By George Griffin, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at A&T University
Media Placement Services (MPS) is a full-service research, planning and buying agency based in High Point, North Carolina. They are experts at efficiently planning and buying all media platforms. Established in 1992, by Peggy Shufelt, this woman owned small business has been providing outstanding media campaign support for a host of companies – large and small – in markets all over the United States.
In 2014 business associate, Nandrea Ward contacted, George Griffin, Triad PTAC Counselor, to ask several questions and for assistance in determining if opportunities existed for MPS on the federal level. MPS was currently registered as a NC HUB vendor and active on the state level and with local government. Over several sessions various topics of interest were discussed: creating a capability statement, looking for opportunities on FBO www.fbo.gov, investigating historical awards on FPDS https://www.fpds.gov and assistance with proposal writing.
Later in 2014 Nandrea contacted her PTAC counselor to discuss a pre solicitation from National Institutes of Health (NIH) that Peggy and Nandrea were working to complete. It was a good match for MPS and a chance to share their capability statement. MPS continued working on the proposal for NIH and a short time later submitted a bid and received their first federal contract. MPS continues to seek federal opportunities and receive additional PTAC training. Peggy and Nandrea regularly attend SBTDC/PTAC training events offered across the state http://www.sbtdc.org/business-events/.
There was a solicitation in 2015 for the USAF Band http://www.usafband.af.mil/. They required advertising for a concert tour they were presenting in the fall. Unfortunately, MPS saw the solicitation the day after it closed. In one of the sessions at Marketplace http://www.sbtdc.org/events/marketplace/, MPS was advised to reach out to points of contacts after the solicitation closed to ask if they had gotten what they needed. An email was sent to the POC listed on the USAF Band solicitation with no immediate response. In early 2016, the POC for the USAF Band sent an email and asked for a phone conference. They had an upcoming concert tour in June 2016 and they needed advertising.
The POC told MPS that he received their email after the 2015 solicitation, and that was the only response they had received. MPS advised him that the solicitation was placed under the wrong NAICs code. The only reason MPS saw it was because they look at all the codes having anything to do with advertising and marketing –another tip they got at one of the PTAC training events After many discussions and emails with the USAF Band POC, they did another solicitation with the correct code, MPS won the contract. Four ad campaigns were placed for them in 2016 including two for their JAZZ Band which is a different group from the concert band. They were all very successful in getting more people in attendance at the concerts.
In 2017, the band tour brought them to Charlotte, NC so MPS told them they were going to do a field trip to see them and they welcomed the visit. They arranged for MPS to sit front and center in reserved seats at the concert. They recognized MPS as one of their honored guests and as the advertising agency responsible for getting the word out so more people had a chance to see their band. For MPS, it was a great opportunity to meet their points of contact in person as well as meet and speak with other people who were a part of the decision-making team to learn more about their tour and what issues they run up against in planning tours.
By attending the concert, MPS got a first-hand look at who comes to the concerts. This was valuable targeting information for planning advertising for the band.
Another benefit of being with the band was seeing the performance. MPS was able to give the band some insight and suggestions on how to make the marketing better by highlighting, in the advertising, some special things they do during the performance, like a salute to each branch of the military and a medley of 1940’s hits in 1940’s uniforms.
Reaching out and making personal contact is one tactic that MPS highly recommends in soliciting federal business. The POC’s and decision makers are all people just like us. When they get to know you it makes them more comfortable with you and reduces the risk for them in selecting you or your company to fulfill the contract. It also lets you get to know them and their pain points, so you can make sure you are giving them what they need to make their life easier.