Contracting for Marketing and Creative Services
The Chief Marketing Office manages marketing contracts and oversees a program to verify and approve marketing firms interested in working with State entities. By managing marketing contracts and the prequalified vendor program, the CMO ensures state funds are used appropriately in marketing and promotional activities.
If you’re planning a marketing or outreach project, contact the Chief Marketing Office. Depending on your project, the Chief Marketing Office may be able to support you internally with graphic design, strategic planning or other services, or the CMO may suggest that you hire either a Marketing Master Contractor or a Prequalified Marketing Vendor. After you contact the CMO, follow the steps below to solicit marketing proposals and execute a marketing contract.
Note: After reviewing the details below, check in with your business office before you embark on your project.
Step 1: Determine how you will request proposals from marketing vendors
You can request proposals from the Marketing Master Contractors via a Statement of Work process, request proposals from firms on the CMO’s list of Prequalified Marketing Vendors, or request proposals from vendors not on the prequalified list. These options are described in more detail below.
Marketing Master Contractors are firms that have individual master contracts already in place for marketing services with the State of Vermont. You have the option of using one of the Marketing Master Contracts for marketing projects of any size. This option can be particularly helpful for projects that will go over that $25,000 mark, because the master contract system expedites the selection and contracting process. The master contracts allow state entities to obtain marketing services from these firms without having to go through a full RFP process. Instead, services can be obtained through a Statement of Work process. Detailed information can be found on our Marketing Master Contracts page.
The CMO maintains the list of Prequalified Marketing Vendors. Prequalified Marketing Vendors have been vetted by the CMO’s office and determined to be professionally competent to perform specific types of creative services.
The Prequalified Marketing Vendor list provides basic contact information for each vendor and shows which marketing categories the vendor has been approved for. You can use this list to determine which marketing vendors you would like to request proposals from.
If you choose to work with a prequalified vendor, you will need to draft and execute your own contract with the selected vendor.
If you are interested in soliciting a bid from a vendor who is not a Master Contractor or on the list of Prequalified Vendors, and your contract is over $10,000 they will need to become prequalified prior to a contract being executed. Feel free to refer vendors to our Become a Prequalified Marketing Vendor page and encourage them to submit a prequalification application to the CMO’s office. The Prequalification Application for Marketing Vendors is accepted at any time..
Yes, for $10,000 or Above
If the marketing contract is greater than $10,000, you are required to work with a prequalified marketing vendor. Your RFP should make note that prequalification is required for all marketing-related contracts above $10,000 and should direct vendors to contact the CMO’s office to complete the prequalification process.
No, for $10,000 or Less
In the marketing contract is less than $10,000, you are not required to work with a prequalified marketing vendor. The CMO office encourages vendors to apply in order to be added to the list of Prequalified Marketing Vendors for marketing services that any state agency can reference to quickly and easily find vendors for their projects.
Step 2: Determine the contract amount
Request for Proposals (RFP) and contract required. Unless you are using a Master Contract, projects of this size must follow the guidance outlined in Bulletin 3.5. For projects that are $100,000 or less, use the Simplified Bid process or the Standardized Bid process. For projects that are more than $100,000, use the Standardized Bid process.
RFP not required. For projects that are less than $25,000, we recommend following the Simplified Bid process, which involves soliciting a minimum of three competitive bids or quotes.
RFP not required. For projects that are less than $10,000, we recommend following the Simplified Bid process, which involves soliciting a minimum of three competitive bids or quotes.
Step 3: Define the Scope of Work
Once you have determined how you will solicit bids from marketing vendors and established your contract amount, you will need to define your scope of work. Whether you are reaching out to the Marketing Master Contractors, vendors on the list of Prequalified Marketing Vendors, or vendors outside that list, we recommend completing the Work Request Form. This form will walk you through how to develop the scope of work for your marketing project. When you submit the form, you will receive an email that contains your completed scope of work. You can send this information to the Marketing Master Contractors or use it as the scope within your RFP.
Need help developing your scope or writing your RFP? The CMO’s office is available to review your Work Request Form. Please use us as a resource.
If you are reaching out to vendors included or not included on the Prequalified Marketing Vendors, you must follow the process and notification of a bid request outlined in Bulletin No. 3.5 Procurement and Contracting Procedures, which includes preparing an RFP.
For any contract with a value over $10,000, please make sure the Statement of Prequalification Requirement is included in your RFP instructions. RFPs for a marketing contract shall contain a description of the work proposed and/or services and products needed and also indicate the necessary service category(ies) of prequalification that are required for the bid. All other state or agency/department requirements for formatting and issuing RFPs will apply.
Please allow ample time in your RFP timeline to allow Prequalification Application processing. The approval process can take 4-6 weeks at a minimum. Marketing vendors must be prequalified before a contract can be executed.
Step 4: Get CMO approval if required
The amount of your contract will determine if you need to obtain CMO approval. If you are working under a tight timeline for contract approval, contact the CMO before requesting proposals and share a general description of your project and any supporting documents that provide more context about the work. This way, the CMO can ask any questions that come to mind before the contract hits our desk.
For projects that are less than $25,000, it is not required to obtain CMO approval prior to the contract being executed.
It is required to obtain CMO approval prior to any change order being executed on an existing contract that was originally over $25,000 and received prior approval or change orders the push the existing contract over the $25,000 approval threshold.
Step 5: Request bids from marketing vendors
If you opt to use the Marketing Master Contracts, follow the instructions included in the email summary you receive when you complete the Marketing Work Request Form. If you opt to reach out to vendors on the list of prequalified vendors or other entities that are not on the list, you may use the Marketing Work Request Form to develop your scope, but will need to the solicit bids according to the process(s) outlined in Bulletin 3.5.
Your RFP should note that prequalification is required for all marketing-related contracts above $10,000 and should direct vendors to contact the CMO’s office to complete the prequalification process. Marketing vendors who wish to become prequalified for marketing contracts may submit an application at any time. If you select a vendor that is not a Master Contractor or Prequalified Marketing Vendor and the contract is over $10,000, the vendor will need to become prequalified prior to a contract being executed.
When using the list of prequalified vendors, we recommend filtering the vendor pool to those who are approved in the service categories that are applicable to your scope if work (e.g., videography) and whose work samples and location are a good fit for your project.
Step 6: Execute a Contract
Once you’ve selected a vendor, work with you business office to execute a contract for your project. When you get to this step, check with your department’s business manager or contracting specialist to make sure you follow your agency’s contracting policies and for general guidance preparing and routing your contract documents. If you have selected a Master Contractor, please refer to the Using the Marketing Master Contracts page for more details.
Contract disputes between prequalified marketing vendors and State of Vermont agencies/departments will be handled by the contracting agency/department.
Contract Dates and Prequalification Status
Contract dates may be set beyond the expiration date of the prequalification status. The contract may not be executed or renewed with the vendor unless the vendor is prequalified at the time of contract renewal.