Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Good Food, Great Times and Smart SMS Marketing with Chuck E. Cheese

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 tasty food and the right SMS approach gave Chuck E. Cheese the power to boost its email marketing aspirations.If you’re a parent and there’s a Chuck E. Cheese in your area, you’ve undoubtedly found yourself in the car with the kids driving by, only to have them beg and plead to stop and go in for “just a few minutes.” Kids just can’t say no to video games and pizza – who knew? If you’re being honest with yourself, you probably at least like the pizza as well. However, this isn’t about that one time you snuck the last slice while the kids were playing in the ball pit. Instead, we’re going to take a look at Chuck E. Cheese’s other secret recipe: a great SMS marketing initiative that boosted the company’s email marketing campaign and kicked things into high gear for the family restaurant.

Creating the Right Marketing Recipe

To start, let’s look at what Chuck E. Cheese decided to do to get people in stores and spending money. If you’ve read some of our other posts on this blog, you know that email and SMS marketing can generate some serious returns on their own, but what happens when you bring them together? The marketing team over at Chuck E. Cheese had the same idea, so they got to work building an email marketing campaign that let customers opt-in by sending an email address to an SMS short code. This clever little idea turned out to be a classic example of the whole “two birds, one stone” concept. Not only did the company get customer phone numbers in the database for later marketing opportunities, but it also was able to immediately start shipping out coupons and promos to the newly acquired email addresses.

Instant Success on Two Fronts

Once this SMS to email pipeline got rolling, Chuck E. Cheese was able to enjoy an influx of new members to a previously lackluster email mailing list. Now, 5 percent of all new addresses added to the list come directly from customers who take a few seconds to shoot a text to the short code, which has a spot on posters, menus, and other places throughout the stores. By making things quick and easy on the customer – all they need to do is send a text with nothing but the email address – it’s no surprise the response was so favorable.

Surprising Connections between Opt-ins and Opens

However, that’s not the end of the story by any stretch. While any company would be happy just to have the results we’ve already covered, Chuck E. Cheese’s marketing campaign hit a virtual goldmine once the emails started rolling out to the text opt-in members. When compared to those who signed up online or by filling out an info card, the text group had a 10 to 20 percent higher open rate, as well as an 8 to 10 percent increase in coupon clicks. While all the offers were the same between the groups, this kind of reaction just goes to show that if you find the right way to reach out, the customers respond in a big way.

The Current Situation

Today, Chuck E. Cheese is thriving. With new stories popping up in Florida, New York and Texas, as well as rising stock prices, things are going good enough that other major holding groups are looking to swoop in and purchase the franchise. While you can’t say that all of these good vibes come directly from the hybrid SMS/email campaign, this tool definitely had a spot in the company’s revamped marketing approach that is clearly paying dividends.

What All of This Means to You

If you want to follow in the footsteps of the party-loving, pizza-cooking giant mouse, you’ll need to really pick up on a few key points that we’ve covered in this case study. First, finding the right way to connect with your customer is key. SMS and email marketing both have their perks, and combining the two is clearly a powerful strategy if you pull it off right. Once you’ve picked out your channel, make it easy on the customer and give them something they want – namely coupon and offers they can’t get anywhere else. With these tools in hand, as well as a willingness to stay in touch once you get the ball rolling, you’ll be in great shape to follow Chuck E. Cheese’s lead and get in on the good times.

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