This 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 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.
Winner 2013: Go North East – Maximising the Brand
Go North East has been extremely successful in recent years in driving growth in passenger numbers and satisfaction levels, the latter evidenced by the recent Passenger Focus surveys which showed the company as one of the UK’s top operators. Behind this success is a sustained strategic and effecting marketing output backed up by solid research and the use of sophisticated techniques more normally associated with major retailers to ensure its business is well supported and its marketing activity is targeted and cost effective. The judges felt that Go North East was the shining example of how bus services should be marketed.
Runner Up: Stagecoach in Sheffield – Creating Strong Passenger Growth
If marketing success is measured by the rise in passenger volumes, with growth of 100% between 2006 and 2010 and a further 50% since then, and high satisfaction levels, the judges considered that Stagecoach in Sheffield must have been doing something right! At a time when many bus companies are cutting mileage and raising fares in the face of the current economic climate, Stagecoach in Sheffield has maintained low prices, substantially invested in vehicles, expanded significantly, and innovated with new products. This has all been supported by effective marketing, this being at the heart of the continuing substantial increase in passenger numbers – and profit.
Go South Coast (More BUS – MORE, MORE, MORE!)
People in Bournemouth and the surrounding area wanted to know who that other operator – more – was, as they were so much better than Wilts & Dorset! Having introduced the ‘more’ brand on two core routes back in 2004, customers soon realised ‘more’ had something more to offer, so the company rolled out the strong new brand across the rest of the Poole and Bournemouth network in stages. Any large brand change takes time, effort and money, and the judges were impressed with the careful planning that had gone into the change.
Lloyds Coaches – Creating a Strong Brand Image
Sustained effective marketing is not just for operators with the resources of the big companies. As a small business in a largely rural area of Wales, Lloyds’ intention was to create a strong brand image for the company by making it a trusted household name, instantly recognisable and well known throughout its operating area and beyond – and synonymous with the quality products and services provided. The judges were impressed with the thoughtful and effective way the company had gone about its plan, reflected in the increase in like-for-like passenger numbers and revenue obtained from its services.
Megabus UK (Stagecoach Group plc) – Megabus UK: Digital Integration
Megabus UK has achieved substantial growth across all its business and marketing key performance indicators through the implementation of a carefully measured and integrated digital strategy, based on comprehensive research and led by a clear understanding of customer needs. The judges felt that this had gone above and beyond the traditional industry expectations of digital marketing to focus on ideas and solutions that could demonstrate real value and interest to its customers and potential customers.
Yellow Buses – The Brighter Bus Company
Yellow Buses is a company that has transformed itself over recent years, considerably helped by sustained, effective marketing that has taken apart a company with a great history, and re-built it to give it an invigorating – and successful – push in the very competitive Bournemouth and Poole market. Yellow Buses is now a robust, energised business fit and active in its marketplace. The judges were really impressed with how this has been planned and carried through - and, not least, by the 61% increase in passengers that has been achieved since 2005 by the combination of strong marketing initiatives and a quality bus operation.
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.