Become a Prequalified Marketing Vendor
If you are a marketing professional interested in doing project work for state government, we’d like to hear from you. The Chief Marketing Office maintains a list of Prequalified Marketing Vendors for marketing and creative services.
A prequalified vendor is one who has been determined to be professionally competent to perform a type of work that is routinely put out to bid. Prequalification of marketing vendors allows the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to ensure a consistent level of quality and provides a mechanism for the proper oversight of marketing expenditures. Approved vendors will be included on the list of Prequalified Marketing Vendors for marketing and creative services, which provides basic contact information and approved service categories for review by state agencies / departments and the general public. This summary of firms is updated monthly. Approved vendors may bid on State RFP’s or other types of requests for bid or quotation for marketing services in the service categories they have been approved. Marketing firms can apply to be prequalified in one or more of the service categories listed below. Both businesses and individuals (sole proprietors or consultants) can apply for prequalification.
Prequalification of a vendor does not guarantee any level of business from the State of Vermont. Prequalified vendors are required to follow the applicable bidding processes as outlined by the Secretary of Administration in Bulletin No. 3.5 Procurement and Contracting Procedures (aoa.Vermont.gov/bulletins/3point5).
Service categories are the types of marketing services that a vendor is determined to be qualified to bid and will be given for any one or combination of the following types of work:
Broadcast / Video Production
Capturing moving images and manipulating raw footage into a creative video product. Includes pre-production (conceptualizing the idea and writing a script), production (actual shooting or recording) and post-production (video editing, sound editing, adding titles, etc.). This category does NOT include media buying of air time or placement of broadcast spots.
Copywriting / Editing
Implementing the creative concept into headlines, scripts and body copy. Reviewing materials for accuracy (usually to a source document provided by client) and style (according to purpose and client industry norms, such as The Associated Press Stylebook).
Creative / Concept Development
Develop the strategic platform for campaign concepts, including creative execution. Develop overall look/feel/tone of overarching brand.
Develop the content and visual strategy for online communication channels such as websites, including information architecture, user experience, content audits, taxonomy, keyword analysis, search engine optimization, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. May include tactics such as paid search marketing, digital advertising, social media content strategy and email marketing.
Event / Sponsorship Marketing
Plan and execute sponsorships and on-site engagement activities at events, trade shows or other venues. Related tactics may include branding or naming opportunities, personality endorsements, contests and promotions, and on-site logistics and representation, as well as integrated on-air, digital and social media campaigns to support audience activation.
Implementation of a creative concept into all visual materials. May include layout and design of ads / collateral / visual materials, illustration, photo selection and supervising photo shoots.
Conducting qualitative or quantitative research to inform the development of branding or marketing materials, and conducting the analysis of that data and recommendations/conclusions. May include public engagement planning, focus groups, polls or surveys.
Market Strategy / Planning
Prepare marketing plans that define specific actions, budgets and timelines. May include identification of target audiences, strategic positioning, brand planning, competitive market assessments, prioritization of tactics, and development of performance metrics.
Media Planning / Buying
Develop strategic plans for media purchases. May include research, use of in-house and outside research tools, competitive analysis, and post-buy analysis / reconciliation, as well as negotiating, placing and shepherding the media buys.
Outreach / Public Relations
Develop and write public relations plans and strategies. May include generating targeted publicity, writing press releases, coordinating special events and media tours, and conducting communication audits.
Photography services / image processing to include set-up, arrangement, lighting, and necessary preparation for photo shoots or events and post-production processing of images.
Marketing vendors desiring to provide marketing services to state entities must be prequalified. Both in-state and out-of-state businesses and individuals (consultants and sole proprietors) can apply. Applicants can submit a complete Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors at any time to the Chief Marketing Office. The information provided will be used to determine the vendor’s status for prequalification of requested service categories.
When an application is received, an initial review will occur to check for completeness and reasons for immediate denial. For more information, see the Criteria for Prequalification section below, which also includes Denial, Reduction or Revocation of Prequalified Status details. If the Chief Marketing Office is not satisfied with the information provided in the application, additional information or clarification may be requested. The vendor will have 30 days from the date of notification to respond to the request, after which the initial application will be rejected and a new application will have to be submitted.
Applications are considered “submitted” when all forms, including the Submittal Checklist and Attestations, have been completed and received by the Chief Marketing Office.
Notice of Substantial Changes. Every vendor shall notify the CMO immediately of any changes in their business that alter the information supplied in their most recently filed application. Failure to do so may result in loss of status.
The criteria for evaluation and prequalification are the same for renewal as for initial prequalification. To renew, vendors must submit a complete NEW Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors. The date of submission should be at least five (5) business days prior to the expiration date of the current status to avoid a gap in status. Prequalification status is approved for a three-year term, on a quarterly basis. Expiration dates will be timed to occur on the last business day of the quarter.
A vendor must renew its prequalification status every three (3) years.
Revision Application of Approved Service Categories
A vendor may submit a request to revise its prequalification status at any time in order to add or remove a service category. A revision application must include an updated Signature Page, Application Questionnaire, and the minimum two (2) project/work samples for each new service category that detail experience and ability to perform work (e.g. additional expertise added to staff).
Effect on Bid Process. A request for revision, like initial prequalification, is separate and distinct from the bidding process and will neither affect nor stay the bidding process for any advertised contract(s).
Time Limitations for Submitting Applications During an Open RFP
Applications for initial, renewal or revision of prequalification status must be submitted to the Chief Marketing Office according to the submission schedule outlined in the RFP the vendor wishes to submit a bid for, or a minimum of three (3) business days prior to the scheduled RFP closing date. Prequalification status is required to be fully approved before a contract resulting from an RFP can be executed.
Number of Years in Business
The vendor must be in business in a marketing related field for a minimum of one (1) year. Time spent in business under another business name may be included if the business was engaged in marketing services during that time.
Experience and References
For all applications (initial, renewal or revision), provide a minimum of two (2) work samples completed within the last three (3) years for each service category selected in item 9 of the Application Questionnaire on page 4, for clients other than just the State of Vermont, that exhibit experience in the service category(ies) being applied for.
Work samples provided must have been completed by the applicant business entity. Samples completed as an employee, for your own business, or as a student in an educational/internship setting do not fulfill this requirement.
One sample can be used for more than one service category, as long as the accompanying evidence demonstrates the skills, experience and capabilities of the business in each service category.
Project references and reference contact information is used only by the Chief Marketing Office and is not made available to other State of Vermont agencies or the public. References must provide a satisfactory rating of their experience with the vendor. One unsatisfactory review from a reference is grounds for denial.
For initial, renewal, and revision Prequalification Applications, applicants may use the State of Vermont as only one (1) project reference out of the minimum of two (2) required per service category.
Ability to Meet State Standard Contract Provisions
The vendor must be able to meet all State of Vermont standard contract provisions as outlined in Attachment C: Standard State Provisions for Contracts and Grants, Revised December 15, 2017. As part of their application, the vendor must submit a signed Acknowledgment of the State’s Standard Contract Provisions, page 8 of the Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors.
Business Registration with the Vermont Secretary of State or State of Residence
A vendor must be registered to conduct business with the Vermont Secretary of State or with the state in which they reside, and attest to being in active status [has filed its annual report].
Out-of-state vendors are welcome to register to conduct business with the Vermont Secretary of State, but are not required to do so to submit a Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors; however, they must be registered as a business entity with their state of residence. Note that all vendors (in-state and out-of-state) must be registered with the Vermont Secretary of State to conduct business before signing a contract. For more information on registering in Vermont, visit: sos.vermont.gov/corporations/registration.
Vendors do not need to submit documentation of business registration with the Vermont Secretary of State or their state of residence.
Good Standing with the Vermont Department of Taxes
A vendor must acknowledge having read item 16. Taxes Due to the State of Attachment C: Standard State Provisions for Contracts and Grants, Revised December 15, 2017.
Denial, Reduction or Revocation of Prequalified Status
A vendor’s prequalified status may be denied or revoked based on the inability to meet the Criteria for Prequalification or if any of the following occurs:
- More than one (1) bid submitted for the same contract from an entity under the same or different names.
- Evidence of collusion with another vendor.
- Less than satisfactory performance on work for the State of Vermont. Unsatisfactory performance shall include, but not be limited to, lack of timeliness in performing work, inferior or inadequate quality of work performed or materials provided, and/or violations of terms of a contract.
- Uncompleted work in progress, which may be further delayed or which may hinder or prevent the timely completion of additional work if awarded.
- Deceptive, evasive, or untrue statements on the Prequalification Application, including any attachments; on a Request for Proposal form; or any other submission to the State of Vermont in support of a vendor’s prequalification status.
- Unreasonable refusal to resolve outstanding issues concerning State of Vermont contracts.
- Failure to meet or follow established State of Vermont standards and policies related to the work being performed.
- Insolvency, bankruptcy, or commission of an act of insolvency or bankruptcy.
Applicants must complete and submit the entire Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors, including the Submittal Checklist and Attestations confirming:
- Business Registration with Vermont Secretary of State or State of Residence
- Number of Years in Business
- A Signed Acknowledgment of Attachment C: Standard State Provisions for Contracts and Grants, page 8, is included with the submission, calling specific attention to review of:
- Item 8. Insurance
- Item 16. Taxes Due to the State
We review the application materials and contact your references via email with a few simple questions about their satisfaction with your work. Usually within 4-6 weeks of your submitting your application, you’ll receive a decision letter. If you have been approved for prequalification, your basic contact information will be included in our list of Prequalified Marketing Vendors, that is available for review by any state agency or department and the general public.
Prequalification through the CMO is a requirement for all firms that wish to bid and contract for marketing work with the State of Vermont for contracts over $25,000 in value. Prequalification status lasts for three years. The process to renew prequalification status is the same as the initial prequalification process. Vendors located both within and outside of Vermont are eligible for prequalification.
An electronic copy of the complete Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors and any attachments is required to be submitted via email to Marketing@Vermont.gov.
Applications and supporting visuals may only be submitted as email attachments and are not to exceed a combined files size of 15 MB. Submissions via file storage and transfer services are discouraged. Web based work samples with direct URLs are encouraged, as long as no software download or account registration is required.
Hard copy application submissions are no longer accepted.
DO NOT submit proposals with an application. Submit only the completed Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors.
DO NOT submit proposal related questions to the Chief Marketing Office. The Marketing Vendor Prequalification Program is separate from any State of Vermont RFP/Bid. The Chief Marketing Office is not permitted to answer questions pertaining RFPs/Bids, including the Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors submittal deadline and acceptance requirements. Applicants are advised to seek clarification with the issuing Agency/Department, as per the instructions outlined in the RFP/Bid.