The Marketing Excellence Award
This new Award 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 were directed towards the separate ‘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 that the company really is passionate about marketing and about serving the customer over a sustained period.
Winner: red arrow - red instead
Red Arrow offers an express service linking Derby with Nottingham. First introduced in 1995, the route has grown from an hourly frequency with a supported Sunday operation to a seven-day-a-week route running up to every 10 minutes and including a late night service.
The route has been extended to Chesterfield, and now uses a fleet of 13 luxury coaches featuring table seats, leather upholstery and free wi-fi.
The judges were particularly impressed by the consistent research-led approach to the development of the Red Arrow brand, which has delivered year on year improvements over a long period. This is a classic use of the whole toolbox available to operators to deliver growth and success through investment and marketing. It delivered outstanding creative work, staff involvement and motivation, and investment in quality.
Runner Up: StagecoachGold
Stagecoach UK Bus
StagecoachGold is an ever evolving luxury brand in local bus travel. The product, which originated as Goldline, was subsequently relaunched as StagecoachGold and successfully positioned as ‘More than a bus’, a premium level offering.
The objectives of the introduction of the brand were to extend the bus product life cycle at a local level plus attracting the notoriously impenetrable AB Social Class segment by developing a concept which would encourage further modal shift through changing perception of the bus.
The judges were impressed by the continuing evolution of this brand and liked very much the use of market segmentation to appeal to different types of user and potential user. They praised Stagecoach for responding to the challenge of appealing to a market segment that is difficult to penetrate and hard to please – especially in the current climate.
Reading Buses - Ticketing Initiatives
Reading began its first £1 to town discounted ticket initiative in 2009. Managers soon saw rapid customer growth and realised they were onto something successful. The trial periods of many of these £1 routes are now permanent. This has evolved into other heavily discounted initiatives including a £5 group ticket which helps grow weekend and off-peak customer numbers.
The judges congratulated Reading on this innovative approach to pricing at a time when providing value-for-money fares is particularly needed.
Stagecoach East Kent - The Canterbury Triangle
Launched in 2004, the Triangle is bus route that links Canterbury with towns on the north Kent coast. It is a prime example of how putting marketing at the heart of a route’s development, providing a consistent and strong brand identity, can play a key part in achieving high levels of customer satisfaction and impressive passenger growth.
Customers don’t catch the bus, they catch ‘The Triangle’ and the judges praised the fact that continued success has resulted in a virtuous circle of rising investment, passenger growth and rising satisfaction.
Stagecoach West - Greener Journeys
This innovative scheme encourages large organisations to promote public transport by reducing costs for employees and/or students by providing subsidised journeys. Promotional campaigns are bespoke to each organisation and include print campaigns, media advertising, branding and PR.
The judges were impressed that this approach generated 1.4 million Greener Journeys last year – and the company expects the figure to rise exponentially as more businesses join the scheme.
Stagecoach Yorkshire - Creating Passenger Growth in Sheffield
At a time when bus operators are cutting mileage and raising prices due to concessionary reductions, tender cuts and a shattered economy, Stagecoach in Sheffield has maintained low prices, substantially invested in vehicles, expanded significantly and provided innovative new services and products.
The judges were pleased to see that some highly effective marketing has been at the heart of the project, which has delivered continuing improvement in profit and passenger numbers.
Judges' Overall Verdict
The judges were impressed by the quality of the entries in this, the first year of this new award. The entries offer a tangible demonstration that the best operators really do understand the opportunities for volume growth and the achievement of modal shift that lie in a consistent, long term approach to the marketing and promotion of services and networks.
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 can now demonstrate how their sustained activity has 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 Award was based on the quality of the submissions made, which should:
- Describe the strategic objectives of the company 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.