Pierre Bourbonniere, Head of Marketing, La Société de transport de Montréal (STM)

SuperNova Award Category

  • Digital Marketing Transformation
  • Next Generation Customer Experience

The Company 

La Société de transport de Montreal (STM) is the 4th largest public transit organization in North America, with 250 bus lines and 68 subway stations.  STM serves approximately 1.2M daily passengers on 413M trips per year. 85% of all public transit trips in Quebec are provided by STM. In 2010, STM won the Outstanding Public Transportation System in North America award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

The Problem

STM’s publicly stated business objective is to increase ridership 40% by 2020.  To do this, we must not only attract new customers by enhancing brand recognition and awareness, but also provide more value to existing customers by transforming the user experience, information and value we provide; shifting ridership to off-peak hours; increasing the frequency of public transit use; and encouraging fare optimization.

The Solution

STM organized a series of consumer centric workshops to define a number of potential consumer experiences, and select the optimum use case. This use case was then translated into features and functionality and mapped to a set of capabilities. STM’s long partnership with SAP exposed the company to some advanced cloud solutions that met the needs of STM, and that we could deploy in the context of a co-innovation program. SAP Precision Marketing makes the core of the solution.

The Results 

The solution is fundamentally changing the way we serve our riders, and is transforming our relationship with local merchants, transportation partners and event/entertainment providers.  Prior to the STM Merci! program, our relationship with riders was solely focused on traditional subway and bus services – to provide fare and routing information, and enable ticket purchases.  Our relationship with merchants was purely transactional – receiving rents from those operating and advertising within STM-owned transit stations. 

With STM Merci, these relationships have been transformed.  We have become a ‘personal concierge’ for riders, not only for transportation (e.g., taxi’s, bikes), but also for shopping, dining and events throughout Montreal.  By matching our riders’ real-time context (who, where, when, what) and their declared preferences and interests with offers from our merchant partners, we are able to provide them personalized, relevant geo-localized offers in real time straight to their mobile devices.  Because our partners are now able to inform and influence riders at the moment of decision, we are creating a new, higher value channel for them, characterized by increased offer conversion rates and larger transaction sizes.  Furthermore, we are able to provide them metrics on their promotions, and insights on their customers, so that they can optimize their marketing investments.

The Technology

SAP Precision Marketing from SAP is the solution at the heart of STM’s initiative, called STM Merci!.  This is a cloud-based B2B2C solution that sits between and integrates to our mobile application with our back-end CRM system and our merchant offer portal via APIs.


STM Merci! has dramatically enhanced STM’s image and brand with local merchants and riders.  Partner interest far exceeded expectations – over 340 merchants have committed to the initiative, from leading stores to corner stores, from grocery stores to specialty shops, from retailers to entertainment providers, from city center to suburbs.  48 hours after launch, consumer adoption was stellar.  The STM Merci mobile app was #1 on the App Store in Canada under lifestyle.  There were over 6,200 unique sessions, over 325,000 promotions were sent, and offer conversion rates on personalized offers peaked at 47%.  Since the launch in early May, the results are validating the promise of the STM Merci initiative and the underlying solution, SAP Precision Marketing.  Consumer adoption continues to grow, based on word-of-mouth only and no marketing budget. In the first 3 weeks, over 1 million consumer impressions were delivered. 

Consumers are showing their willingness to share profile interest if they get relevant, high value offers in exchange – over 50% of all users have completed their profile and preferences.  Large volumes are making this marketing channel relevant to merchants, as more than 900,000 offers have been sent.  And we’re seeing substantial impact on consumer behavior – the top 10 offers enjoy an overall conversion rate of up to 33% and on average, 24% of the coupons seen by consumers are validated.

Disruptive Factor

The STM Merci! initiative, enabled by SAP Precision Marketing allows STM to become an end-to-end ‘destination’ site in the greater Montreal area – a single mobile app that riders can use for their transportation, shopping, entertainment and information needs.  Further, it is providing a new revenue stream for STM and a new, more effective channel for our partners to drive revenue.  STM is the first in the public transportation industry to do this, setting us apart from our colleagues across the globe.

Shining Moment

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, mentioned to Jim Cramer on Mad Money (CNBC) the cool things STM and SAP are doing in Montréal to enhance the everyday lives of consumers.


Société de transport de Montréal (STM) develops and operates an integrated bus and métro system, as well as paratransit service, for the benefit of its customers. The métro system comprises four lines serving 68 stations, while the bus network covers the island of Montréal, an operating area of 500 km2. STM provides 412.6M passenger rides in 2012, which translates into some 1.3 million rides per day. The company handles over 80% of all public transportation in the Montréal area, representing more than 70% of all public transit use in Québec.

STM has almost 9,500 employees. In 2013, its budget totalled $1.3B, while the replacement value of its assets is estimated at over $14.5B. Of the many national and international distinctions it has earned, STM was named Best Public Transportation System in North America by the American Public Transportation Association in 2010, and took top honours from the Fédération des Chambres de commerce du Québec with two Mercuriades awards for its productivity increase and sustainable development.