Case study – Trainline & Acquire Digital Talent

No specialist Digital Marketing internal recruiter? No problem.

Here’s how Acquire Digital Talent provided a solution to Trainline that allowed hiring and business growth to continue as normal…

Background info

Trainline is an innovative, tech business with a mission to make travel as simple, seamless and affordable as possible. They’re proud to be Europe’s leading independent train and coach platform and rank among the highest-rated travel and ticketing apps globally. Today, they offer their customers travel to thousands of destinations in and across 45 countries in Europe and beyond. That’s more than £2.3 billion in ticket sales annually, and over 80 million visits to their apps and websites each month. They’re driven to sustain their phenomenal growth from recent years, and this means they’re always working closely and collaboratively to turn ideas into reality. It’s this sense of pace, innovating and improving pretty much everything they do, that makes Trainline so exciting and unique – they truly believe their work has a genuine impact and will change travel for the better.

What was the problem?

Trainline has a well-established in-house recruitment team, however with the volume of roles coming in areas such as Development, Product, and Data Science, they didn’t have a recruitment expert within the Digital Marketing space during a period of hiring growth across several Performance Marketing channels such as PPC, Paid Social, Programmatic Display, SEO, Affiliates, Ad Ops, and Mobile Marketing.

They found the search for a Talent Acquisition Manager with a strong network within Digital Marketing challenging, and therefore needed to fill this gap in order to meet hiring plans and business objectives.

During months of searching for the right Talent Acquisition Manager, Alex Marriner from Acquire Digital Talent stepped in to the rescue.

The solution provided

Trainline partnered with Acquire Digital Talent on a retained basis meaning Alex became an extension of the existing internal talent team. This provided the necessary time for relationships to be forged with hiring managers whilst deep searches of the market were achieved, unearthing exciting talent from leading tech and app first businesses.

Acquire Digital Talent also utilised their unique video interviewing platform which meant managers weren’t bogged down with numerous initial telephone interviews as this was taken care of by Alex and then sent to each manager to watch at a more convenient time.

This also meant that candidates who were invited for an in-person interview at the Trainline HQ in Central London were better aligned to not only the vacancy but the company culture too.

What was the outcome?

During this project, 18 critical hires were made across different Performance Marketing teams with some hires being promoted after only a few months in the role, and all those hired remain within the business today.

This has allowed those Performance Marketing teams to continue developing market leading customer acquisition, engagement, and retention campaigns.

The future relationship stays strong

Once a suitable Talent Acquisition Manager was found, they had a lengthy notice period, but having Alex in place provided hiring to continue as normal.

Even after the new Talent Acquisition Manager joined the internal recruitment team, they were tasked with hiring in other areas of the business alongside Marketing, therefore the business decided to keep Acquire Digital Talent on hand and remains their only external agency partner for Digital Marketing hires.

Quotes from senior stakeholders at Trainline;

Alex has been an embedded Consultant with us at Trainline as we scaled our Marketing function. Alex has consistently delivered results, hired niche roles within some very competitive sectors, and also been a great external representative of Trainline’s brand. His domain knowledge within the Marketing sector is excellent, and thus his credibility with internal stakeholders was evident quickly. I would gladly work with Alex again in the future, he has been very easy to work with overall.”

-HR & Talent Director

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Alex on a number of SEO roles covering both technical and content specialisms. What’s truly impressed me his is dedication to teasing out the requirements of the role but that of the candidate as well. Through his huge network of contacts, we’ve filled the final few vacancies in the team fast and with great talent. He’s active on all platforms and incredibly invested in digital which helps with a broad understanding of the industry and trends. He’s been incredibly supportive with a hands-on approach throughout the hiring process. He’s also brought a whole new level of engagement not only internally but outwardly facing as well through content and social. He’s a professional from start to finish and his experience and knowledge has help close several hires.

-Head of SEO

Alex is a top-class recruiter. He understands digital marketing better than most and with the right input, can find relevant & highly talented candidates quickly. Alex asks us the right questions and helps filter ahead of interview stage so when I am meeting a candidate, I’m confident that person is a good fit with experience that fits the brief. I would not hesitate in recommending Alex (with his huge network of digital marketers and in-depth understanding of the sector) to any business looking to replace and/or scale their digital marketing headcount.

-Head of Paid Search

If you’d like more information on how Acquire Digital Talent can support your Digital Marketing hiring plans to allow your business to grow and flourish, please get in touch with Alex Marriner:


T: 07583 648 612


Twitter: @AlexMarriner & @TalkToAcquire