The Marketing Excellence Award

This Award, introduced in 2011, is designed to recognise marketing excellence over a sustained period that is likely to be measured in years rather than weeks (short-term initiatives and campaigns will be more appropriate for the ‘Eureka!’ Award).

The Award will go to the organisation that best demonstrates how an active, customer-focused marketing strategy, consistently applied over time, has driven business improvement, won extra journeys and captured new customers, ideally through a shift of travel from car to bus.

The winner of this Award will be able to show that this sustained approach has:

  • delivered measurable improvements in customer service and customer satisfaction
  • created or developed strong brands
  • helped to change public perceptions and/or consumer behaviour
  • genuinely driven all aspects of the business, particularly
    • customer service
    • staff training
    • management and supervision.

The important thing is that the winner can demonstrate a passion for marketing and for serving the customer over a sustained period.

The Winner

Launching the Mango smartcardTrent Barton, MANGO - no cash, no fuss, no brainer

trentbarton's smartcard is an essential marketing tool, triggering many wide-ranging promotional activities, continuing to drive growth and customer delight. Designed using the findings of extensive customer research, MANGO has become a 'must-have' for anyone who lives in trentbarton land. Enabling direct marketing, destination promotion, customer insight, trip generation and modal shift, it promotes loyalty and has become a local superbrand in its own right.

The judges felt that Trent Barton's approach to the introduction of its Mango smartcard was an almost copybook example of how to build and develop a new brand whilst building and maintaining passenger loyalty. The company has undoubtedly added value to the ability of smartcards to make services more attractive and efficient through faster boarding times and flexible ticketing – through customer relationship management (CRM), direct marketing and promotion of destinations.

Runner Up

Buses in Horsham - delivering growthMetrobus, Horsham - Getting the Basics Right

Metrobus acquired the Horsham town network in October 2009. Since then, the company has achieved patronage growth of 22% through ongoing, highly targeted marketing, improvements to infrastructure, increased availability of information, simplification of fares and enhancement of the network through increased frequencies and re-timing to improve reliability.

The judges praised the 'back to basics' approach adopted by Metrobus in Horsham. It is fair to say that bus services have been unloved and undersold in Surrey and West Sussex for several decades, and the company's approach has enabled patronage and brand loyalty to be rebuilt steadily over the last decade – with the experience in Horsham being the latest example of their efforts. The judges felt that the success achieved was thoroughly deserved.

Highly Commended

A Green Line 757 vehicleArriva the Shires, Green Line 757

Green Line 757 is a significant route for Arriva the Shires and this project has seen significant investment in service frequency, vehicles, marketing publicity and staff training and development. The result is a modern, bold and welcoming message to ensure the service continues to succeed in the coming years. Extensive research led to the use of a multi-lingual website, an expanded social media presence and extensive partnership working including the airport and airlines.

The judges were pleased to see that the momentum of innovation has been maintained, and that the 757 brand continues to go from strength to strength. The comprehensive nature of the approach – particularly in developing approaches to incoming tourists from Europe – caught their eye particularly.


Promoting the Key smartcardGo North East, The Key

The 'Key' smartcard is part of Go Ahead Group's national initiative to introduce smart ticketing to its rail services and entire UK bus operation. Go North East required an effective marketing approach, designed to ensure that the new smartcard could compete against competitors' offers and was recognised by new and existing customers to be a beneficial ticketing option. The targeted campaign made extensive use of innovative techniques to create awareness including social media, 'flashmob' dance groups and 'bus stop bingo' via local radio stations.

The judges praised Go North East's use of innovative and attention-grabbing techniques to get across the vital messages about their smartard product. Whilst the concept of an 'Oyster'-style ticket is appealing to many people, the concept nevertheless requires a big change in customer behaviour and attitudes – which will not happen without encouragement and persuasion: the judges congratulated the company on a clever and interesting approach.

Promoting discounts on Reay's Hopper ServicesReays Coaches, Hopping Mad

Reays Coaches launched its Carlisle bus network as City Hopper to give it a fresh identity from its old brand and offer a "funkier" option to its competitor. The buses have become instantly recognisable by the Cumbrian public via the new brand, and as a result patronage on the network has grown from a standing start in 2010 to over 25,000 people a week. Building on its success, the Hopper brand has since been extended and now incorporates tickets, rural services (Village Hopper) and Lake District service (Lakes Hopper).

The judges felt that this was a clever and well-executed approach from an SME. They felt that this was an excellent example of how a new entrant into the market could quickly establish brand and customer loyalty in a highly competitive market.


Who could be nominated?

This category was open to operators, authorities, partnerships or other organisations participating in the securing, marketing or promotion of registered local bus services.  We welcomed entries from entrants, winners or runners-up of previous marketing awards, who could now demonstrate how their sustained activity had produced results.

… and by whom?

We welcomed nominations from customers, authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination is acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The judges determined their verdict on the basis of the quality of the submissions made, which were required to:

  • Describe the strategic objectives and describe how marketing drives the achievement of these
  • Provide evidence of initial and ongoing customer research (including methodology and results)
  • State how the strategy was implemented and the how the workforce was involved and empowered
  • Describe the promotional campaigns implemented, showing;
    • methods used and the reasons for their use
    • how demand was stimulated
    • how customer access to the product improved
    • how potential customers were identified and informed
  • Describe how the impacts of the campaigns were monitored and measured
  • Describe any changes to the campaigns or the overall business strategy made as a result of the monitoring
  • Supply statistical evidence showing the results of the strategy and the campaigns in terms of patronage, revenue or other appropriate indicators, especially modal shift achieved
  • Supply appropriate examples of campaign materials that delivered the reported results
  • Describe any future plans for further development
  • Include any relevant supporting material.

The TEG logoThe UK Bus Awards scheme is organised by The Bus Industry Awards Limited, a company registered in England & Wales No 3332837.

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