Cessation: Marketing Services RFP - Tobacco Prevention and Control - Minnesota Department of Health

Request for Proposals for Marketing Services

The Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH” or the State) requests proposals for a contractor to develop and manage a brand identity for new statewide tobacco cessation services, as well as a promotional campaign to raise awareness of the new services and encourage its use among Minnesotans who use tobacco products, as authorized by Minnesota Statute 144.397: Statewide Tobacco Cessation Services. The 2019 Minnesota Legislature dedicated funding for the implementation of statewide tobacco cessation services to offer Minnesotans help in quitting commercial tobacco use.

Key Dates

10/14/2019 Marketing Services RFP posted
10/21/2019 Notice of Intent due by 4:00 p.m. Central Time
10/22/2019 Questions and answers posted
10/25/2019 Last day to submit RFP questions
10/29/2019 Questions and answers posted
11/13/2019 Proposals due by 4:00 p.m. Central Time
Week of 12/9/2019 Anticipated completion of proposal evaluation

Background Information

Questions and Answers

Prospective responders are encouraged to contact the MDH with questions. Email RFP questions to tobacco@state.mn.us. The email subject line should include “Marketing Services RFP Question”. Questions may only be sent to the above email address; responders cannot submit questions via phone, U.S. mail, nor fax.

The last day questions should be submitted is Friday, October 25, 2019, at 4:00 pm Central Time. All questions and answers will be posted publicly on this webpage, which will be updated on Tuesday, October 22, and Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

Individual MDH staff are not authorized to discuss this RFP with any potential responders before the submission deadline. Contacting, or attempting to contact, anyone at MDH regarding this RFP other than through the above email address may result in disqualification.

Note: We are still working on responses to some questions. Please check back daily for new questions and answers.

Scope of Work

Posted 10/22/2019

Under the Scope of Work section 2.5, it sounds like a decision will be made (after market research, focus groups, etc.) as to whether to move forward with QUITPLAN branding or new branding. Who are the stakeholders who will be responsible for this go/no go decision? How much time do you anticipate needing for internal/leadership review in order to make this decision, knowing that the project begins 1/1 and needs to launch 4/1?

Decisions on branding will be made by leadership at the Minnesota Department of Health. MDH anticipates up to 2-3 weeks for review before a final decision would be made.

Who is building out the new MDH website? Is that part of the RFP or do you have another partner involved in web development?

MDH expects the responder to build the website for the new statewide tobacco cessation services.

Posted 10/29/2019

Are there any technical or platform requirements for the website (besides the accessibility WCAG 2.0 AA compliance)? For example, does the website need to be built using a specific web content management system/platform or is it up to the selected contractor? Are there any hosting requirements?

No.

For social media channels that will likely be a part of our recommendation, should we assume that we will be creating net-new social accounts for this campaign and providing ongoing social strategy and community management recommendations?

Yes.

Should this scope include a transition plan from QUITPLAN to the new campaign? i.e. website, hotline, text message redirects?

Our goal is to provide seamless services to the users. We do expect responders to include work plan activities to address this transition. MDH will work with the contractor to finalize these activities in coordination with ClearWay Minnesota.

Will all materials require translations into multiple languages? If so, which languages and should be included as part of the scope?

This will depend on which audiences our future campaign targets.

To what extent would events and community outreach be expected as part of the new campaign?

This will be determined at the time of contract finalization.

Please clarify: Are you mandating a full/complete April 1, 2020 in-market launch of a potential new brand, campaign and all related assets (with research) when the new services are first offered?

By April 1, new services will launch and a brand must be established.

Please clarify: Are you mandating a full/complete April 1, 2020 in-market launch of a potential new campaign and all related assets (with research) if to leverage the QUITPLAN Services brand when the new services are first offered?

By April 1, new services will launch and a brand must be established.

Is the translation of select materials into non-English languages to be included in the cost proposal? Or will translation services be provided and executed by MDH or another partner?

This will depend on which audiences our future campaign targets.

Is there something specific driving your consideration for a complete rebrand from where you are?

ClearWay Minnesota, the organization that funds and runs QUITPLAN Services, is a life limited organization and will close by 2022. As such, all of ClearWay Minnesota’s programs will end.

Posted 11/5/2019

Will the scope of work need to include either branding (styling) or the creation of the new cessation services mentioned (email program, text messaging program, quit guide, starter kits)?

The scope of work does not include the creation of these services.

Do you have an in-house team that would leverage the starter framework to develop customized/on-going messaging that we should consider while developing a concept/campaign for the mock product? Or is it assume/preferred that agency partner handle everything A-to-Z?

Messages will be developed in collaboration and partnership with MDH.

What agency activities do you envision commencing during the two to three month “startup period”/before April 1 (research/immersion/onboarding, etc.).

MDH anticipates the startup period to include all activities to establish and implement a brand identify for the new statewide cessation services.

Funding

Posted 10/29/2019

Is it MDH’s expectation that the $2.15M budget be equally divided among the first two years?

No.

What are the anticipated marketing campaign funding levels after the first two years?

Funding levels after the first two years are yet to be determined.

Mandatory Requirements and Eligibility

Posted 10/22/2019

"Experience developing social marketing public health campaigns" is listed as a mandatory qualification. Is it sufficient if an agency has done social media campaigns on behalf of health industry clients? Or is it required that it be a public health campaign specifically?

Responders must have experience developing social marketing public health campaigns.

Posted 10/23/2019

Is it acceptable to hire subcontractors to help with some of the more executional elements (with the lead agency's oversight and creative direction)? If so, must we disclose those potential partners in the RFP response? Do subcontractors need to meet the same minimum requirements?

Yes, responders may subcontract work under this contract. There are currently no restrictions for using subcontractors, however, one firm must apply as the principle and is responsible for meeting the applicable requirements outlined in the RFP and for the contents of the proposal.

Potential subcontractors do not need to be disclosed in your proposal.

Posted 10/29/2019

To what extent does the agency prefer a local firm? Would they be open to a prime contractor outside of Minnesota with local subcontract partners?

The State prefers a responder who:

  • Is accessible and available to meet in person regularly at the MDH office during the course of this contract;
  • Has worked on a social marketing campaign in Minnesota;
  • Has knowledge of Minnesota audiences;
  • Is based in Minnesota;

Posted 10/30/2019

Do we need to be registered to do business in MN prior to submitting an application? Or only if awarded?

You do not need to be registered to submit a proposal, however, you will need to be registered as a supplier in SWIFT in order to be awarded a contract. The SWIFT supplier portal is located here: https://supplier.swift.state.mn.us/psp/fmssupap/SUPPLIER/ERP/h/?tab=SUP_GUEST. Additional vendor resources can be found here: https://mn.gov/mmb/accounting/swift/vendor-resources/.

Could you please clarify on p.26 the MN Resident Vendor Form, is it possible for the vendor to be authorized to conduct business in Minnesota by the date the proposal is submitted if a vendor was not fully registered by the date the contract was first advertised?

It is possible, but the process may take a few days. Please refer to above question for more information.

We are interested in submitting a proposal. We missed the deadline to submit our letter of intent. Is this a requirement, and if so would you give us an extension to submit it?

While prospective responders are strongly encouraged to submit a Notice of Intent, a Notice of Intent is not a mandatory requirement of this RFP. This means that a proposal may still be considered even if the responder did not submit a Notice of Intent; likewise, a responder is not obligated to submit a proposal just because they submitted a Notice of Intent.

Proposal Content

Posted 10/22/2019

For Appendix B (Cost Proposal) - are you open to alternate compensation models, specifically deliverables-based fixed fees (rather than hourly rate cards)?

Yes.

For Appendix H (Commercial Tobacco-Free Organizational Commitment) - can you clarify that when we certify our "workplace is commercial tobacco free" does this mean that no smoking is allowed on our premises, or does it also extend to a commitment that no staff of our company use tobacco products? Is there a description of what this commitment entails and how to ensure compliance (posted signs, etc.) that could be shared?

Workplace generally refers to indoor areas of the organization. Per the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking cigarettes and e-cigarette or vape use is prohibited in virtually all indoor public places and indoor places of employment. An organization located in Minnesota would already have this covered by law.

A company policy that includes outdoor areas, other restrictions, or specific compliance measures are not required as part of this application.

Can you please confirm that the Strategic Assignment (listed under the Proposal Content section of the RFP as item #9) is not to be included in any way within the proposal document due on November 13th?

Correct. Only finalists will be required to present on their strategic assignment. Finalists will be notified if they will be invited to present, and presentations will be on December 6, 2019.

Can we provide a link to share collateral and work samples?

No. Collateral and work samples should be provided in an appendix to the proposal.

Could you clarify – is the cost proposal a separate document from the 7 copies of the response? I.e., – cost is not be discussed in the full proposal?

Correct. One copy of the Cost Proposal should be submitted, separate from the rest of the proposal content, in a sealed enveloped clearly marked “Cost Proposal” on the outside, along with the organization’s name.

Posted 10/29/2019

Regarding Appendix D: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, is the request that responder answer compliance in relation to “Scope of Work” (agency services + communications) as outlined on Pgs 4-6 of RFP? Or is the request to answer questions in relation to any potential future web content (end deliverables) as outlined under applicable components of Brand Identity (2.5) and Campaign (3.2)? Can you provide more clarity please?

Compliance to accessibility standards would apply to all deliverables, including anything outlined in the “Scope of Work” and all future web content, materials, videos or other media content.

Posted 11/5/2019

For the strategic assignment, are you expecting to see creative concepts/executions as part of "creative strategy"?

For the Strategic Assignment Presentation, responders are asked to provide strategic direction for creating a marketing campaign to leverage the change (outline in the Strategic Assignment Scoping Document – Appendix E) to promote tobacco cessation services.

Proposal Instructions

Posted 10/22/2019

Are the required appendix information and certification forms considered in addition to the 30-page limit?

No. Appendix information and certification forms are not included in proposal content page limit.

Proposal Evaluation

Posted 10/29/2019

Who are the key decision makers in this process?

Minnesota Department of Health Representatives.

What MDH departments or teams will be represented at the Step 3 in-person interview and presentation?

MDH will have representatives from across the agency, as appropriate.

How many agencies will move on to the presentation stage?

The number of finalists will be determined after Step 2 of the evaluation process is completed.

Once a contractor is selected, beyond needing up to five days to complete reviews (as noted within the RFP on page 4), what does the review and approval process look like? Are there other entities or organizations that will have to weigh in with feedback/approval beyond MDH?

The Minnesota Department of Administration will also review the professional and technical contract.

Can you share the estimated # of agencies you will select for the December in-person presentation?

The number of agencies selected for an in-person presentation will be determined after Step 2 of the evaluation process is completed.

For the final presentations on December 6, will you be assigning specific presentation times for each agency? Is there any flexibility in the format or times assigned to each agenda item?

Yes, but this schedule will be determined after Step 2 of the proposal evaluation process is completed.

Posted 11/5/2019

How many members from your team will be evaluating agencies?

The number of team members is yet to be determined. MDH staff will be involved in the review of the proposals.

How frequently do you conduct research? What topics are researched? Will key learning be provided for the final presentation (for those agencies that make it through )?

MDH administers a number of surveys to collect data on tobacco use among Minnesotans. More information on these surveys and their findings can be found at www.health.mn.gov/tobaccodata.

QUITPLAN® Services

Posted 10/29/2019

Is Quit Plan being retired/evolved due to a funding change? Performance? What prompted the timing of this exercise?

ClearWay Minnesota, the organization that funds and runs QUITPLAN Services, is a life limited organization and will close by 2022. As such, all of ClearWay Minnesota’s programs will end.

Posted 10/30/2019

What, if any, other marketing activities are currently being done to support the QUITPLAN® tobacco cessation services? Event marketing, sponsorships, etc.

Answer from ClearWay Minnesota: “We have dialed back most of our other marketing activities with the reduction of our budget. We did not have our State Fair booth this year, nor are we doing any other events. We don’t have any sponsorships currently. Our media is limited to paid – mostly digital/social media at this point and earned media. In the past, we have participated in a number of events – State Fair, Pride, Juneteenth, Women’s expo, Kick Butts Day and Great American Smokeout with booths, street teams and sponsorship.”

Have there been any QUITPLAN® direct response campaigns implemented to date - in any media channel/type?

Answer from ClearWay Minnesota: “We have executed direct mail outreach in the past, but it was a while ago. And, we’ve used email outreach especially with our QuitCash Challenge and Mini Quit Monday contests.”

What has been the most successful/most effective QUITPLAN® campaign in the past?

Answer from ClearWay Minnesota: “We can’t really call out just one campaign as the “most successful” because all campaigns need to evolve and change, and wearout happens regardless. Each of our campaigns has been informed by research and used best practices for implementation. In addition, the amount of paid media amount has a big effect on how campaigns affect volumes.”

What were the original key performance indicators and results of the No Judgments, Just Help campaign? Specifically, who used the services as a result of the marketing effort?

Answer from ClearWay Minnesota: “While we don’t have specific demographic data on who used services following the launch of the No Judgments, Just Help campaign, we did see a big and sustained increase in volumes after the launch. However, the campaign was timed with the revamp of our QUITPLAN Services delivery model that included new tools and a more streamlined process. These factors combined to produce big increases in our volumes.”

Will MDH share research findings and insights that led to the current QUITPLAN campaign?

Answer from ClearWay Minnesota: “The quick summary is that we conducted focus groups with tobacco users from around the state and found that they already knew the reasons to quit and already felt shamed for smoking. They didn’t want lectures or warnings or scare tactics, but info and support on how to quit.”

Many of the examples provided seem to be for the New Jersey State Department of Health. Was the current campaign part of a broader, national effort, or was it unique for Minnesota?

Answer from ClearWay Minnesota: “The current campaign was created just for QUITPLAN Services and unique to Minnesota. However, we did submit the campaign to the MCRC and several other states have used the No Judgments, Just Help campaign for their own cessation programs.”

What was the CDC’s role in the No Judgments, Just Help campaign?

Answer from ClearWay Minnesota: “The CDC did not have a role in developing the campaign.”

What is the current paid media plan? Does it run longer than the March 31, 2019 QUITPLAN® enrollment deadline? Are there any existing relationships you’d like to continue?

The current media plan will not run past March 2020. The current campaign is focused on digital/social media with print, OOH and SEO included. Any existing media relationships should be used at the discretion and expertise of the new marketing vendor.

Other

Posted 10/22/2019

Are the services to be provided by MDH similar to existing QUITPLAN® Services? Will the end user notice a difference?

MDH anticipates offering a level of cessation services similar to those currently provided through QUITPLAN® Services. See the Sample Tasks section in the Request for Proposals for Cessation Services to reference the types of services expected.

As of now, MDH would expect little noticeable differences in the participants’ experience; however, the Cessation Services Contractor has not been selected yet and cessation service offerings may be adjusted during contract negotiations and over time.

Who is eligible for MDH services and is that different than who is eligible for QUITPLAN® Services?

MDH anticipates offering a level of cessation services similar to those currently provided through QUITPLAN® Services, with similar eligibility criteria. MDH expects to offer a suite of services, with the primary focus to be on populations that do not have access to other cessation services, such as telephone counseling or medications, through their health insurance or who are uninsured.

Applicants can reference the Request for Proposals for Cessation Services for additional details on eligibility criteria.

As Clearway sunsets, will there be any sharing of assets?

Yes. Creative assets will be shared and many are already available in the CDC’s Media Campaign Resource Center.

Are there other existing state and national campaigns you find particularly effective?

Notable campaigns include QUITPLAN® Services’ No Judgments. Just Help. campaign, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ Tips from Former Smokers campaign.

Posted 10/30/2019

What practices have been in place to date for evaluating a campaign’s effectiveness, including impact on diverse target audiences?

MDH does not currently operate tobacco cessation promotional campaigns.

Are there any current media partnerships we should be aware of and/or you anticipate will continue?

None that would apply at this time.

Who do you view as competitors? Why?

None that we are aware of at this time.

Does MDH have any formal or informal partnerships with any public health advocacy organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Truth Campaign or This Free Life?

Yes. MDH works in collaboration with these partners.

Will there be an American Indian-specific version of the quitline (as QUITPLAN Services has now)? If so, would any marketing support for this separate quitline come from the same as-noted budget?

Yes, and yes.

Any channels/tactics that are completely RED Tape for your team? Why/what about them didn’t work?

None that we are aware of at this time. All restrictions will be detailed in the contract.

When considering marketing, are there any requirements for equal presence/spend across the state? Or can it be geo-targeted?

Marketing can be geo-targeted.

What defines someone as "under-insured"?

A person who is “under-insured” does not have cessation services, such as counseling or medication, covered by their health insurance plan.

Is there any specific focus or priority within the income, race and other defined targets for volume of tobacco use? For instance, would there be any focus on higher volume users vs lower volume users?

MDH will strive to better meet the needs of populations most disparately impacted to close current disparity gaps

As a state department, do you get any pro bono media placement?

None that we are aware of at this time.

What would you define as “the” differentiator for the Quit Plan offering vs. other free cessation programs?

MDH anticipates offering a level of cessation services similar to those currently provided through QUITPLAN® Services.

Are certain populations or types of people more or less successful at quitting?

Tobacco use is an addiction and quitting is hard, there are not certain populations or types of people that are more or less successful.

Are there certain populations that tend to be more or less attracted to smoking cessation programs than others?

Tobacco use is an addiction and quitting is hard, there are not certain populations or types of people that are more or less likely to use smoking cessation programs.

Can you confirm how many agencies have submitted an Intent to Submit for the selection process?

As of 10/29/2019, MDH received 16 notices of intent.

Will the Incumbent agency (for Clearway) be participating?

Information about the incumbent vendor is not relevant to this RFP. Responders are encouraged to submit a proposal if they meet the qualifications/criteria of the RFP and can offer the requested services to fulfill the State’s needs.

Are there any issues with the current Clearway agency in terms of performance or relationship, or is the review being conducted solely because of contractual considerations?

ClearWay Minnesota, the organization that funds and runs QUITPLAN Services, is a life limited organization and will close by 2022. As such, all of ClearWay Minnesota’s programs will end.

How are you measuring the 2% Quitline reach? Can you define reach?

The 2% quitline reach is treatment reach. Treatment reach is defined as “the number in the target population who received quitline evidence-based treatment divided by the number in the total target population.” “Evidence-based treatment” is defined as counseling alone, cessation medications alone, or the combination of counseling and cessation medications.

How do you define ‘quit attempts?’

An attempt to stop smoking or using any other form of tobacco that lasted 24 hours or longer is considered a “quit attempt”.

Are there examples of other cessation initiatives or messages (state-level, Truth, etc.) that you admire or would like us to be aware of? Any best-in-class campaigns?

Notable campaigns include QUITPLAN® Services’ No Judgments. Just Help. campaign, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ Tips from Former Smokers. campaign.

Posted 11/5/2019

What types of research and data analytics are currently being used to optimize your campaigns; including paid, earned and owned media?

MDH administers a number of surveys to collect data on tobacco use among Minnesotans. More information on these surveys and their findings can be found at www.health.mn.gov/tobaccodata.

The consumer section in the MN Adult Tobacco Survey focuses on demographics. Do you have access to any additional audience segmentation/journeys that incorporate psychographics; mindset, attitudes, needs/wants and frustrations?

A small number of psychographic and attitude questions were included on the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey. To learn more, read the full report at http://clearwaymn.org/mats/reports/.

Help us understand what is meant by the contract period including a 2-3 month start up service before the launch of services – what does that mean in terms of budget implications? For example, would ramp up time be expected to be agency investment?

MDH anticipates the startup period to include all activities to establish and implement a brand identify for the new statewide cessation services. New statewide tobacco cessation services will begin enrolling new participants starting April 1, 2020.

There is a 2-3 month startup period before services to launch in April. Does that mean the campaign would launch in April 2020?

MDH anticipates the startup period to include all activities to establish and implement a brand identify for the new statewide cessation services. New statewide tobacco cessation services will begin enrolling new participants starting April 1, 2020.

What other organizations do you admire for their cessation campaigns or similar types of work?

Notable campaigns include QUITPLAN® Services’ No Judgments. Just Help. campaign, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ Tips from Former Smokers. campaign.

Is there an opportunity for the selected partner to influence the actual product/services?

No specific opportunity is identified at this time. However it is expected the selected responder will work in collaboration with both MDH and the Cessation Services Contractor (to be determined).

Responders are also encouraged to propose additional tasks or activities that may fall out of scope if they will substantially improve the results of the project.

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Updated Friday, 08-Nov-2019 16:05:09 CST