Foothill Transit Issues Marketing RFP

Foothill Transit Issues Marketing RFP

Foothill Transit in California has issued an RFP for a marketing agency.

The mission of Foothill Transit is to be the premier public transit provider committed to  safety, courtesy, quality, responsiveness, efficiency and innovation.  With 361 buses (344 Compressed Natural Gas or CNG and 17 fast-charge electric) in service, Foothill Transit is the largest municipal operator in Los Angeles County, second in fleet size only to regional provider Metro. Foothill Transit serves more than 14 million riders a year in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley.

Foothill Transit is seeking a full-service marketing/advertising agency (“Agency”) to serve as advisor and partner to the Foothill Transit Marketing and Communications team. The selected Agency will be asked to develop a strategic marketing plan that will complement Foothill Transit’s business plan initiatives.

Though different products and services will be outlined, they should always be designed to meet the following objectives:

  • Build on Foothill Transit’s brand image
  • Increase ridership
  • Increase awareness and support of Foothill Transit’s services and/or initiatives

Scope of Services:

General Marketing Program

The general marketing program is designed to increase overall awareness of Foothill Transit’s brand identity throughout its service area. The Agency will develop an overall strategic marketing plan each year to complement Foothill Transit’s business plan. The marketing plan will expand the current creative concepts and design artwork to target markets identified through research and data analysis. The Agency shall make recommendations and define methods for communicating and advertising to those target markets. Advertising media may include, but is not limited to signage, newspapers, direct mail, streaming and digital media, banners and billboard, and cable television. Specific marketing campaigns will be developed to keep the program fresh and responsive.

As part of the general marketing program, Agency tasks may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Provide quarterly updates, attend regular meetings, and/or establish milestone dates for projects
  • Develop methods and means of customer education (fare changes, demonstrations, )
  • Develop methods for evaluating and measuring marketing effectiveness and performance
  • Provide advice and assistance on matters pertaining to marketing and public relations
  • Utilize past materials, designs, brand standards, research and data analysis, and other planning tools/resources to gain understanding of market and produce effective strategies
  • Adhere to the Foothill Transit brand standards guide
  • Source photography (custom or stock) and ensure proper usage terms
  • Provide art and creative direction for custom photography and video production
  • Become familiar with or have knowledge of the service area

Fleet Livery Adaptations

As Foothill Transit continues to advance its pledge to go all-electric by 2030, the agency will be acquiring new vehicles with new body types that will need new livery applications that use both the standard fleet graphics and promotional graphics to grab attention.

During the three year term of this contract, it is estimated that Foothill Transit may require as many as three new livery applications for new vehicles. It will be the Agency’s responsibility to work with Foothill Transit’s selected livery application contractor to design graphics that best conform to Foothill Transit’s fleet branding.

Strategic Media Purchasing

Media buying in accordance with a strategic marketing plan will be required, including consideration of the target market. The Agency will research, plan, execute and implement advertising in finished form, in accordance with Foothill Transit’s prior written approval, and forward same to production and media with proper instructions. The Agency should traffic and disperse all necessary materials to media suppliers, printers, and all other third parties needed to accomplish Foothill Transit’s approved marketing communications, and advertising ideas, programs, and campaigns. Media buying may include but are not limited to the following tasks:

  • Provide media information and plans that are standard to the transit industry
  • Provide media plans with buy detail, including placement dates, demographic analysis, circulation/readership figures, proposed added value,
  • Seek out and identify media opportunities such as promotions and other editorial opportunities
  • Proof-read and monitor ads for run verification
  • Process and verify purchase orders and invoices in a timely manner
  • Obtain prior approval for all and any subcontractors
  • Provide media production services (graphic design, photography, copywriting, printing, )
  • Manage media production process from concept to delivery in timely and efficient manger
  • Manage talent, photography, and music contracts and licenses
  • Advise on content and design of media material and assist in selecting appropriate media types for advertising
  • Establish advertising schedule and develop media buying plan based on defined target market and demographic/customer research

Class Pass Program and Special Services Campaigns

The Class Pass Program is Foothill Transit’s highly successful college student ridership program, which is currently in place at three colleges in the San Gabriel Valley – Mt. San Antonio College, Citrus College, and University of La Verne. Expansion to other schools during the term of this contract is highly likely, and will require careful consideration of each campus’ demographics, transit access, and communication tools. Each year will require a review and overhaul of the Class Pass campaigns, with special attention paid to Class Pass and campus branding. All on campus placement of media materials, school scheduling and communications, student paper media buys, and any other direct campus activities will be handled by the Foothill Transit Team.

In addition to the Class Pass, Foothill Transit operates special seasonal services for the Rose Bowl and the LA County Fair. Strategic campaigns to enhance visibility and ridership of these and any new special services will need to be established and then refreshed each year.

Customer and General Demographic Research

Foothill Transit will conduct periodic customer satisfaction and demographic surveys to use as an indication of where customer service improvements are necessary, to define the Foothill Transit customer, and identify new potential markets for ridership growth.

The Agency will work with Foothill Transit’s chosen research consultants and Foothill Transit staff to incorporate questions that will provide the data needed (but will not be required to conduct any surveys). It will require detailed oversight and input from the Agency to get the most out of the data collected by the research consultants.

Digital Communication Strategy

During the course of the contract there are specific web-based and social media activities that will be conducted on behalf of Foothill Transit. In addition the selected Agency is to work with the specialized web-based and smartphone compatible social media tools that Foothill Transit currently uses to execute its digital communications programs (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google +, and Youtube). These tasks may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Provide recommendations for Foothill Transit’s websites and current social media pages to build recognition, traffic, and reach, and to increase understanding of the agency’s services and programs in conjunction with Foothill Transit’s marketing and customer communications objectives
    • Advise and implement improved integration between various technologies
    • Identify and implement new social media technologies
    • Review and revise all new media endeavors to work concurrently into one unified online communications package (New media is generically defined as, but is not limited to Foothill Transit’s website, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, website, YouTube channel, and Flickr page. It also includes social media technologies not currently employed by Foothill )
  • Research, recommend and implement appropriate social media and interactive technology applications that will effectively advance Foothill Transit’s marketing and communications
    • Special focus should be given to any emerging social media tool (i.e. Snapchat and Instagram) that expands Foothill Transit’s reach within the service area
    • The investigation and strategic implementation of seeding Foothill Transit information on news
  • Provide recommendations and strategies for content development that improves the effectiveness of agency communications in a social media environment and educates appropriate staff on how to develop and evolve this content
    • Research and strategize targeting content towards key audiences such as but not limited to veterans, tourists, the elderly, and students – both K-12 and
    • Research, define, and strategize social media outreach to minority communities as defined by Title VI regulations governed by the Federal Transit Administration and work with agency staff to ensure compliance
  • Develop and/or edit creative and technical content for all Foothill Transit social media pages and website

Proposal due on May 12, 2017 to:

Foothill Transit
100 South Vincent Avenue – Suite 200
West Covina, CA 91790

California PR firms include Shift Communications and Edelman PR.

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