Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Marketing Consulting Services in Latin America

DUE DATE: 2:00 pm, EST on Tuesday, April 11, 2023,


A. VDACS helps Virginia companies develop profitable export opportunities throughout the world for products including, but not limited to, agricultural commodities, processed foods and beverages, seafood and aquaculture products, and forest products. Agricultural products are critical to Virginia’s economy; the annual value of Virginia’s agricultural exports exceeds $5 billion. These exports help support jobs related to farming, transportation, and other service sectors in the


B. Through the use of staff based in Virginia and the utilization of in-country consultants in various

markets, VDACS can maintain daily contact with buyers and gather trade leads for Virginia produced products. VDACS’ Office of International Marketing (OIM) also works hand-in-hand with numerous USDA Cooperators with offices around the world.

C. The contract for these services with Grupo PM will expire on April 30, 2023. The monthly marketing services fee is $6,000.00.



1. VDACS is seeking an in-country consultant to assist with marketing and promotional activities

in Latin America. For the purposes of this RFP, the region of Latin America is defined to include the countries of Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. VDACS’ preference is that the Awarded Offeror be a marketing firm rather than a self-employed individual. The Awarded Offeror shall work with assigned VDACS marketing personnel. Offerors should specify the countries of Latin America where they possess relevant capabilities and experience to perform the services.

2. VDACS seeks an in-country consultant in Latin America to build trade relationships, determine

the challenges with importing selected Virginia-produced food and agricultural products, and increase the awareness and interest in the procurement of Virginia-produced food and agricultural products.

3. VDACS marketing staff work with many U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperators, such as

SUSTA, the American Hardwood Export Council, the US Grains Council, and others. These organizations are a valuable resource to VDACS as a source of market intelligence and foreign

contacts. Additionally, in some cases, Cooperator funds are available for VDACS to use for export promotion activities to assist Virginia companies directly.

4. Latin America is an important growth market for Virginia agricultural and forestry products.

VDACS has been active in that market for more than twenty five (25) years. The purpose of the

Awarded Offeror is to build upon the work that VDACS has already done in Latin America and

to secure new export business for Virginia companies. The ultimate success of this contract

will be measured in new sales for Virginia businesses. The Awarded Offeror will work closely

with VDACS staff, based in Virginia, to prioritize the products and segment the Latin American

market to ensure the best possible chance for sales. A secondary purpose of the Awarded

Offeror’s work will be to keep VDACS and Virginia agricultural and forestry exporters well

informed of tariff and non-tariff barriers that impact the competitiveness of Virginia exports, as

well as the overall market conditions in Latin America. Strategies will be developed jointly to

address trade issues and economic conditions.

5. The Awarded Offeror shall provide recommendations and strategies for improving the

competitiveness of Virginia exports in Latin America. Special projects (trade shows, trade

missions, in-store promotions, trade servicing, digital and social media marketing, etc.) may

require extended travel or additional work hours in each week.

6. The Awarded Offeror is expected to be in and reside in one of the countries covered in the region as described above. If the Awarded Offeror’s primary point of contact plans to spend more than thirty (30) consecutive days outside of the home market, he or she must notify VDACS in advance and provide an explanation as to who will be serving as the primary point of contact during the absence.

B. ASSISTANCE TO VIRGINIA COMPANIES: A key responsibility of the Awarded Offeror in Latin

America will be helping Virginia companies export their products to Latin America by providing local

market assistance. Many of these companies are small or medium-sized in nature, thus they need

significant attention and assistance. The associated services that will be required of the Awarded

Offeror may include, but are not limited to:

1. Assisting Virginia exporters in contacting potential Latin American importers, distributors, and retailers by developing matchmaking opportunities, providing interpretation and translation services, as necessary. Services may also be used for developing and delivering promotional material, correspondence, and for meetings, trade shows, and escorting foreign buyer missions in Virginia;

2. Assisting with travel for Virginia agribusiness exporters to Latin America including arranging meeting and developing itineraries for VDACS and Virginia companies traveling to Latin America, making hotel arrangements, and arranging transportation details;

3. Maintaining on-going contact with foreign buyers, including buyer selections and escorting buyer missions to Virginia;

4. Advising and assisting with distribution that includes finding importers, warehousing, and other distribution facilities and partners;

5. Advising on import ingredient restrictions, labeling regulations, and other relevant regulations in Latin America;

6. Reviewing market reports and other sources of information on the Latin American market that will lead to better market intelligence and understanding of export opportunities fo Virginia produced products. Information should include issues of trade policies and changing economic conditions in order to provide VDACS with the most salient information;

7. Corresponding directly with Virginia companies to keep trade leads active and obtaining necessary information. In all cases, VDACS should be made aware of this contact through being copied on the correspondence;

8. Advising on obtaining payment for export transactions; and

9. Advising on marketing and public relations activities for Virginia-produced products.

10. Maintaining web sites, links, social networks, and other web-based media developed by the

Awarded Offeror on behalf of VDACS.

C. TRADE SERVICING: The responsibilities of the Awarded Offeror in carrying out trade servicing

include, but are not limited to:

1. Visiting with potential importers, distributors, retailers, and food service companies and food

ingredient buyers, and developing lists of these companies that are the most reputable, experienced, and in the best position to purchase Virginia-produced products;

2. Developing and maintaining a database of potential Latin American importers and buyers, their

contact information, and their product interests;

3. Liaising with Foreign Agricultural Service Posts on a regular basis;

4. Informing VDACS of market development opportunities that arise throughout the year and activities that should be included in our marketing plans for the next year;

5. Traveling to the United States for meetings with VDACS personnel and clients when requested;

6. Generating and following up on trade leads after an event;

7. Following up with key buyers from trade missions and other special projects;

8. Ascertaining problems which may be inhibiting export sales;

9. Obtaining evaluations or participant feedback following each activity;

10. Tracking sales and other performance measures resulting from all events;

11. Assisting, on an ongoing basis, in generating export success stories; and

12. Providing information regarding trade servicing in the weekly report that outlines the trade

servicing completed and any results achieved.

D. MARKET RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND PROMOTION: The responsibilities of the Awarded

Offeror in carrying out market research, development, and promotion include, but will not be limited to:

1. Undertaking industry and/or sector studies as requested;

2. Identifying and recommending promotional opportunities in the food service, food retail, and

food ingredient sectors of the market;

3. Developing and assisting with implementation of promotional activities within the guidelines

specified by VDACS, including negotiating promotional terms, assisting with in-store

merchandising and display, digital and social media marketing, and developing promotional

concepts and materials;

4. Developing and executing a digital marketing strategy with the guidance of VDACS staff for

Virginia agricultural and forestry industries, products and/or companies;

5. Submitting a report on each activity and providing any required evaluation results; and

6. Performing other specific consulting work as requested by VDACS.

E. TRADE SHOWS: The Awarded Offeror will notify VDACS and Virginia companies of the best

opportunities to exhibit at trade shows in Latin America, providing them with the information and

support they need to be an effective exhibitor at these events. In addition, the Awarded Offeror

should provide value for exhibitors by focusing efforts on maximizing their potential for developing

leads, securing an importer/distributor, and realizing sales from the show. Ultimately, by being

adequately prepared to do business at the show, companies make the best possible use of the

trade show environment and improve their chances for achieving new sales. Trade shows and

activity dates will be determined after award and on an on-going basis in conjunction with VDACS

OIM staff. 

The types of services considered for each trade show should include, but are not limited to:

1. Identifying and providing details on food trade shows in the Latin American market to include the

number of exhibitors, key buyers attending, and recommendations on which shows to exhibit;

2. Conducting pre-show product research regarding pricing, import regulation, and competitor analysis;

3. Targeting invitations to qualified buyers for exhibitor booths, providing buyer-seller instructions, and setting up pre-arranged appointments for each exhibitor;

4. Providing basic exhibitor material for buyers on each company exhibiting and their product information;

5. Providing technical support at the show, to include on-site show assistance by in-market


6. Providing in-market briefings and local industry tours, as appropriate;

7. Qualifying exhibitors’ leads from the show, and conducting due diligence, if necessary; and

8. Conducting follow-up correspondence with key buyers after the show.

F. VIRTUAL TRADE MISSION: The Awarded Offeror should provide the best matchmaking

opportunities for Virginia companies with key Latin American buyers by organizing virtual trade

missions as follows:

1. Identify key contacts in the market to participate in virtual meetings with Virginia companies;

2. Create invitations and invite key buyers;

3. Schedule virtual meetings for Virginia products/companies with buyers;

4. Work with VDACS staff to coordinate and facilitate virtual meeting and shipping of sample

products to buyers as needed;

5. Work with VDACS staff to prepare an agenda for each Virginia company and Latin American


G. INBOUND TRADE MISSIONS: The Awarded Offeror should provide the best opportunities for

Virginia companies with key Latin American buyers by providing matchmaking one-on-one meetings

during inbound trade missions which:

1. Identify key contacts in the market to travel to the U.S. for one-on-one meetings with Virginia companies;

2. Create invitations, and invite key buyers;

3. Schedule one-on-one meetings for each buyer with Virginia companies;

4. Work with VDACS to identify and secure a location for the one-on-one meetings;

5. Work with VDACS to organize and coordinate all logistics for the one-on-one meetings;

6. Organize and coordinate market tours in each location;

7. Prepare an agenda for each Virginia company to meet key Latin American buyers.

H. OUTBOUND TRADE MISSIONS: The Awarded Offeror should provide the best opportunities for

Virginia companies with key Latin American buyers by providing matchmaking one-on-one meetings

during outbound trade missions which:

1. Identify key contacts in the market for one-on-one meetings with Virginia companies in the Latin

American market;

2. Schedule one-on-one meetings for each buyer with Virginia companies;

3. Work with VDACS to identify and secure a location for the one-on-one meetings;

4. Work with VDACS to organize and coordinate all logistics outbound trade missions and one-on-

one meetings;

5. Organize and coordinate market tours in each location; and

6. Prepare an agenda for each Virginia company to meet key Latin American buyers.

I. DELIVERABLES: The Awarded Offeror should provide the following deliverables:

1. Weekly activity summary reports to VDACS with information that may be included in VDACS’

Marketing Division Weekly Report—to include number of client calls/visits, contact information

regarding the call/visit (an in-person visit, a phone call, or email), and notes and outcomes of thencalls/visits;

2. Special written or oral reports, when requested by VDACS; and

3. Trip or activity reports when requested by VDACS, should include:

a. Purpose of travel and a brief summary;

b. Itinerary of meetings and/or work accomplished;

c. Observations, conclusions, and recommendations;

d. A list of contacts and/or business cards received as a part of working under this contract;

e. Expense report in VDACS’ Excel format, with original receipts.

4. Documentation of the following annual targets:

a. 50 documented sales/marketing presentations to relevant companies across Latin America;

b. 3 social media campaigns and 4 virtual trade missions/buyer meetings;

c. 1 organized trade mission to Latin America with Virginia exporters;

d. 1 reverse trade mission in Virginia for importers from Latin America;

e. 4 documented new sales accounts for Virginia exports;

5. The Awarded Offeror will be responsible for planning, promoting, and managing the abovetrade activities under VDACS’ Latin America initiative.

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