7-Eleven Inc. is testing a new mobile marketing campaign in San Diego where customers can text for free stuff. The test runs through Dec. 31, 2009, with some 200 7-Eleven stores participating.
During this time, local residents can send an SMS (Short Message Service) text with the word “FAST” (in Spanish, “RAPIDO”) to “72579.” In response, they will receive a message informing them which of 7-Eleven’s best-selling beverages they have won.
Four of the convenience retailer’s most popular drinks are featured in the test – a free Slurpee frozen carbonated beverage, Big Gulp fountain drink, fresh-brewed hot coffee and the latest proprietary drink, Iced Coffee. The promotion is limited to one free beverage per day at participating 7-Eleven stores.
For millions of Americans under the age of 34, texting has become a preferred method of mobile communication, in some instances replacing phone calls. According to a 2008 Nielsen study, the number of SMS text messages sent has surged ahead of voice calls. The report found that U.S. mobile subscribers sent and received on average 357 text messages per month, compared with making and receiving 204 phone calls a month.
“7-Eleven appeals to customers who are busy and on the go,” said Rita Bargerhuff, 7-Eleven vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our marketing programs try to reach them where they are – by radio and outdoor when they’re in the car, at movies and sporting events, or online at Facebook, Twitter and slurpee.com. Mobile marketing is the next step to reach our target customers – the millennials who don’t go anywhere without their phones.”
The text message offers recipients two ways to redeem their coupons at participating 7-Eleven stores. Customers with Internet access on their wireless devices will be able to click through to a screen displaying a UPC bar code, which can be scanned at the cash register. For other wireless users, the 7-Eleven sales associate can enter the selected numeric code on the cash register for redemption. The codes are only good for the free beverage indicated in the coupon. The message also includes an invitation to receive future text messages with 7-Eleven news and offers. Recipients can opt in by replying “YES.”
The mobile marketing test is supported by both general and Hispanic-targeted radio, outdoor and mobile advertising. Participating 7-Eleven stores will communicate the promotion with bilingual point-of-purchase signage.
The mobile couponing platform was designed and is being executed by GMR Marketing.“7-Eleven’s mobile test is the optimum use for our proprietary UPC bar code technology,” said T.J. Person, senior vice president of Mobile Marketing Strategy for GMR Marketing. “Besides gathering valuable consumer insights, the quick-scan and numeric codes give consumers a quick and easy way to enjoy a free beverage, compliments of 7-Eleven.”