US Census Bureau mulls PR options for 2010 poll

WASHINGTON: The 2000 Census marked the first time in decades that the US Census Bureau saw a rise in its response rate - from 65% to 67% - and the agency is now looking to improve on that result.

WASHINGTON: The 2000 Census marked the first time in decades that the US Census Bureau saw a rise in its response rate - from 65% to 67% - and the agency is now looking to improve on that result.

As the 2010 Census draws near, the Bureau is in the early stages of building an outreach campaign to boost the direct-mail response rate across all demographics.

Marketing, PR, and ad execs will have their first opportunity to get a glimpse of the 2010 Census Communications Campaign on February 17, when the Census Bureau hosts Industry Day.

The bureau is looking for agency feedback on current best practices for using the media, segmenting key audiences, and measuring outreach efforts.

Information gathered at Industry Day will likely be incorporated into an RFP seeking a number of firms across marketing sectors.

In 2000, the Bureau worked with WPP agencies Young & Rubicam and Cohn & Wolfe - as well as a host of firms that specialize in minority outreach - to address what had been a persistent falloff in the response rate to its questionnaires.

The plan, dubbed the Partnership and Marketing Program (PMP), used advertising, community outreach, promotions, events, and media relations to encourage responses.

PR tactics also included a Census 2000 Road Tour and work with local officials on grassroots outreach. C&W got $2 million to implement the outreach effort.

Plans for 2010 will build on those PMP tactics, according to the Bureau.

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