Dial L for Customer Loyalty | Adweek
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Dial L for Customer Loyalty

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In a world where the masses skip commercials and miss seeing guerilla marketing stunts because they're consuming media or tweeting, brands are missing out on an opportunity to win the allegiance of their customers through mobile marketing.
 
Consumers today have a long list of options when it comes to picking the mobile device that best meets their needs. And once the selection is made, the choices don't end. Many consumers spend hours personalizing their devices to meet their needs. You might have added TweetDeck or Facebook or perhaps the ESPN or Google apps to your phone. It's apparent that the customization process has now been extended to brands.
 
Recently, we conducted a survey of consumers asking if they would be interested in participating in a mobile customer loyalty program from a brand they trust. What we found is that 37 percent said yes. When you take into account that in the U.S. there are more than 286 million mobile subscribers, this figure represents a huge opportunity. It gets even more interesting when you consider the following -- 83 percent of the respondents said they continue to wait for brands to knock on their doors.

So why the hesitation from many marketers? Could it be an unwillingness to stray from traditional practices?
 
Some brands have taken the plunge, tapping into the mobile device in innovative ways that extend beyond merely sending their key messages to the third screen. What they have achieved may surprise you.
 
HBO, for instance, was looking to drive awareness and purchases of a pay-per-view telecast for the Mayweather-Marquez fight with Hispanic prospects. The network prompted consumers to text "pelea" ("fight") to a short code for a chance to win a signed boxing glove. Those who texted received an SMS message inviting them to join the HBO Mobile VIP club. An impressive 12.9 percent of consumers clicked the link in the text and nearly 70 percent of those that did opted into the VIP club. This left HBO with a valuable database of loyalists who can be reached again.
 
Target is using mobile coupons to drive sales and build loyalty. Consumers can "opt in" by registering at the company's online or mobile Web sites, or by texting the word "coupons" to 827438. Coupons, which will be issued on a monthly basis, can be redeemed right at checkout, no scissors required. The move follows a new Yankee Group report stating that 73 percent of mobile subscribers wish to receive mobile coupons. The report also says that
mobile coupon redemption will increase tenfold in 2010, followed by triple-digit increases in both 2011 and 2012. With those figures in mind it's easy to see what sparked Target to make the move.
 
Brands like Dairy Queen are also going the mobile loyalty route, this time using RFID-powered loyalty stickers that consumers can attach to their phones. The programs ask customers to sign up through their phone to receive a text message from the brand. Text messages are then sent whenever promotional offers are introduced. Recipients can then redeem offers at their local Dairy Queen by waving the sticker near the restaurant's automated payment device. At that point the ID number on the tag is captured and transmitted to an online system after which the discount is approved and automatically applied to the purchase. By leveraging RFID, Dairy Queen expects to obtain a better understanding of their customers -- likes, dislikes, etc. -- which will ultimately translate into better service and
increased loyalty.
 
Even music groups like the band Def Leppard are getting into the act by interacting with consumers through Bluetooth-enabled proximity marketing. While Def Leppard and your brand may seem to have nothing in common, the

fact is that in the multichannel marketing world, where messages are being projected on multiple fronts, the once-heralded British rock gods have recognized what might be the key for your business: today's marketing campaigns must extend to the mobile device, using the medium not just as a platform to reinforce core messages but as a venue where they can meet the unique needs of the customer through mobile coupons, mobile gift cards, special promotions and more. What they will find is that their targets are waiting and their loyalty may not be far behind.

Jeff Hasen is CMO at Hipcricket. He can be reached at jhasen@hipcricket.com.