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Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Keeping Your SMS Engine Humming with Mobil1 Lube Express

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 Mobil1 Lube Express in Willow Grove Pennsylvania used smart SMS tactics to bring in customers and put an end to wasteful marketing expenditure.

Taking the car in for a quick oil change is something that most people probably don’t do enough of on a regular basis. The folks over at Mobil1 Lube Express in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania knew this, but needed to find the right way to connect with consumers and make routine car care a top priority again. With this in mind, let’s spend some time digging into the particulars of how the experts at Mobil1 put SMS to the test against email and conventional direct mail reminders, answering the question of “which is best?” once and for all.

The Grand SMS Experiment

This entire case study begins with a competition of sorts. As part of its overall marketing promotion, this quality automotive service provider pitted SMS communications against direct mail and email offers to find which method generated the highest return on investment (ROI.) From here, Mobil1 Lube Express could then focus on streamlining its advertising budget by migrating away from the strategies deemed inefficient by this program.

Enacting the Strategy

To begin the promotional outreach, the various Mobil1 locations in Willow Grove and the surrounding areas supplied in-store consumers and participating local businesses and civic areas with hand-out cards. After receiving a card, customers then opted-in to the program by texting his or her license plate number, as well as the short code “OILCHG” to the number supplied within the instructions. After doing so, the customer identified the preferred channel – either text, direct mail, or email – for receiving an oil change reminder and limited time offer for discounted service.

Tallying the Results

Over the course of six months, Mobil1 Express Lube compiled the results for each channel in order to determine a victor. In total, 2,187 of a possible 6,849 customers opted-in via one of the three selected methods. On average, 21 percent of the individuals who chose a traditional mail reminder returned to claim the discount offer within 45 days. For the email and text alternatives, this number jumped to 29 and 35 percent respectively, leading the marketing team for this brand to declare SMS marketing the most responsive of the three channels.

However, the team also found that the text-oriented portion of the audience didn’t just claim the offer in greater numbers, but also responded faster. When compared to consumers who received no reminder, the group that chose the SMS route returned an average of 8.4 days sooner than either the email or direct mail respondents.

Based on these results, as well as the costs associated with shipping out direct mail, email, and SMS messages, Mobil1 Express Lube found that texting with customers also generated the highest ROI. In fact, when compared to direct mail’s $24 return on each dollar spent, the $308 and $344 generated per dollar spent by email and SMS respectively proves that this comparison isn’t even a close one.

In case you’re wondering about the average cost of each channel that went into factoring these ROIs, Mobil1 provided a general breakdown that paints an even more unflattering picture for direct mail programs. In terms of SMS messages sent, Mobil1 spent a grand total of $0.20 per text to returning customer. While email was a close second at $0.24 per message to returned customer, the whopping $2.76 in supplies and shipping costs accumulated per mailed postcard proves just how prohibitive archaic marketing tactics can be for businesses on a budget.

Finding the Right Blend for Your Brand

Now that Mobil1 Express Lube did all the work for your brand, the lesson from this case study is clear – SMS marketing, when conducted properly, offers up the biggest bang for your buck. Additionally, email marketing had a strong showing as well, which in turn signals that a strong blend of the two definitely has a spot in many marketing budgets. Regardless of which of these routes you choose, the message is as easy to understand as the discount promotion offered by the team over at Mobil1 Lube Express; if you want to connect with your customers, the best way to do so is by sticking to the mobile technology they prefer and avoiding the costly snail mail trap.

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About Victor Green

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