If you missed our forum on marketing intercity passenger trains, I’ve uploaded it to youtube: railvermont.org/civicrm/?civiwp=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/mailing/url&u=582&qid=47127 
I learned a lot from Natalie Bogart and Priscilla Kalugdan who market the Downeaster and Capital Corridor Routes for their respective state level operating authorities, and Jim Mathews, Executive Director of the Rail Passengers Association who brought the national perspective. It was good to get the perspective of professionals.
Key takeways for me:
– The importance of having marketing professionals create targeted campaigns built with their expertise instead of ad-hoc ideas. In Vermont, train marketing benefits from the expertise of the Department of Tourism
– The value of search advertising and similar digital marketing. Half the ad spend in Maine and California went to search ads. Vermont has seen an outsized engagement with search ads, which are a cost-effective means to reach potential riders in a crowded ad market.
– The value of having a full time marketing position: someone able to coordinate numerous efforts to meet different markets, for example folks going to medical appointments or sports events.
– The importance of having a web page for the service and of building an email list to gather data on how marketing is working and to be able to communicate directly with riders. For example the Downeaster schedule incorporates feedback from riders.
– How difficult it is to measure the impact of marketing. And yet the routes that have it (and have increased the number of trains they run) have grown much more than other Amtrak routes.
– Vermont and VTrans are already doing many things right. And yet I do not believe we are reaching our potential. VRAN has identified an increase in marketing as an advocacy priority. After all, the environmental footprint of more riders on a service already running is zero. And more riders makes a stronger service.
Wishing you the best,
Christopher Parker Executive Director
(802) 536-4607 railvermont.org/civicrm/?civiwp=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/mailing/url&u=581&qid=47127
VERMONT RAIL ACTION NETWORK
PO BOX 6094 RUTLAND, VT 05702-6094 United States
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