Amtrak's Darlene Abubakar on Reaching African-American and Hispanic Businesspeople
TM: What, specifically, is direct about those touchpoints?
DA: The e-mail component is e-mail blasts [and] e-mail newsletters to the target segments. And the online placement's really banner placements on targeted Web sites ... they can click, and that sends them over to the Amtrak site. ... With this being more of a regional effort, in the sense of it's the Northeast corridor, we did identify, for example, Black Enterprise. [It's] a very reputable magazine targeting businesspeople nationally, actually. But we did this on a targeted regional basis. We, as a part of our media arrangement with them, in addition to placing the advertising in the print publication, we did place ads online, and we also sent e-mails directly to their registered online users. ... We do know that the magazine is targeted specifically to African-Americans, and that is the bulk of their circulation. Likewise, on the Hispanic side, one of the examples is Hispanic Business. Similar to the Black Enterprise magazine, but, again, [it's] very business-focused. We purchased the regional online capabilities, as well as the targeted e-mails to their subscribers and their newsletters.
TM: Is this a pilot program, before Amtrak expands the campaign?
DA: Acela Express is ... based in the Northeast corridor. So from a business perspective, we're only doing this in the Northeast corridor. We are looking at doing something similar for our leisure travelers and considering a similar campaign outside of the corridor.
TM: How did Amtrak discover that these target segments were ready for this campaign?
DA: Our research department does various studies and [looks] at our various ridership. And based on what's happening with the Northeast corridor, they frequently look at the ridership, and research shows that those are two underserved segments. And, as such, the product ... is for any business traveler. So we wanted to specifically reach out to those two communities and just let them know more about the product so that when they're choosing business travel, they will consider the Acela Express product.