Marketing Services Request for Proposals
A few local government units and federal government agencies in and around the Greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area have recently posted requests for proposals (RFPs) for marketing and consulting services. Companies that wish to win government bids for these services can take cues from companies that have high government contracting win rates. Presented below are the open local and federal RFPs for marketing and consulting services and the best practices for winning government contracts.
Local and National RFPs
Following are six open RFPs for marketing and consulting services. These RFPs were issued by a mix of local government units and federal government agencies that are all within 500 miles of the Greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
Business Case and Communications Strategies for State DOT Resilience Efforts
- This RFP was issued by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) of the Transportation Research Board on May 18, 2020.
- The Transportation Research Board is based in Washington, D.C.
- The NCHRP seeks contractor services to develop resources that state DOTs and transportation organizations can use to demonstrate to the public and other stakeholders the importance of investing in resilience.
- The deadline for submission of proposals is June 15, 2020.
Downtown Revitalization Strategy
- This RFP was issued by the City of Buena Vista in Virginia on May 15, 2020.
- The City of Buena Vista seeks contractor services for the development of a strategy for revitalizing Buena Vista’s downtown area. The strategy will ultimately have three plans relating to economic restructuring, marketing, and physical improvement.
- The deadline for submission of proposals is June 18, 2020.
Media and Recycling Education Support
- This RFP was issued by the Streets Department of the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania on May 19, 2020. Philadelphia is around 139.88 miles away from Washington, D.C.
- The Streets Department of the City of Philadelphia seeks contractor services to support the management of its website assets, the development and distribution of marketing materials, the development and updating of recycling program education materials, and the development of targeted media campaigns.
- The deadline for submission of proposals is June 19, 2020.
Social Media Promotion Marketing Services
- This RFP was issued by the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on June 3, 2020.
- The Department of State, on behalf of the Agricultural Trade Office of the country’s embassy in Tokyo, Japan, seeks contractor services for the development and dissemination of digital video marketing materials that the embassy can use to promote American food, cuisine, and agriculture to Japanese consumers.
- The deadline for submission of proposal is July 9, 2020.
Communications Strategy Services
- This pre-solicitation notice was issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 4, 2020. Pittsburgh is around 239.35 miles away from Washington, D.C.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania seeks contractor services for the development of a communications and engagement system that the Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development can use to make communications for planned research studies better.
- The RFP is yet to be issued, but the pre-solicitation notice is scheduled to be inactive by September 2, 2020.
Digital/Non-Digital Marketing Services
- This RFP was issued by Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a state university, on June 4, 2020. Indiana, Pennsylvania is around 212 miles away from Washington, D.C.
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania seeks qualified vendors to provide digital and non-digital marketing services to the university. Prospective vendors need to register on the eProcurement Exchange of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.
- The deadline for submission of proposals is June 15, 2020.
To find the desired RFPs, we consulted multiple RFP databases, including GovernmentBids.com, beta.Sam.gov, and Find RFP. We also consulted state procurement pages such as Maryland’s eMaryland Marketplace Advantage, Virginia’s eProcurement Marketplace, and District of Columbia’s Office of Contracting and Procurement. Open RFPs for marketing and consulting services were not as many as we expected, even when both local and national RFPs were considered, so we expanded our research to include nearby states Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. This expansion enabled us to find six open RFPs that are relevant to marketing and consulting service providers. These six open RFPs are a mix of local/state and federal/national RFPs. We tried looking specifically for Census- and revitalization-related federal/national RFPs on the Census Bureau website and in government bid databases such as GovernmentBids.com and beta.Sam.gov, but we were unable to find any. Our understanding is that these federal/national RFPs should still have Greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area as the location.
Best Practices for Winning Marketing Bids
Developing campaigns with upcoming RFPs in mind, developing marketing content that targets the decision maker, and developing a proposal that aligns proposal criteria with brand are three practices that most companies with higher government contracting win rates employ. Companies that want to increase their chances of winning marketing bids can follow the lead of companies that already have a track record of high win rates.
Developing Campaigns with Upcoming RFPs in Mind
- Companies with a track record of winning government contracts make it a point to listen closely to what their client or prospect is saying or doing. This behavior is what enables them to anticipate business opportunities and upcoming RFPs early.
- With their foresight, they are able to create marketing campaigns that are tailored to these upcoming RFPs. They employ a practice that is basically the public sector version of account-based marketing, where high-value prospects receive personalized and targeted messaging.
- They attend conferences, trade shows, and other networking events to increase in-person interactions with decision makers in the government and learn about the challenges these decision makers face.
- Eighty-nine percent of companies with government contracting win rates of 50% or more say that they build marketing campaigns with upcoming RFPs in mind. In contrast, only 62% of companies with government contracting win rates of 49% or less say that they do the same.
Developing Marketing Content That Targets the Decision Maker
- Companies with a track record of winning government contracts are more inclined than other companies to create marketing content that is targeted at the decision maker.
- They use marketing content to demonstrate that they are familiar with the challenges that their client or prospect faces. Those seeking to replace an incumbent vendor use marketing content to demonstrate that they know “what is or is not working.”
- Starting with a clear grasp of the challenges faced by the client, these messages then build on this understanding in “succinct, specific and memorable ways.”
- Eighty-one percent of companies with government contracting win rates of 50% or more say that they develop marketing content that targets the decision maker. In contrast, only 57% of companies with government contracting win rates of 49% or less say that they do the same.
- There are three kinds of decision makers that a company must reach, and they are the end user, the influencers, and the ultimate buyers. Because it is possible for a message to resonate with one group but not another, it is best for a company to explore multi-tiered messaging.
Developing a Proposal That Aligns Proposal Criteria with Brand
- Companies with a track record of winning government contracts have no problem differentiating themselves from their competition beyond cost or price. They have “sound and effective win themes.”
- These win themes are the key points and narratives that these companies use to set themselves apart from the rest and to align their services with the criteria specified in the RFP.
- Eighty percent of companies with government contracting win rates of 50% or more say that they develop a proposal that aligns proposal criteria with their brand. In contrast, only 57% of companies with government contracting win rates of 49% or less say that they do the same.
- Also, of companies with lower government contracting win rates, 55% struggle to differentiate themselves beyond price, and 56% struggle to identify the correct win themes.
- Price appears to be the most important criterion in award decisions. It was found to be the key determinant 45.6% of the time. It is followed by past performance, technical expertise and plans, relationships with the government, and proven key personnel, which were found to be the key determinant 29.03%, 27.96%, 16.37%, and 7.53% of the time, respectively.