Summary: Our guide will look at case studies of firms who have succeeded with their viral text messaging campaigns
Many marketers may have achieved success with a traditional SMS marketing campaign.
Perhaps a mobile-only offer has reaped rewards with subscribers responding well to an exclusive deal which they could not get elsewhere. Or maybe a location-based SMS message sent to mobile phone users in a specific region has struck a chord with locals.
Whatever campaign firms have ran in the past, their success could have been taken up a notch if they went viral. By encouraging customers to share these messages between each other, firms will not only reach those not on their mailing list, but also get their own customers to act as marketers for them.
Our guide will look at some food firms that have managed to get their customers to go that bit further and forward on marketing messages to friends and loved ones.
In a bid to encourage young adults in and around Boston to enjoy their lattes, Dunkin’ Donuts began sending out mobile discount vouchers to around 7,500 high school and college students. The coupon entitled users to a small hot latte at a discounted price of just $0.99.
The campaign was supported by advertisements by local radio DJs, as well as 400,000 mobile banner ads on mobile websites frequently visited by Boston residents.
With over 1,000 staff members trained on how to redeem the mobile vouchers, the campaign was a roaring success with in-store traffic up 21 per cent and 35 per cent of customers revealing that they were now more likely to purchase lattes and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.
What gave their sales that extra push was the sharable nature of the messages, with 17 per cent of participants revealing that they forwarded or showed the message to a friend.
A similar campaign was developed by the Italian division of the doughnut chain, resulting in a nine per cent rise in sales within three weeks of its launch.
GianLuigi Contin of Dunkin Donuts Italy said: “We are directly reaching our targets with a message they can understand.
“Cellular coupons are not cute promotions, rather they are serious marketing tools that not only extend the brand but are also directed towards the people we want to reach.”
In 2009, Pizza Hut was looking to set its pizza and pasta dishes apart from its rivals in Pittsburgh.
It decided that an SMS marketing campaign would be the best way to reach out to its target 18-35 age group and, throughout April, offered mobile phone subscribers the chance to win ‘pizza for a year’. All they had to do was send the keywords WIN PIZZA to the short code 94253 and they could be in with a chance of winning a free pizza once a month for a year. Other prizes were also available including free drinks or a free single pizza.
With adverts for the competition running on television and the promise of free pizza for a year, more than 12,000 people took part in the first two weeks of the competition. There were more than 3,000 texts during the screening of the commercial alone.
However, the main driving force behind the campaign was the ability for friends to forward on coupons to each other. As well as driving further participation in the main competition, the viral aspect of the campaign also gave people the chance to guarantee prizes.
By forwarding the text to five friends, mobile phone users would receive a free two-litre of bottle of Pepsi and they could earn a free large pizza if they sent the text on to a further five friends.
What can marketers learn from these case studies?
So what can businesses learn from these two food giants?
Well, it seems pretty clear that their SMS marketing campaigns were not ground-breaking in themselves. Both offered discounts to a target market and promoted the competition through a range of media.
However, what turned these campaigns in to successes was their viral nature. By allowing messages and deals to be shared between users, firms saw their promotion reach a larger audience than they could ever imagine.
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