Sun 20 Jun 2010
Text messaging limited time offers to loyal customers is becoming increasingly popular, and I found this article from the Dallas Morning News about Scotty P’s restaurant interesting for several reasons. Here’s what they’re doing:
"By "it," she means occasional text messages sent by Scotty P’s offering a BOGO or another food deal. But "it" always comes with a catch: It has to be used at lunchtime on the day the message is sent.
Scott Pontikes put on this test for The Dallas Morning News to show what typically happens when the founder of Frisco-based Scotty P’s uses an automated, mass text messaging service offered by another Frisco company, Call-Em-All LLC.
In this case, Pontikes (pronounced Pon-tee-kez) sent out texts at 10:30 a.m. to 64 customers who have designated the Preston-Forest unit as their Scotty P’s location of choice.
The first customer arrived at 11:15 a.m. with his text message on his phone in hand.
During the four-hour promotion, 11 text-toting customers showed up, each with at least one other person in tow. They spent nearly $200 – money the restaurant probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise."
Here’s what I like about their text message usage:
1. Local and targeted: Able to reach specific customers to drive action during a limited time usage – lunch, day-only BOGO.
2. The BOGO: Buy One Get One burger. The loyal customers receive a text and bring a friend, who might not so aware of the product experience. Opportunity to turn a newbie into a new fan. And the the loyal customer who got the text gets that hero feeling among the group staying "in the know."
3. Impulse product: Quick serve restaurants are a good candidate for impulse marketing like this, pushing a menu of proven high-frequency purchases with customers. Disrupt someone around lunchtime and get some incremental activity before the choice is made.
Here’s what I’d be careful about:
1. Frequent Discounting: At least the BOGO forces incremental purchase and bringing a friend in. (Unless you’d eat two burgers!). But generally couponing is dangerous needle in the arm for generating quick sales. It feels good short term, but if done too often, you train your most loyal fans to wait to purchase until the deal is on. So longterm, you’ve sacrificed the potential ring with the group that already believed in the brand value. When’s the last time you went into Bed Bath and Beyond without a 20% off direct mailer? When’s the last time you bought Coke or Pepsi products off special? Just sayin’. As long as you keep the offer a stimulating surprise that has other benefits (like trial with a potential new customer), then adding value like this (Not just discounting! There is a difference) can be a powerful ally in a balanced marketing campaign.