Orange County Transportation Authority Issues Marketing RFP

Orange County Transportation Authority Issues Marketing RFP

The LOSSAN Agency wishes to contract with a full-service marketing firm (Consultant) to market the Pacific Surfliner and provide media buying and creative services, as well as strategic consultation as needed for the purpose of:

  • Implementing data-driven, multi-channel media campaigns that target specific audience segments and optimize direct response rates
  • Supporting ongoing efforts including print and digital advertising, email marketing, collateral development, onboard communications, and social media
  • Implementing campaigns and creating marketing materials that resonate with target audiences and meet both brand standards and business objectives to increase awareness, revenue, and ridership
  • Utilizing existing data to create actionable insight and deliver pre- and post-campaign analysis for driving measurable marketing outcomes that advance business objectives to increase awareness, revenue, and ridership
  • Developing new systems and approaches to capturing and leveraging audience insight that personalizes the Pacific Surfliner user experience and builds long-term customer relationships
  • Expanding destination-based marketing efforts through advertising campaigns that leverage the engaging experiences, unique rider perspectives, and memorable events surrounding the Pacific Surfliner service
  • Ensuring effective design, layout, editorial, and art direction from concept development, execution, and production for fulfillment of media campaigns

Through this contract, Consultant shall provide expertise in specific service categories and supplement LOSSAN’s in-house marketing and communications staff, as well as work with external vendors contracted for specific marketing specialties including web development, videography, public relations, and field marketing.


The 351-mile LOSSAN Rail Corridor travels through a six-county coastal region in southern California and is the second busiest intercity passenger rail corridor in the United States. The LOSSAN Agency manages the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service, which has an annual ridership of nearly 3 million. There are currently 24 daily Pacific Surfliner trains between the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, with 10 trains extending to Santa Barbara/Goleta counties and four to San Luis Obispo County. The Pacific Surfliner serves 29 stations between San Diego and San Luis Obispo county.

The LOSSAN Agency will promote the Pacific Surfliner as a viable transportation option for travelers to destinations along the LOSSAN rail corridor and beyond. In addition to rail service, dedicated Amtrak Thruway bus connections supplement the train by providing transportation to and from San Luis Obispo County for rail passengers making connections to Pacific Surfliner trains Santa Barbara County. Thruway Buses also provide connections between northern and southern California, and between Orange County and Palm Springs/Coachella Valley.

Scope of Work:

This Scope of Work describes Consultant’s essential roles, responsibilities, functions, activities, and deliverables necessary for the successful implementation of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency’s (Agency) integrated advertising and direct marketing program for the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

This section contains a brief description of the types of technical services required for this contract. The work plan shall provide a precise and clear description of the Consultant’s ability to meet the requirements of each service category specified below. Those bidding as the prime contractor on this RFP are encouraged to sub-contract tasks, which are outside of their expertise.

As LOSSAN Agency’s Agency of Record, Consultant will be authorized to act on behalf of the LOSSAN Agency to negotiate, purchase, and place media, as well as manage invoices and payments. If necessary to complete the requirements of the scope of work, Consultant will license directly with vendors and publishers to obtain necessary media placements and utilities.

All invoicing pertaining to these agreements shall be managed by the selected Consultant. The LOSSAN Agency shall be listed as a user and/or advertiser on any agreements. At the end of the term (or earlier), the selected Consultant shall assign/transfer all its rights to the agreement to the LOSSAN Agency at no additional charge.

Consultant shall outline any digital media buying costs including ad-serving, research, trading, data management, and administrative fees and specify if costs are correlated to impressions or media spend; and treated as part of media spend or as an added-on fee.

Consultant will adhere to the 4A’s Transparency Guiding Principles of Conduct policy for media agencies, as well as disclose any policies related to transparency in media buying and vendor selection.

Consultants shall provide turnkey marketing programs and be able to act as a prime contractor in each of the following areas:

Integrated Marketing Campaign Development

Work in collaboration with internal marketing and communications team to develop a comprehensive and overarching plan including comprehensive media buying and direct         marketing strategies to serve as a blueprint for the contractual period of time. Implement campaigns in accordance with brand strategy, leveraging core assets and guidelines to ensure unified messaging and visuals across markets and through all consumer touch points. Campaign plans will include

  • market research
  • campaign strategy
  • target audience analysis
  • campaign messaging and creative development
  • media planning and buying
  • implementation of marketing tactics
  • monitoring and reporting to demonstrate ROI

Digital Advertising

Work with in-house marketing and communications team to identify target markets and develop strategic media buys to acquire qualified and cost-effective traffic. Develop digital media plans to reach existing and new markets. Campaign implementation and optimization including creative services and campaign monitoring and optimization. Provide regular reports and perform data analysis for refining campaigns and discovering insights to maximize return on investment (ROI).

Must be pro-active in identifying new, cost-effective channels and approaches to digital buys. Consultant must be a Google Certified partner. In addition to this contract, the LOSSAN Agency may have additional funds reserved for direct media buys.

Consultant will provide digital media planning and buying services including:

  • Digital search and display, online video
  • Mobile, tablet advertising, in-app advertising
  • Interactive and streaming video/audio advertising
  • Programmatic marketing platforms
  • Facebook, Twitter, email, video advertising
  • Behavioral, contextual and semantic targeting
  • Dynamic creative
  • Audience profiling
  • Website rankings and demographic analysis
  • Audience and geo-targeting
  • Search engine marketing
  • Audience retargeting
  • Integration of traditional advertising
  • Digital campaign reporting and campaign optimization management
  • Creative multivariate testing
  • Landing page structure development
  • Strategic media partnerships, native advertising, and sponsored content

Traditional Media Planning

Work with in-house marketing and communications team to identify target markets and develop comprehensive media plans that target specific audience segments and drive    measurable marketing outcomes. Provide support for campaign development including creative and production services for print, broadcast, outdoor, and digital campaigns. Conduct campaign   analysis to demonstrate ROI. In addition to this contract, the LOSSAN Agency may have reserved funds for direct media buy.

Provide media planning and buying services including:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Print
  • Outdoor media

Direct Marketing Campaign Development and Management

Develop campaigns that communicate directly to customers through a variety of media including direct mail, email, digital advertising, database marketing, fliers, and targeted broadcast, print and digital advertisements as well as outdoor advertising. Utilize customer data to identify actionable segments to develop marketing messages that directly address the target audience. Design effective calls to action to drive tangible outcomes (email acquisition, engagement with content, trial usage, promotional redemption). Monitor and optimize campaigns by measuring and maximizing response rates while minimizing advertising expenses. Provide updates and reports that demonstrate return on investment.

In addition to utilizing destination marketing strategies, campaigns will be designed to target specific markets and increase ridership and revenue. Marketing efforts will also explore fare and ticketing promotions and special event partnerships. Additional efforts will be focused on increasing utilization of Amtrak marketing programs including Amtrak Guest Rewards.

Each campaign should include, but not be limited to, the following components to drive traffic, boost brand awareness, and increase ridership/sales:

  • Campaign goals development and effectiveness tracking
  • Identifying target audiences and providing insight to customer behavior
  • Developing key campaign messaging and potential offers for campaign success
  • Developing strategy for reaching and engaging target audiences
  • Developing mixed media campaign consisting of traditional and online media

Email, Social Media, and Mobile Marketing Strategy

Research, develop, and propose new and innovative digital marketing strategies and tactics through email, social media, and/or mobile to help retain current Pacific Surfliner customers and acquire new customers. Create email workflows and personalize content to successfully engage and activate different types of database contacts. Provide systematic solutions to implement, manage, and optimize social media platforms, as well as analytics to maximize conversations and conversions.

To assist in web design and execution as necessary, Consultant should have proficiency with web, mobile, and responsive design, development, testing, and deployment. Consultant should have experience with content management systems, email and mobile marketing platforms, marketing/business automation, and blog and social media integration.

Analytics Monitoring and Reporting

In addition to campaign monitoring and reporting, Consultant will collaborate with in-house marketing and communications team to develop analytics reporting and dashboard solutions to demonstrate ROI, provide audience insight, and help inform future efforts. Must work to clarify and align on marketing objectives while providing assistance in building data infrastructure and help aggregate the right combination of datasets to provide actionable insight.

Consultant will provide suggestions for enhancements to optimize ongoing campaigns, refine messaging, boost online engagement and search engine visibility, and meet other performance metrics.

Provide analytics services including:

  • KPI development and measurement planning
  • Cross channel reporting and insight creation
  • Marketing platform selection and solutions integration
  • User segmentation strategies
  • Cross channel attribution

Content Marketing

Develop strategy, tools, and content that will help target customers and demonstrate an understanding of their problems and motivations (provide tips, best practices, unique content that is not available anywhere else that will be of interest to Pacific Surfliner customers). Create, implement, and optimize blog, video, newsletter, website, and social media strategy to boost    search engine optimization (SEO), branding, and referring traffic.

Understand audience and marketing channels to strategically repurpose content in a variety of ways. Develop editorial calendar to help tell the unique stories of riders and leverage user generated content to increase brand advocacy and drive sales.

Marketing Automation and Audience Segmentation

Understand customer relationship management principles and advise on best ways to segment audiences and deliver dynamic, personalized content. Help develop systems and tools to connect multiple touch points and marketing channels (including social media, email marketing, and content marketing) to nurture prospects for the long-term, focusing on goals beyond direct sales.

Execute surveys as-needed to gain customer insights, market intelligence, and customer feedback.

Creative Services

Produce design solutions and messages that resonate with target audiences and meet both brand standards and business objectives. Develop creative briefs and general concepts based on campaign objectives and present rough layouts and rationale for evaluation. Develop creative assets for implementation across Pacific Surfliner channels including digital, print, broadcast, social, public relations, paid media, packaging, outdoor, onboard, and other customer communication channels as-needed. Consultant must be able to respond quickly to implement creative development through concept development, execution, and production in a timely manner to meet the project deadlines.

Provide creative guidance and execution including copywriting, quality assurance, campaign creation and completion. Work with in-house marketing team to create and implement verbal and visual identity and support efforts to develop brand compliance manuals, graphics standards, and style guides.

Lead creative strategy development and work cross functionally to deliver the best user experiences across a broad range of channels and mediums. Must understand trends affecting relevant industries, mediums, and audiences. Must have experience delivering diverse products   including photography, infographics, animated gifs, mixed media, and illustration.

Produce video content to include treatments, script development, casting, filming (using professional equipment and post production), editing, sound mixing, musical scoring and titling, as well as delivery of working files and full-resolution final cuts. Provide original videography and photography services to support approved campaign plans to showcase Pacific Surfliner’s   products and services for use on a variety of marketing channels. Photography support should include selection and management of paid models, the ability to provide studio shots on seamless, interior building and/or train shots including people and location shots showcasing various trains. Trains will either be static or moving.

To assist in web and mobile design and execution as necessary, Consultant should have proficiency with web, mobile, and responsive design, development, testing, and deployment. The Consultant should have experience with the content management systems, email marketing platforms, marketing/business automation, and blog and social media integration.

Copywriting and message development

Create engaging marketing content to drive ridership, boost engagement, and enhance relationships with various audiences. Consultant will be responsible for writing compelling copy, providing editorial direction, and execution for deliverables including full-scale campaigns, brochures, emails, website content and landing pages, social media and blog posts, presentations, print and online advertisements, and more. Ensure copy and campaign assets align with the Pacific Surfliner brand.

Collaborate with in-house marketing team to expertly craft stories that visually and verbally resonate with target audiences to motivate action. Consultant will also support in developing taglines and key messages that reflect the personality, vision, and values of the Pacific Surfliner brand. Will also conduct market research as-needed and work with key stakeholders to develop, fine tune, and prioritize value propositions for key markets.

Capture the unique and compelling attributes of the Pacific Surfliner service to create clear and consistent communications across various channels and diverse audiences. Work with in-house marketing team to localize national Amtrak brand messages and refine messaging through a number of different channels. Partner with content producers along the route to localize communication materials and implement core messaging across all assets.

Digital Storytelling

Conceptualize and develop ideas for relevant and effective content that brings value to key audiences. Contribute to overall strategy for sharing traveler and destination stories. Develop unique voice and perspectives that resonate with both travelers and locals. Contribute to content marketing efforts that promote brand awareness and motivate key audiences to action. Marketing efforts will also be focused on promoting distinct features of Pacific Surfliner route, as well as onboard amenities. Customer communications will focus on consumer-centric messaging ranging from relevant travel tips and emotional visuals to critical service advisories and train status information.

Work with in-house marketing and communications team to develop targeted and relevant stories and sharable assets that educate and inspire customers while growing customer base and cultivating user loyalty. Develop Pacific Surfliner’s storytelling strategy including producing content and conversations for search engine optimization, email marketing, video marketing, public relations, influencer marketing, strategic partnerships, social media, blogging, online forums, and other marketing components to help attract the right customers to the Pacific Surfliner brand.

Due Date:

October 8th


Orange County Transportation Authority

Contracts Administration and Materials Management

600 South Main Street, (Lobby Receptionist)

Orange, California 92868

Attention: Iris Deneau, Senior Contract Administrator

California agencies include Finn Partners and Ruder Finn.

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