ADD2096 Pure Promoter Ltd – email marketing software

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2096
Date signed: 
19 April 2017
Decision by: 
Emma Strain, Executive Director, Communities and Intelligence

Executive summary

The GLA uses an external provider to carry out targeted email marketing campaigns about the work of the Mayor and London Assembly. Following a competitive procurement process in 2014, Pure Promoter Ltd (Pure 360) was successfully appointed as the GLA’s supplier from April 2014 – March 2017. 

Pure 360 is now fully embedded across the GLA and is being used by various teams across the GLA at volumes exceeding the initial expenditure of up to £20,000. The GLA is happy with the performance of the provider and would like to continue to use Pure360 until the 31 March 2018, but requires approval to extend the contract.
 

Decision

That the Assistant Director, External Relations approves:

•    expenditure of up to £20,000 from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 on Pure 360 to provide email marketing services and make strategic improvements to our offering: and 
•    a related exemption under the GLA’s Contracts & Funding Code to compete such contracting opportunities.
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The GLA introduced a new email marketing strategy in 2014. Following this, a competitive procurement process between five companies was carried out to appoint an email marketing supplier. Pure Promoter Ltd (Pure 360) was successful and was appointed as the GLA’s supplier until March 2017.

1.2    Pure 360 is fully embedded across the GLA. Pure 360 allows the GLA to be more strategic in how it communicates with Londoners to ensure that they only receive information that is relevant and of interest to them. It also ensures we can track and optimise performance.

1.3    The GLA has been using Pure 360 since August 2014. DD1209 approves use of this service until March 2017 with an expenditure of £20,000 from 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2017. Due to Pure360 being used by various teams across the GLA which are sending email marketing communications in large volumes, we are seeking approval of expenditure of up to £20,000 to continue our use of Pure 360 until the end of 31 March 2018. 

1.4    The original expenditure forecast of £20,000 from 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2017 was based on email marketing volumes prior to a more targeted and regular email marketing strategy was in place, so email volumes and frequency were much lower. 

1.5    The GLA now has a structured email marketing programme and several teams across the GLA are using the Pure360 service, including the Marketing Team, Arts & Culture Team, Education and Youth team, Team London, the London Assembly’s External Relations Team, the Public Liaison Unit and the Intelligence Unit. The GLA now sends, on average, 350 emails per year (4.6m individual emails sent). 

1.6    Sending emails via Pure360 is charged per email sent and the GLA’s database of email subscribers has grown exponentially from c. 50K to c. 350K. Therefore the cost has far outstripped the original forecast. The current estimates are based on the GLA communicating with the c. 350K contacts on a regular basis depending on what the contact has signed up for. £20,000 will allow the GLA to comfortably grow our email lists and increase use across the GLA.

1.7    Section 4.1 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code requires, where the expected value of a contract for services is between £10,000 and £150,000 the services required should be tendered or called off from an accessible framework. Section 5 provides however, that an exemption from this requirement may be approved where the proposed contractor has had previous involvement in a project or is to continue existing work which cannot be separated from the new project/work.

Email marketing software and services were procured competitively from Pure360 in 2014. It is proposed, that the service required now will also be delivered by Pure360. This is because Pure 360 is fully embedded across the organisation and the work that we require it for (managing and sending email marketing communications) has not changed, but rather has expanded further across the GLA. This service is currently in use by Marketing, Culture, London Assembly, Team London, London Datastore and Talk London. It is an essential tool for managing all of our email marketing communications and to deliver our communications objectives. This service will be reviewed, in the context of wider strategic reviews, to take into consideration future priorities and to ensure that it continues to offer the best value for money and meets our objectives.

Officers consider therefore, that because of Pure360’s previous involvement, best value would be secured by the proposed award of contract to Pure360. The Assistant Director’s approval of an exemption from the requirement of section 4.1 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding to tender for the services required or call them off from an accessible framework is sought accordingly.             
   
1.6    Approval is being sought retrospectively as a shortage of staff and an increase in unexpected, but important, work meant resources had to be directed elsewhere. To avoid this occurring again, drafting of this paperwork will begin in January 2018. 
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1     The objective of using Pure 360 is to enable the GLA to be more strategic and holistic about how it manages email communications. It ensures that our approach reflects audience requirements, such as mobile friendly, relevant, interesting and meaningful content.  

2.2    The intention is to use Pure 360’s simple-to-use platform to continue growing our email programme, working collaboratively with them to ensure that we’re innovating and improving the service we offer to Londoners.
 

Equality comments

3.1    The general duty to promote equality arising from the Equality Act 2010 which requires the Mayor to have due regard to the need to “encourage people who share protected characteristics (which there are nine; age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation) to participate in public life or in other activity in which their participation is disproportionately low”. This sits alongside the Mayor’s duty, set out in the Greater London Authority Act 1999, to have regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote good relations between different minority groups.

3.2    The construction of all GLA marketing campaigns take into consideration the audience for which the campaign is aimed at.  In every case, materials are assessed to ensure they are fully accessible and in line with the public sector equality duty.
 

Other considerations

a)     Key risks and issues 

4.1    The success of the GLA’s email marketing strategy relies on having a simple-to-use, effective email marketing service. The risk of not employing Pure 360 is that it would disrupt the operative processes embedded into the GLA for the last 24 months, the collaborative procedures followed by staff and the successes delivered to date. A new procurement process would also require additional resource and budget, which is unnecessary. 

b)     Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 
    
4.2    External Affairs’ priorities in the GLA business plan 2015-17 include:
o    Deliver an effective and efficient public information service to support the Mayor’s and the GLA’s communication with Londoners (p71)
o    Deliver integrated marketing campaigns utilising both digital and traditional marketing assets, which allow the Authority to promote its work effectively and listen to Londoners’ opinions and concerns. (p72)

4.3    Additionally the GLA Consolidated Budget for 2017/18 includes the following key deliverable that is relevant to this work:
o    Engage in a better dialogue with Londoners to ensure that the GLA is responsive, delivers valued benefits to Londoners and ensures value for money by centralising the marketing budget to prevent uncoordinated growth bids.

c)     Impact assessments and consultations
    
4.3        The Marketing Team, Arts & Culture Team, Team London, the London Assembly’s External Relations Team, Public Liaison Unit and the Intelligence Unit all use Pure 360 successfully to deliver email marketing content. At this stage, External Relations is content to continue this multi-year contract through to the end of March 2018. 
 

Financial comments

5.1    The proposed contract cost of £20,000 will be contained within the existing ‘Marketing, Brand & Digital’ budget held within the External Affairs Directorate for 2017-18. 

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

July 2014

Announcement

August 2014

Delivery Start Date

April 2017

Final evaluation start and finish (self)

March 2018

Delivery End Date

March 2018

Project Closure:

March 2018