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Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Learning More about Dunkin Donuts’ Delicious SMS Strategy

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 a freshly brewed SMS marketing plan made Dunkin Donuts a destination for the youthful, social population of Boston.

There’s nothing quite like a fresh cup of joe in the morning. While everybody likes it little different, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s hard to start the day without a nice cup of steaming hot coffee. With this in mind, you’d think that selling coffee to busy people heading to work is like selling water to fish out of the ocean, right? However, with so many top tier brands out there, companies like Dunkin Donuts have to go the extra mile with great tactics, like SMS marketing, to keep up with the competition. If you’re considering a mobile marketing plan for your business, taking a look at the success Dunkin Donuts found with this strategy can be a great way to get you on the right track to making a major impact on your audience via text messages.

Dunkin Donuts Is Still Around?

For those of you reading this here in Canada, chances are you’re wondering why in the world Dunkin Donuts would be the centerpiece of any sort of positive case study, given the recent decline of franchises across the country. Yes, when faced with the success of Tim Hortons, Dunkin Donuts has definitely fallen on hard times. In fact, there are currently only six locations left in Canada – all found in Quebec. However, once you go south of the border, it’s an entirely different story. In the United States, Dunkin Donuts is a thriving quick service chain that continues to grow and prosper, perhaps one day moving back north and challenging “Timmy’s” for superiority over where you take your morning stop for coffee.

Setting the Stage for a Great SMS Campaign

So just what exactly keeps Dunkin Donuts growing in the United States? At the heart of this company’s growth are smart marketing tactics, like reaching out to customers via mobile messages. One of the best examples of this takes place with franchises in the Boston area. As part of the text messaging initiative, the brand targeted young adults with mobile Internet ads and on-air promotions via local radio personalities to encourage this demographic to opt-in and come check out Dunkin Donuts the next time they were in the neighborhood.

The “Friendly” Approach

Aside from the standard pitches detailing the specifics of the campaign, like the SMS short code and opt-in details, Dunkin Donuts also tried to give these messages a friendlier feel by suggesting that members of the contact list share the offers and discounts with others. Additionally nudging these patrons to spread the word about opting-in by forwarding the messages to friends and family alike added a new dimension to the concept of building a text message contact list. Considering that traditional outreach only goes so far, tapping into good, old-fashioned word of mouth proved to be the tipping point for the mobile marketing campaign.

Taking Note of the Results

By connecting on this level with customers, Dunkin Donuts generated some seriously powerful results. To start, 7,500 consumers signed up to receive promos and offers from this quick service leader, serving as the basis of the outreach program. From here, 17 percent of these Bostonians forwarded or showed the text to a friend, creating an extended network of influence that normal campaigns just can’t generate. Additionally, 35 percent of the contact list noted that they would be more likely to pick up a latte at Dunkin Donuts on their way to work after reading the latest mobile message.

Of course, all of these numbers pale in comparison to the big one. Over the duration of the campaign, these Boston area Dunkin Donuts experienced a 21 percent increase in store traffic, bringing in an wellspring of new customers that quickly turned into daily regulars looking to grab a quick coffee and start the day off right.

Writing up Your Own Recipe for Success

Even if you’re not in the quick service industry, there’s plenty of juicy morsels you can pull from this case study regarding your own mobile marketing efforts. To start, sometimes going against the standard and making your offers open to everyone is a smart way to spread the word and bring groups of friends and family into your shop. Of course, making sure you give your contact list a gentle push in the right direction when it comes to a little friendly sharing can help get the message across in a pretty powerful way. From here, it’s all about making sure you keep the hits rolling with great offers and a constant stream of content that keeps your brand on the mind of every member of your targeted audience.

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