Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Going the Extra Mile with SMS Messages

by justinolch
3 mins read

The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How text messages pushed the Silverstone race circuit into high gear before the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.Nestled near the villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury in the United Kingdom is the home of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, the Silverstone racing circuit. While you might be wondering what a motorsports Mecca like Silverstone has to do with your mobile or email marketing campaign, looking past the twists and turns of the track can give you the green light to unravel a story that starts with slumping sales and takes the checkered flag with a major boost for the upcoming 2014 event.

Putting the Brakes on Ticket Sales

The study starts with a look at the results of last year’s race – namely the ticket sales and not the action on the track. While the 2012 British Grand Prix was a rollicking success with 127,000 fans in attendance – which turned out to be a track record – 2013 fell far short of expectations. So what was the issue at the heart of the sluggish race turnout? According to Pit Pass, the economic downturn experienced by Europe and the United Kingdom was the culprit for this sales disaster, leaving thousands of tickets unsold and the grandstands sparsely filled.

The Mobile Solution

With the 2014 British Grand Prix approaching swiftly, the Silverstone race circuit officials needed to take a sales pit-stop and make some adjustments to their marketing campaign in order to bounce back and make the race a success both on and off the track. At the heart of this revamped strategy was mobile marketing. Essentially, those in charge of sales and marketing for the circuit decided that the best course of action was to target potential customers and offer them an on-the-go way to buy a ticket and come see the action live. Of course, the actual strategy was considerably more in-depth than this, but framing the process in this light gives you a good starting point on the roadmap to begin understanding how Silverstone connected with mobile customers.

How the Plan Unfolded

To start, the mobile marketers in charge of Silverstone’s strategy had to identify the audience most likely to purchase a ticket and come enjoy the high-octane Formula 1 excitement. Luckily, Silverstone kept a database of 45,000 race fans that had previously shown an interest in attending an event at the track . With these numbers in hand, the next step – building the message – could shift into high gear.As part of any solid mobile marketing venture, the message sent out to customers required a few key pieces to ensure everything fired on all cylinders. First, the bulk of the message explained the offer and then came with a link to a well-designed and functional mobile landing page. Once on this page, users could make a purchase right from their phone and lock in the ticket package of their choice. The other key component, which is required from any marketer looking to avoid penalties and fines, was the voluntary opt out service.Now that the message was ready for release, timing became the next key topic addressed. In what was undoubtedly the most effective part of the campaign, these texts went out immediately after the BBC’s coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix. By timing the messages to hit consumers on the heels of the latest Formula 1 race, Silverstone ensured that their sales pitch came at a time where excitement over the sport was at a high.

A Prior SMS History

Interestingly, this wasn’t Silverstone’s first foray into the mobile field. In an article on GoMo News, reporter Tony Dennis explained that spectators at the track were able to provide feedback on the race and accommodations in real-time during the 2013 Grand Prix, all by using QR codes and SMS texting. Having this data on the spot helped give Silverstone a competitive advantage and refine the race experience before the next event.

The Text Message Race Results

While all of this sounds great, you’re probably wondering if it actually had any effect on ticket sales. To put it plainly, the return on investment for this mobile marketing campaign was staggering. By reaching out to consumers at the right time, in the right way, and with the right message, actually lead to a hefty chunk of tickets being immediately purchased, and Silverstone experienced a 680 percent increase in ROI per message. If there’s any lesson you should learn from this story, it’s that having a strong message and capitalizing on the timing can help win the sales race against competitors that aren’t prepared to hit the ground running.

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