that will help Isenberg advance the school’s reputation and achieve both the school’s and UMass Amherst goals. The goals will help Isenberg further its impact on business theory and practice, provide access to state-of-the-art curricula, advance graduates’ career preparation, create valued partnerships and alumni connections, and build a diverse organization that fosters inclusion and a strong sense of belonging.

1.1.4 Vision: Our vision is to be one of the top 10 public business schools in the world (As defined by external metrics such as U.S. News and World Report, Princeton Review and Financial Times.) by providing an educational and research environment that emphasizes ethical and innovative action to solve our most challenging business problems.

1.1.5 Goals: Isenberg has tremendous momentum and is well on our way to meeting our audacious goals. Our position in the rankings has improved dramatically and as the 51st best undergraduate Business School and 32nd among public universities, we are the top public undergraduate program in the Northeast. Our online undergraduate programs are soaring in the rankings with our Online Undergraduate bachelor’s in business administration ranked #4 in the US by US News. In addition to our growing momentum for undergraduate education, our Online MBA Program continues to be highly ranked at #12 in the nation by US News & World Report, and #8 worldwide by Fortune. Our Online MBA, Online Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) and BBA degree completion programs are growing in terms of inquiries and applicants, and these programs represent an important revenue source. Our relationships with key alumni and friends are well developed: Isenberg development initiatives contributed nearly 1/3 of the funds raised as part of the last UMass capital campaign and we raised funds to construct a new state-of-the-art wing of the Isenberg Building in 2016. Isenberg also recently received its largest individual gift donation in history this March, with a $20 Million donation from Doug and Diana Berthiaume. Overall, our philanthropic fundraising (often referred to as “Development” or “Advancement”) is up nearly 90% in the past 3 years with 2023 set to be another record-breaking year for Isenberg’s Development efforts.

1.1.6 Isenberg was named after alumnus Eugene Isenberg ’50 in 1998. The Isenberg part time MBA program (established in 1994) and the online MBA program (established in 2001) are some of the oldest existing programs with over 20 years of experience with continuing education. This Isenberg Online MBA is notable both for its pioneering start in thecontinuing education online space and for its ongoing growth in enrollment and rankings recognition.

1.1.7 Due to the increasingly competitive nature of the higher business education student recruitment, other well established, iconic brands like Ross-Michigan, Stern-NYU, Wharton-Pennsylvania, and exacerbated by the saturated graduate business degree market with 450+ online MBA programs, Isenberg has invested resources to better establish the Isenberg brand in the hearts and minds of key audiences. Marketing Communications initiatives and infrastructure includes dedicated marketing & communications team of 8 full time employees, a 2023 brand relaunch and new campaign creative, a newly designed and replatformed website, implementation of a school-wide CRM system (, a comprehensive brand study conducted in 2022, as well as several newly-launched graduate and undergraduate offerings.

Over the past 5 years, Isenberg has increased its level of marketing and advertising expenditures to from $1.2M in 2018 to $2.6M in 2022 to keep pace with the competitive environment and keep up with the growth in both the number of programs and enrollment goals.

1.1.8 Of note, the online MBA market has changed dramatically due to an influx of new programs from established accredited programs, as well as for-profit educational companies, and shifts in the economic landscape following the Pandemic. To that end, there has been significant growth in the business schools’ continuing education offerings – across multiple platforms (on-campus, online and hybrid) – to diversify into online learning as well as Graduate Business programs beyond the MBA. Accordingly, Isenberg currently offers a suite of 7 different graduate degree programs, as well as 3 graduate level certificates. We anticipate continued expansion of our degree and non-degree program offerings and increased marketing support for these initiatives.

Due to these shifts in the economic and competitive landscape, the Isenberg Graduate Programs marketing mix has been edited to incorporate greater emphasis on targeted, measurable media choices in the past 3 years as well as an increase in overall budget.

As a result, the Isenberg online & on-campus Graduate Business programs have experienced unprecedented growth over the past 3 years. With some of our online and on-campus programs more than doubling in size and our largest Online MBA program seeing significant growth during the pandemic and still seeing strong enrollment trends as we’ve returned to a more stable economic and educational environment. Overall, our Graduate Program enrollment has grown 26% in the past three years.

1.1.9 For the 2024 Fiscal Year, our marketing priorities are:

A) Increase the number of qualified leads (Salesforce CRM “Opportunities”) to our full suite of Graduate Business Programs. While the Online MBA offering is the largest program in terms of revenue generation and number of students, Isenberg also offers five master’s degrees and three graduate certificates: Master’s of Science in Business & Analytics (MSB&A), Master’s of Science in Accounting (MSA), Master’s of Business Analytics (MSBA), Master’s of Finance(MF), Master’s in Sport Management, and several dual degree options. All of the degree programs have shown growth over the past three years.

B) Isenberg offers three non-degree certificates: Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting, and the Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics and the Foundations in Management Certificate. We will be putting additional marketing support behind two new Master’s programs in 2024 (MS Sport and MS Management). Each program has its own matriculation goals and all desire growth in enrollment in 2024 and beyond.

C) Isenberg also recently increased its focus and marketing of targeted “4+1” programs to support students both at UMass Amherst and from other schools in their efforts to add a Business degree to their undergraduate degree immediately following graduation – or sometimes even concurrently (accelerated 4+1 options). These recruitment efforts will receive increased investment in 2024 and will have a dedicated marketing budget and require unique strategic marketing efforts.

D) Activating our newly developed Isenberg Brand Campaign. This will include a distinct budget and require multi-platform strategic execution. The goal of this brand campaign is to build brand awareness in our core New England region as well as potentially pursue some branding in strategically-selected expansion geographic markets. According to our 2022 Brand Research study, unaided brand awareness of “Isenberg” is only about 1% among prospective undergraduate and graduate students, and 2% for parents of undergraduate students. We are committed to putting resources in place to improve these awareness numbers both regionally and among strategically-selected expansion markets. The primary audience for this campaign is expected to be student prospects and their influencers (parents); with secondary audiences of alumni, academic peers and business leaders in core recruiting markets.

E) Enhancing awareness and reputational capital amongst academic peers at other institutions. This is critical for peer evaluations that comprise 30-35% of the US News & World Report rankings. There are approximately 150 business schools that are ranked and are polled for these rankings, and they are located throughout the 50 states.

F) Building a deeper sense of pride and engagement among alumni. Engagement will be measured by engagement with media and social platforms, email opens/clicks, attendance at events and post-event satisfaction surveys. Of note, many older alumni (before 2000) are generally unaware that the Isenberg School has been renamed, and many of them identify simply by

UMass School of Management.

More information about the Isenberg School of Management – UMass Amherst can be found

1.2 General Specifications and Scope of Work:

1.2.1 Isenberg seeks a single entity to execute and facilitate all advertising specific to marketing and promoting said marketing initiatives, with the understanding that vendors specializing in either public relations, web development and/or customer relationship management (CRM) may subcontract services as well. If the awarded vendor chooses to engage the services of a subcontractor, the University assumes no responsibility for any payment to the subcontractor and the awarded vendor is responsible for all direction and payment to the chosen subcontractor.

1.2.2 The successful vendor will consult on and execute strategies with the primary objective of increasing matriculated Students for revenue-generating graduate programs, as well as the overall awareness and reputational capital for the Isenberg School of Management.

1.2.3 There is a current media plan in place that will run until August 31st, 2023. This will give us approximately 2 months to work with the selected vendor to develop a forward-looking media plan starting September 1, 2023.

1.2.4 This media plan is expected to include tactics such as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), digital display, video and OTT TV, paid social media, out of home, print and other media channels as recommended. The successful vendor will be expected to plan and execute a complete communications plan for September 2023 through June 2024 – with an expectation that upon renewal, media plans will run annually during the academic fiscal year (July 1 – June 31st going forward).

1.2.5 During year one (1) the estimated spend will be $3,000,000, including SEM. The budget will be strategically allocated across the programs based on defined recruitment goals, co-developed priority rankings, and the school priorities as outlined above.

.2.6 It should be noted that the budget number indicated in 1.2.5 includes anticipated spending for SEM. Currently, SEM is under a separate contract and Isenberg would like to consolidate the planning and execution of all media into this contract. However, it is possible that SEM strategy and media spend will continue under separate contract.

If SEM is not included in this contract, the annual spend amount will decrease accordingly.

1.2.7 Annual budget to be provided by “product line” broken out between agency fees (media management and general account service—broken out separately), media spend, SEM and creative development/production costs.

1.2.8 The advertising budget is intended to cover all advertising expenses, including agency and ad serving fees, related to advertising for Isenberg, including, but not limited to, media buys, talent fees, photography rights and creative development. Printing and postage is not assumed within this budget. In order to optimize return on expenditures, the University may, at its discretion, opt to facilitate video production or other creative materials through competitive bids or vendor relationships maintained by UMass or Isenberg. In such cases, the portion of the marketing budget available for projects facilitated by the vendor will be reduced accordingly. As the communications planning for all-school reputation and alumni engagement moves forward, the Isenberg School and the awarded vendor will continue to evaluate the appropriate tactics to support our objectives.

1.2.9 Advertising creative campaigns and content will be developed in collaboration with Isenberg, with the vendor taking the lead on some pieces and Isenberg taking the lead on others. Vendors should demonstrate an ability to work effectively, responsively and in a timely manner within a multi-tiered creative environment.

1.2.10 Vendors shall provide and present monthly reports of media performance and optimization, as well as progress toward mutually agreed campaign goals and measurements. The specific date for these monthly reports will be mutually agreed upon between the awarded vendor and the Isenberg School based upon the timing and placement of media. It is important to note that monthly reports and correspondence are an important part of this =contract.

1.2.11 Vendor shall provide an updated brand guidelines document that evolves the current Isenberg branding guidelines and incorporates the current campaign art direction and styling. This should take into account a number of uses from advertising/promotion including but not limited to merchandise and presentation templates.

1.2.12Contract Assignment or Subcontracting: The vendor shall not assign or in any way transfer any interest in the Contract without prior written consent of the University, nor shall the vendor subcontract any service without the prior written approval of the University. In the event the vendor wants to subcontract services, the Vendor must provide name and qualifications of subcontractor to Isenberg and will be asked to demonstrate by example that they have established a successful working relationship with any intended subcontractor. If the awarded vendor chooses to engage the services of a subcontractor, the University assumes no responsibility for any payment to the subcontractor and the awarded vendor is responsible for all direction and payment to the chosen subcontractor.

1.2.13 The awarded Vendor will be evaluated on a specific set of performance metrics across the length of the Agreement, as they pertain to lead generation, brand awareness, alumni engagement and recall of promotional/advertising campaigns.

1.2.14The awarded Vendor will need to leverage the current CRM salesforce data for recruitment strategies in coordination with the Isenberg Marketing team.

1.3 Marketing Plan:

1.3.1 Objective: To raise awareness of and consideration for the Isenberg School of Management, measured by:

A) Increased enrollment in revenue generating programs identified in section 1.1.9 and for any programs that are launched in the fiscal year.

B) Improvement in rankings

C) Alumni engagement

D) Activation of Brand Campaign to lead to increased brand awareness

1.3.2 Marketing Audience: To get perception aligned with reality: ensure that the right audiences understand the full power and potential of Isenberg.

A) Priority Audiences:

1. Prospective Graduate students

2. Academic Peers

3. Alumni

4. Prospective undergraduates

5. Parents of Prospective undergraduates

6. Business community at large: Recruiters and other business leaders, particularly in the Northeast Region.

1.3.3 Specific Tactics:

A. Student Recruitment Revenue Generating Programs:

More complete information on each program marketing strategy will be provided to the successful vendor for media planning. The successful vendor will develop an executable recruitment media strategy to begin on September 1, 2023 and run through June 30th 2024. To date, these plans have incorporated a mix of SEM, digital display, social media marketing, connected TV, spot TV, video, out of home, print, and sponsored content across mediums. Other digital and traditional media will be considered if viewed as effective to overall strategy.

B. Enhancing awareness and reputational capital among academic peers:

Over the past several years, Isenberg has embarked upon a dedicated communications plan to connect with academic peers at other higher education institutions that included enhanced targeted digital and print content, direct mail, email, trade publications and media relations. The successful vendor will continue to establish and build on these communication plans.

For the 2023 fiscal year, a number of direct communications are planned, both specific all-school messages, as well as Departmental/discipline-specific messaging to key sub-groups. In 2022, Isenberg developed an “Isenberg Insights” media campaign and online destination where relevant articles and content are posted and paid and placed media drive the Peer audience to this location. The selected agency will work with Isenberg to continue to expand and populate content for this digital destination.

C. Building a deeper sense of pride and engagement among alumni.

In addition to establishing a communications plan to connect with academic peers, Isenberg has an enhanced alumni communications plan that includes frequent email, a periodic newsletter, social media, digital campaigns on LinkedIn, Facebook and display, and direct mail to target segments of this audience. We also prepare and distribute a Dean’s Report annually in digital and print formats. The successful vendor will work to increase alumni engagement.

Isenberg launched an alumni-focused event called Leaders of Impact in 2022. This event was held at the Boston Public Library in September and attracted about 250 alumni. This event recognizes exceptional leaders – both among our alumni and within the larger business community. This now annual event will take place again in September 2023.

In addition to the Leaders of Impact annual event, there are numerous informal alumni networking opportunities in Boston, New York, and other cities with larger alumni populations. More information on the kinds of events and their frequency can be found at


You may also like...