The Greyhound Turnaround Story — Interview with Andy Kaplinsky, COO
THIS IS THE FIRST FROM A SERIES “MARKETING ROCK STARS” THAT I AM PLANNING TO CONDUCT THIS YEAR, INTERVIEWING SENIOR MARKETING LEADERS ABOUT THE CURRENT REALITIES OF TRANSFORMING MARKETING.
Andy Kaplinsky is the Chief Commercial Officer of Greyhound with responsibility for strategy, marketing and transforming the customer experience. Andy has a pretty unique — but cool — background for this role. He has a primarily Finance background, with his last role as the Chief Financial Officer at Greyhound. He was so passionate about the potential for transforming Greyhound, that he stepped out of the CFO role in order to roll up his sleeves and lead change from the front. However, given Andy’s Finance background, he takes a very data driven ‘value creation’ approach to marketing — an approach that I think others can learn from.
Q: DESCRIBE THE STRATEGIC (AND MARKETING) SITUATION AND PRIORITIES WHEN YOU FIRST ARRIVED AT GREYHOUND
Founded in 1914, Greyhound is a classic American brand. However, with the rise of cheap competitors, we had focused on price for too long, and under invested in the customer experience. Travelling with Greyhound wasn’t sufficiently differentiated from our competitors. The company was also facing multiple operational problems, including an outdated IT backbone focused on finance and capacity planning, but not serving our customers. Our people were pretty demoralized and our departments were functioning in silos.