short-term revenue and long-term brand building keeps everybody happy

A lot of advertising selling bus travel is done so with a very specific message in comparison to most advertising selling train travel, which uses a very generic message.

Your bus company is likely to communicate the benefits of a certain route, ticket, or type of purchase and any effectiveness can be measured very easily in the short term. Figures will go up or they won't.

Train advertising tends to concentrate on building awareness of the places a particular operator serves. Effectiveness of this type of advertising is much harder to gauge, with brand/campaign awareness often used a metric. This is no doubt to the frustration of the finance director who wants to know where the ROI is.

To be truly effective, both industries need to learn from each other's approach. The bus also needs long-term brand/product building campaigns and the train could be helped by short-term, easy to measure wins.

There's a theory in the marketing world (theory, because the reality is hardly anybody, does it) that 60% of your marketing budget should be spent with long-term objectives in mind, with the remaining 40% focused on short-term goals.

When was the last time you saw a 96 sheet advertising a bus operator like Arriva, executed in their branding with a simple message along the lines of 'operating 364 days of the year, in every type of weather you could imagine'. Or a targeted door drop from GWR offering discounted travel to Bristol for a group of four?

Me neither.

Here if you need us, folks.