DUE DATE: October 2, 2023 @ 2:00 P.M. EST


The VDSS administers a multitude of human services programs, initiatives and partnerships designed to improve the well-being and outcomes of children, families and communities across the Commonwealth. Ensuring access to these critical services and programs is primarily dependent upon the agency’s ability to further public awareness, engagement and understanding of program requirements, resources and opportunities. Such efforts require strategic coordination, creative advertising partnerships and data-informed insights to ensure target audiences are reached and that Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens have access to the best services and benefits available to them.

On average, VDSS executes between 10-15 large-scale advertising/public awareness campaigns on an annual basis in support of agency objectives, priorities and/or legislative mandates. These campaigns require an individualized procurement process to solicit vendors who are able to employ a variety of strategic communications channels and measurable strategies to reach diverse audiences in nuanced and widespread regions of Virginia. These omnichannel campaigns are informed by the available demographic, psychographic and geographic data of clients served by 120 local departments of social services.

Based on marketing needs and trends over the past two (2) years, the agency’s annual advertising spend for internal and public-facing campaigns has averaged approximately $350,000 annually. These costs typically include strategic and creative production work associated with the development of design, content messaging, concepts, storyboards and other advertising needs. This advertising spend is expected to increase due to the agency’s continued growth in program needs and legislative mandates.


Vendors are needed on a periodic basis to support and/or perform a multitude of communications services functions, including, but not limited to, managing/executing integrated media strategies including branding, creative concepting, multimedia production, planning, and placement of broadcast, digital, social, print and out-of-home promotion, outreach programs, internal communications, and digital strategies. Additionally, expertise in public information and media elation outreach initiatives is required to aid in message development and public and media outreach efforts as well as crisis public relations management.

In support of these agencywide needs, VDSS is specifically seeking vendors to provide marketing services in the following areas:

A. Marketing Research & Strategy

1. Research, capture, aggregate, and analyze pertinent and relevant trends and data on key markets, audiences, programs, and clients to inform the development of state- or region-specific marketing strategies.

2. Perform environmental scans, and gap and/or situational analyses as a basis for communications planning and approaches. Perform qualitative research, as needed, to develop system-wide marketing strategies.

3. Identify new, data-informed strategies to reach target audiences and position VDSS for success with a strategic omnichannel digital presence.

4. Conduct extensive stakeholder analysis, including surveys, roundtables, and focus groups to assess user experiences, perceptions, misconceptions, and opportunities to improve digital experience and client engagement.

5. Execute a comprehensive analysis of current or past marketing efforts (marketing audit), as needed to inform strategy, key messages, opportunities, and risks.

6. Analyze user needs, desires, expectations, and support needs. Assess user journeys and personas (representations of groups of potential or current clients/customers) to plan for key marketing and engagement initiatives.

B. Digital Marketing

1. Develop a multimedia marketing and advertising strategy, including channel strategy, creative message

development, message testing, along with key performance indicators and measurement plans to support media and creative initiatives.

2. Plan and manage a sequence of integrated marketing activities to promote a program, product or service through digital and print channels to target audiences and drive engagement with our websites.

Provide strategic and creative support for digital marketing and storytelling, including strategic campaigns, social and digital video and graphical advertising, web page design and creation, audience targeting and analysis, Google AdWords, web optimizations and search engine optimizations, etc.

3. Execute strategic and tactical digital media advertising buys on a variety of social media platforms, and/or search engine marketing, and/or other new and innovative platforms.

4. Manage and develop content for products and services, as well as the information architecture to optimize user experience – with a focus on plain language and accessible materials.

5. Determine the overall effectiveness and return on investment an advertising or marketing program provides.

6. Develop content for digital creation of words/text for digital platforms and products, which may include digital ads, websites, apps (applications), social media posts and other digital mediums. Content writing for print creation of words/text for print materials, which may include posters, flyers, pamphlets, and other printed materials.

7. Perform copy editing (to include Associated Press/AP writing style review, reading text and providing revisions in order to improve readability and reduce errors, to include document writing, reports and/or documents that present information in an organized format for a specific audience or purpose.

C. Public Relations and Issues Management

1. Research, create and provide issues management/advocacy and media relations plans on an as-needed basis, to include the development of op-eds, positioning messages, and media responses.

2. Develop communications strategies to advance VDSS’ brand, strategic goals, and mission to promote the wellbeing of children and families statewide. Produce proactive efforts, reactive efforts, op-ed content and social media. Contributing expertise for and conducting, as need, media outreach in diverse local, state and national media markets.

3. Provide crisis communication, including responding to emergent matters needing concise and clear messaging.

4. Through engagement with VDSS leadership, develop messaging illustrating the agency’s position on child welfare and human services issues and trends, developing communications for multiple forums, and elevating the agency as thought leaders.

5. Leverage current and potential community partners to support education, engagement and awareness of agency services and programs.

6. Develop tactical media plan and timeline to create effective reach and engagement among target audiences across the states in diverse markets.

D. Multimedia Design Video/Audio Production

1. Provide end-to-end production of original, unscripted, audio, and audio-visual recordings.

2. Provide onsite filming at locations within the Commonwealth of Virginia. This may include filming or audio recording at pre-determined locations such as citizen’s homes via onsite or remote platforms (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, etc.), studios, events or other designated locations as determined by VDSS. Vendor shall secure the appropriate video/photo releases.

3. Develop video storyboards, concept outlines and draft scripts in accordance with key messaging and diversity and cultural relevancy based on the identified target audience.

4. Develop voiceover narration, supporting video-based graphics and secure background and foreground music, as appropriate.

5. Provide the necessary audio and visual equipment needed for on-site videography and audio recording, such as lighting, pipe and drape, event audio, TV monitors, screens, projectors, signs, etc.

6. Provide video and audio captioning services, such as open captioning, closed captioning, live event captioning, and subtitles.

7. Provide broadcast quality post-production services, such as editing video, audio, and animation.

8. Provide client (citizen) engagement services, such as meeting with clients, scheduling remote recordings, and coaching.

9. Provide appropriate studio and staging services, such as a vendor provided broadcast studio or location secured on behalf of the vendor which includes necessary video equipment, audio, lighting, green screens, props, and staging capabilities. The vendor will be responsible for building and teardowns of any required set designs, providing wardrobes, makeup, and hair styling services.

10. The vendor will be responsible for securing lodging for clients for extended filming times (greater than 8 hours) greater than 100 miles from the residential location of the client (citizen).

11. Provide Talent Services, the vendor must be able to provide actors, extras or any other type of talent required both union and non-union.

12. Provide transcription and translation services for audio, recorded video, and live meetings.

13. The vendor must be proficient in using digital video cameras, have the ability to travel to locations within the Commonwealth of Virginia, and be proficient in video/audio related hardware and software for multimedia development.

14. The vendor is required to engage in reoccurring concept, production and post-production reviews with Public Affairs and designated project leads to ensure project requirements and expectations are satisfied.

15. The vendor is required to develop a Statement of Work (SOW) for each engagement or production request.

E. Internal Communications & Engagement

1. Provide strategic consultation and support in the development and execution of internal communications processes, two-way employee engagement initiatives and change management efforts.

2. Identify communication gaps and resources and develop best practices for inclusive internal communications across the enterprise.

3. Review the existing internal communications materials and processes and seek staff feedback to identify the strengths/opportunities and weaknesses/barriers to achieving the agency’s employee engagement goals.

4. Partner with internal teams to creatively solve communication challenges and develop new and measurable internal digital engagement strategies.

5. Assess/identify agency silos and opportunities to improve content and increase engagement across all 120 local departments of social services.

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