Choose New Jersey is seeking the services of an experienced, multi-disciplined advertising agency to lead the creative and digital strategy for our “This is New Jersey” business attraction campaign. This ongoing campaign – which is currently funded through a $10 million grant from the State of New Jersey – launched in the spring of 2023. This campaign features digital display and social media ads, out-of-home (OOH) assets (including billboards, transit ads, and car wraps), and video and print ads aimed at Choose New Jersey’s target audiences for business attraction. This phase of the campaign also featured a discrete campaign against New York City’s congestion pricing plan in the New York metropolitan area.
The second phase of the grant will provide additional financial support for the campaign as it expands to incorporate more key messages highlighting the state’s quality of life – an evolution from the first phase of the campaign and Choose New Jersey’s previous efforts that focused more strictly on the sector and business-specific arguments for basing a company in the Garden State. The second phase will target decision-makers and the workforce in existing domestic and international markets and expand into new markets, requiring the creation of new custom content. Creative implementation and support will drive the media buy from September 2023 to February 2024. Currently in development, the media buy is estimated at $3.23M, which consist of: TV, Radio, Podcast: $750K; Print: $675K; Digital (banner, search, newsletters): $1.2M; Social Media: $600K.
RFP Q&A Deadline: August 11
Answers Provided: August 18
Proposals Due: September 7
Vendor Selection: October 2023
As our campaign expands to reach more international and domestic targets, we need an agency to provide long-term strategic support and recommendations to improve our creative assets and craft compelling messaging. This includes digital optimization and day-to-day management of our marketing automation tactics, focusing on growing our inbound lead pipeline. Our ideal agency will help evolve our current campaign assets, including video, with sharp, bold designs and messaging and lead the way in implementing an enhanced digital strategy that takes our business attraction efforts to the next level.
Our goal is to select an agency by October 2023.
The selected agency will advise on the overall long-term direction of the campaign and lead on all creative and digital aspects of the effort, including, but not limited to:
This is an open and competitive process. This request for proposal (RFP) will provide an overview of the bidding and evaluation procedure for all candidates to ensure a fair process.
Proposals must be submitted in PDF format to choosenj.com/advertising-campaign by September 7. Please email questions regarding the RFP to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 11. Answers will be emailed to all candidates by August 18.
Proposals will be evaluated shortly after, and vendors may be contacted for additional information. Choose New Jersey will evaluate the proposal on the following criteria:
Choose New Jersey reserves the right to award the contract to the vendor that represents the best value to the business. Choose New Jersey is also not required to select a vendor from this RFP.
Vendor selection will take place through October 2023. The top identified candidates agree to meet with the Choose New Jersey team (in-person or via Zoom) before making a final decision. Once the vendor selection process has concluded, all candidates will be notified of the final decision. The completion and delivery dates of the project and its phases will be mutually agreed upon before signing a contract.
The proposal must contain the signature of a duly authorized officer or agent of the company submitting the proposal.
The price you quote should be inclusive. If your price excludes specific fees or charges, you must provide a detailed list of excluded expenses with a complete explanation of the nature of those fees. If the execution of work to be performed by your company requires hiring subcontractors, you must clearly state this in your proposal. Sub-contractors must be identified, and their work must be defined. In your proposal, please provide the name and address of the subcontractor. Choose New Jersey will not refuse a bid based upon the use of subcontractors but retains the right to refuse the sub-contractors you have selected. This RFP’s provisions and the successful responses’ contents are considered available for inclusion in final contractual obligations.
Proposers shall submit a complete, signed, electronic proposal in PDF format, which must be viewable by Choose New Jersey evaluators. The subject line of the RFP submission and any attachments must all be clearly labeled. The RFP electronic proposals must be uploaded to Choose New Jersey’s website at choosenj.com/advertising-campaign. To be considered for the award, the submission must be received by Choose New Jersey by September 7.
Each electronically uploaded file submission should follow the following format:
[Entity Name] – Bid Submission – 2023 RFP – Choose New Jersey Advertising Campaign RFP
Proposals should address the following:
Procedural inquiries may be directed to email@example.com or (609) 297-2200.
NOTE: Any bids received after the date and time specified may not be considered.
Questions about the advertising campaign process can be submitted to Ashlea Coulter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you looking for vendors to submit proposed approaches to this work and/or work plans? Or just a proposed timeline?
Yes, we are looking for vendors to submit a proposed approach to work along with a work plan and timeline.
We’re a digital-only agency and can manage advertising, influencers, emails, and creative but not OOH – would you still consider a digital-only agency for the digital-only elements?
Yes, you can submit a proposal for digital or creative-only focus.
Are you looking for one partner agency to handle the entire scope laid out in the RFP, including media buying, or do you envision dividing the creative strategy and execution work into smaller projects based on the creative needs of the Choose New Jersey Team?
This scope is focused on creative, strategy, and digital work. We are open to splitting some needs amongst agencies.
Regarding the evaluation criteria, can you share the total points and how they are allocated among the five criteria?
During the evaluation phase, a higher weight will be placed on current creative/digital work quality, case studies, and examples of successful projects. Emphasis will also be placed on relevant business attraction experience and knowledge of creative and marketing automation best practices. We are looking for agencies who can provide clear direction and recommendations based on their expertise and experience.
In addition to the information requested and included on the signed PDF proposal, are there other requirements in the approval process?
Agencies will be required to submit the RFP according to the requirements. The next steps will be a first-round Zoom interview for invited agencies, including submission of sample ads for review. Invited agencies will then participate in a final in-person interview (Zoom if needed) with our selection team and CEO.
We work with many U.S. clients- Is there any opposition to working with an international agency?
We are open to working with any talented agency, regardless of their location.
In total, how many applications do you expect will be considered?
Are there details you can share on who makes up the evaluation team?
Our evaluation team comprises members from our marketing and leadership teams. Their positions range from creative, digital, and communications roles.
Is there a page limit for responses?
Is there a specific time on September 7 that the proposal is due?
Proposals are due before 11:59 p.m. EST
Should our budget include the cost of the ad buys? Or should the budget focus solely on labor costs?
We prefer the initial response to focus solely on labor costs. There may be an additional scope where we will ask for more information on media expenses.
How would you like us to demonstrate the quality of our creative/content? Is it through prior work, or does Choose New Jersey want to see ideas for their campaign?
A combination of both. We will be evaluating current creative and content, and we will also request that agencies who are invited to an interview submit sample creative for evaluation.
Should our proposal include any engagement timelines? Is this proposal for an AOR relationship that’s expected to last for x years?
We seek an agency partner to support the organization and our advertising initiatives for several years. We must complete an RFP process due to organizational procedures and grant funding.
In the list of requested services, the RFP included the following language: “Create and execute the placement of all advertising assets.” In this context, what does placement refer to? Is media placement part of the services you’re looking for? Or is this more about the creative and production process?
For the scope of this RFP, the creative and production process is in collaboration with the media buying team.
When identifying sub-contractors in our response, does that include individual freelancers or agency partners?
Please include both.
Is your team only based in the U.S., or are there international representatives in the markets outlined that our team would engage?
If you have international representation – Would we be liaising with partners through your team in the U.S. – or will we just submit assets through your team, and someone else will activate?
Can you share learnings or metrics from previous/current campaigns?
2022 Marketing the State of Innovation campaign key metrics:
What is an example of successful media placement in the past year? What made it successful?
Our “This is New Jersey” assets performed higher than previous campaigns. This campaign aimed to be more specific in our targeting efforts, an example being film and media ads targeted to industry hotspots in Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. These ads performed above the benchmark and delivered a strong .49 CTR in May.
How do you measure/define conversions? What other KPIs will be used to determine success?
Impressions and engagement measure success; ultimately, our goal is to convert to leads for business attraction. Our KPIs include click-through rates, impressions, visitors to our website, form completions, email engagement, and goal conversion on Google Analytics.
We track a company’s progress through our customer funnel, which includes subscribers, prospects, MQLs, leads, opportunities, and wins.
Do you currently have other agencies that the bid-winning agency will work with, or are there expectations that the new agency will lead execution across the full range of channels for the campaign (e.g., media buying, CRM management, social media execution, public relations, etc.)?
Yes, the chosen agency will likely collaborate with existing and new agencies.
The “NBC Brand Spot” video link as part of the “Advertising Assets” page is not working. Can you provide an updated link?
Updated link: https://app.frame.io/presentations/b62a2c7e-dc88-4a7b-b330-51bdb66fe9b1
Are there campaigns from other states with similar objectives that you think of as the “gold standard”/that you’d like to emulate? (e.g., “Jobs Ohio”)
A few of our competitors have strong economic development campaigns, such as JobsOhio, Mastered in Tennessee, All Inclusive Boston, and Virginia. While those campaigns are impressive, we want to have more fun and balance between business attraction and quality of life in our campaign.
Within the Key Industries section – Are they listed in priority order? If not, can you please do so?
Here is the priority order for our Key Industries:
Is there any research you can share with us?
You can review the research insights from Q1 2023 here.
Based on the previous phase – is there prioritization of your media channels?
OOH, Digital, TV/streaming, and social are top priorities.
Is HubSpot currently being utilized in connection with this campaign? Who manages it?
HubSpot captures our lead generation forms, newsletter signups, and nurture newsletters. An agency that currently supports our digital strategy manages HubSpot, along with key members of our team.
Will the awarded agency manage HubSpot as part of this RFP?
The selected agency will manage campaign aspects in HubSpot and be granted privileges if awarded.
What is the timeframe for the campaign period?
The campaign will be ongoing in 2024.
We noticed the campaign media is scheduled to begin running in September. Is this the timing on which we should base our timeline, or will the campaign start date be moved out?
The campaign will be live during the RFP process.
Are you seeking an evolution of the “This is New Jersey” campaigns, or are you looking for new angles demonstrating the state’s quality of life?
We want to expand on the “This is New Jersey” theme with evolved messaging and creative variations.
Would the current “This Is New Jersey” website be re-skinned if the awarded agency develops a new look for the campaign? Would the agency have access to WordPress login to perform this?
Redesigning the “This is New Jersey” landing page will not be a priority, but we are open to evolving our digital presence. The chosen agency would have privileges for our website. Please note that choosenj.com will relaunched in Q4, and our SEO and SEM strategy content is directly tied to our main site.
What challenges have you had with the existing campaign that you hope to solve with a new campaign?
This is not a new campaign but will be a continuation of the “This is New Jersey” campaign. We want to continue to develop our asset library, including new video and social assets, and case studies/testimonials. Increase the marketing automation capabilities to convert more contacts for our business attraction goals.
Are there any brand guidelines we should adhere to (color palette, fonts, logo files, tone of voice, etc.), or is this something you are seeking the selected agency to develop?
An informal style guide can be found here. A formal, more detailed style guide is in development and will be shared with the selected agency.
Are you anticipating using some of the existing creative, or are you seeking all new work?
We anticipate using some existing creative as the messaging has not been exhausted yet. We plan to use existing creative for the September start of the campaign while new creative is in development.
Is there another agency handling the purchasing of TV, Radio, Podcast, Print, and Digital that is listed as currently in development? Will they bid on the services in this RFP, or do you intend to award them to another agency?
We currently work with a media agency. This RFP is specific to the strategic, digital, and creative needs of the campaign. Existing and prior vendors have also received and submitted questions for this RFP. Additional bidding on media may be considered if you would like to provide information on those services.
Is there a desired paid media split between national and international markets?
Approximately 60% U.S. and 40% international. This is subject to change.
Is the estimated 3.23M media buy for domestic and international markets?
The RFP states that $3.23 million in media is currently in development. Has this already been purchased? Will the awarded agency take over this buy OR supply creative support to support the buy?
There is an existing media agency overseeing the media buy. The selected agency will lead the advertising initiative and the creative and strategic planning by working with existing partners. Additional bidding on media may be considered at a later date if you would like to provide information on those services.
Is the $1.8 million in digital media additional to the $3.23 million original budget, or does the $3.23M have $1.8M allocated to digital media already? Will the incoming agency oversee this allocation?
The $1.8M digital allocation is a part of the $3.23M. There is a media agency in place that oversees this allocation currently, but the selected strategic partner will support this initiative as well.
Are you open to testing new media platforms other than those listed in the RFP? Relatedly, are there any media platforms you feel most strongly about maintaining?
Yes, we are open and encourage recommendations. We feel strongly about maintaining digital ads, OOH (including billboards and transit signs), and social media (top priority being LinkedIn). We are open to exploring various platform options, including expanding podcasts and streaming services.
Is the team open to expanding the social media buy to Instagram in addition to the LinkedIn platform?
Yes. Our previous campaign had a presence on four platforms, and our leads were the strongest on LinkedIn, but we are open to expanding on Meta and other platforms.
Apart from the detailed media spend, what is the budget range and cap for commission?
Any additional fees outside of the media buy would be separate.
Is there a specific percentage of the $10MM earmarked for this campaign?
Should our budget include the cost of the ad buys? Or should the budget focus solely on labor costs?
We prefer the initial response to focus solely on labor costs. There may be a second round where we ask to focus on media.
Can we assume that the budget for services like marketing automation, CRM, SEO, and photography/video production will lie outside of basic campaign costs (i.e., development and execution of advertising assets)?
We recommend that agencies provide an estimated budget for the services they recommend in their proposal. We are looking for a full-service agency to manage all the abovementioned aspects.
Is there a budget that is targeted for this engagement outside of the media buy?
Yes, we ask agencies to provide an estimated cost for the services they recommend in their proposal. We are looking for a full-service agency to manage all of these aspects listed in the RPF.
Have you allocated an all-in budget for this project (understanding the media portion is $1.8M) for agency hours, production costs, etc.?
Yes. The budget is allocated for production, consulting, and additional campaign needs.
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