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  1. You state that the Brand Assessment Period is slated before the commencement of the contract how does that work?

We plan to contract with a company that specializes in creating strategies and brands. They will guide our organization, community, and stakeholders through a process to identify brand positioning and identity and as a result provide long-term direction that identifies key differentiating characteristics, target audiences, a brand value and proposition that will resonate with those audiences both today and in the future. The research conducted for this project will lay an important foundation for the future success of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

This recommendation will help the selected agency and our organization utilize marketing, advertising, public relations and social media to consistently and accurately reinforce our destination’s character and message among our target audiences while also ensuring that our stakeholders do the same.

During the assessment period, it is very important to us that the selected agency be included. In regards to travel, a brand workshop will be conducted as well as an in destination meeting/site visit with our Customer Advisory Board. Each of these events will be 2-3 days in length. Everything else can be conducted through calls and email. This must all be done at the agency’s expense.


  1. Can you elaborate on the recent contracts signed with the brand creation and development firms The Resonance Company and The Kliman Group as well as the native advertising company Curiosity?
  • Resonance will conduct the Brand Assessment
  • The Kliman Group will provide consulting services for the creation, management and facilitation of a Customer Advisory Board
  • Curiosity is a Content Marketing vendor we will test this fiscal year


  1. Do you anticipate continuing to engage them once an agency is selected after this process is complete?  
  • Resonance – No
  • The Kliman Group – Yes
  • Curiosity – TBD based on results


  1. Tab 5 requests fees for administration and execution of approved advertising concepts. Could you clarify that during the brand assessment period the agency is expected to develop the approved advertising concept without compensation?

The selected agency’s level of involvement during the brand assessment period is as a participant and will not be expected to provide any advertising concepts or strategies. Once under contract when creative concepts are presented to our organization for approval, of course the agency will be compensated.



  1. The RFP indicates a $1.8 million budget for media. What is the budget for creative production of the new campaign? This will help us to ensure the concept presented could be realistically produced within that budget.

            The budget for creative production of the new campaign has not been determined.

  1. A media budget of $1.8 million is referenced in the RFP. So that we can best prepare appropriate cost/fee structures, what is the remainder of the working advertising budget, exclusive of staff/operating costs?

Our AOR manages the $1.8M we currently have budgeted in advertising. There are no additional advertising dollars placed or managed by our organization. There are additional expenses that are included in our overall marketing budget. See question number 4 below.

  1. What percent of the working advertising budget do you anticipate using for meetings and convention business vs. leisure travel business?

We would like to see the split be 70% leisure and 30% meetings. Ultimately, placement will be based on recommendation from selected agency, VMGC input and board approval.

  1. What is your marketing budget compared to the overall VMGC operating budget?

For fiscal year 17-18, our overall budget is 4.6M and marketing is 57% of the total. That percentage does not include personnel.

  1. How is your media budget divided?

Our current media budget is divided in the following way:

  • Native/Content – 11%
  • Digital – 30%
  • Search – 12%
  • Social – 19%
  • Print – 4%
  • Television – 24%



  1. Tab 5: Retainer Fee – are you asking for a proposed fee, or simply the elements that would be included in a retainer?

Please include proposed fees, rates, commission rate and policy and any other costs. As well as all components included in the monthly retainer fee.

  1. Do you have a preference if account service and creative fees are included as part of the Retainer Fee proposal?

           We prefer account service and creative fees be included as part of the Retainer Fee.

  1. Does your current agency bill media at net or commission?


  1. Can you share what your previous agency spend (fees & production) has been in addition to the $1.8 media budget?

Agency spend this past fiscal year for retainer fees, production & services was approximately $260,000.

  1. Does $1.8 million include fees?

The $1.8M current budget includes media placement, agency commission, and ad serving fees.



  1. In Tab 4, can you please clarify what you are expecting for the "Creative Concept"?
    1. Do you mean the "Big Idea"?


    2. How far do you want us to take concepts showing how the idea comes to life?

It is up to each agency to decide.

  1. Just looking for a little more direction regarding your expectations.

We are looking for an agency with the resources, research and creative capabilities in place. By providing a recent campaign and proposing a main concept or recommendation for us, we will be in a position to assess each agency’s creativity and capabilities.

  1. Tab 4 asks the agency to “Include a creative concept that represents your strategy.” Can you elaborate more on what you might be looking for, given the new brand development work that would provide the foundation for a new campaign that has not yet taken place?

By proposing a main concept or recommendation for us, we will be in a position to assess each agency’s creativity and capabilities.

  1. If so, could you describe how the agency will be judged on this strategy and concept?

We are looking for an agency with the resources, research and creative capabilities in place. By providing a recent campaign and proposing a main concept or recommendation for us, we will be in a position to assess each agency’s creativity and capabilities.



  1. To be clear, the Evaluation Process and Criteria is taking into consideration things that were in the RFQ, but don't seem to be requested within the 5 tabs of the RFP. Do we need to resubmit and expand agency background, experience, strategic planning, account services, creative development and innovation?

It is not required to submit this information again. Each agency is allowed to submit a recap if they so choose.

  1. It appears that you want us to use one AOR client for each of the Tabs and not demonstrate specific work across multiple clients, is that correct?

That is correct. You should select one previous campaign and reference it throughout each section of the proposal.

  1. We have some clients that are more leisure focused and others that we support with meetings primarily, so we want to be sure we're demonstrating our best relevant work.

            That is acceptable.           



Understanding that we are not allowed to contact them during this process, who are the individual members of the agency selection committee?

The selection committee is a special committee comprised of members of our Board as well as the CEO and Director of Marketing.



  1. We wanted to confirm that the date for the Finalists Presentations is May 22nd since it happens to be during the IPW Conference in Denver. Thank you.

            Due to our agressive timeline, we must keep the schedule as published.

  1. Are we required to submit our Presentation along with the RFP response? Or, can we develop this once you've made the decision regarding who you want to meet in-person?

Only proposals are to be submitted by the deadline provided. After the selection committee evaluates, all agencies will be notified if they are a finalist and will be required to conduct a presentation on the 22nd of May.

  1. How many agencies received the RFP?

            There were eight agencies that received the RFP.

  1. Can you provide a list of all your current outside marketing related partners VMGC outsources too (even if it's just the type of service)?

            Our AOR manages all media buys. VMGC has the following marketing related partners:

  • Simpleview
  • DTN
  • aRes
  • Emma
  • Cision
  • Meltwater
  • CrowdRiff (upcoming)
  • Cvent
  1. Your research states young adults and mature adults as part of your key leisure demographic. Can you speak into where families play into your current visitor mix and your ideals as to how that mix should evolve?

            This is one of the opportunities we would like to explore.

  1. To confirm, is your expectation that the oral presentations on 5/22 are in-person?


  1. Who is on the board of commissioners?

Bill Holmes, President

Danny Hansen, Vice-President

Richard Chenoweth, Treasurer

Nikki Moon, Secretary

John Carter

Rusty David

Kim Fritz

Richard Marsh

LuAnn Pappas

Mary Spain

Carla Todd

Clay Wagner

Myron Webb

Rich Westfall

Dan Wittmann

  1. Is there a page limit?

            There is no page limit. Please submit proposal on 8.5x11 paper.

  1. Tab two, question seven says "Limit to one page." Is this referring to the whole section or just that particular question?

            Please limit your response to one page ONLY on Tab one, question seven.

  1. Are tabs one, two and three all referring to the same campaign?