Dunkin Donuts SMS Text Message Campaign

Dunkin’ Donuts wanted to entice high school/college age students in the Boston area to try their hot lattes. They used text message marketing to drive in-store redemption of $0.99 small hot latte mobile coupon in the month of October. The SMS offer was sent to 7,500 targeted opt-ins. Boston radio DJ’s invited participation; “text in to DD-123” each Thursday morning. In addition, 400,000 Mobile Internet (WAP) ads ran in Boston targeted content. Over 1,000 Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners and workers were educated with marketing materials about how to help consumers redeem the SMS coupons.


The targeted WAP and SMS messaging coupled with radio created a 21 percent increase in store traffic and redemption of the mobile coupon. The SMS message promoted the viral element of the coupon. This proved to be a very beneficial aspect of the campaign, in that 17 percent of participants forwarded or showed the message to a friend. In the research subsequent to the campaign, 35 percent considered themselves more likely to buy lattes and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.

IHOP SMS Text Marketing Case Study

IHOP is connecting with consumers using SMS Text marketing. Consumers are encouraged to opt-in for a free short stack of pancakes.

Calls to action are publicized in Money Mailer direct mail pieces. Consumers are asked to text the keyword IHOPFREE to short code 686868.

IHOP is seeing a 10% mobile coupon redemption rate.

“I look at cell phones & text messaging – it’s the most widely used communication method,” Mr. Santana said. “There’s a low cost to get in, it’s easy to execute, it reaches a wide variety of people & to me that was the homerun of the program.

“The offer that we chose to do, I think it is a very powerful offer,” he said. “You have to start with something like that – once you get them in, you obviously have to wow them with your service.”

IHOP initially sent out weekly coupons, but found that sending texts four times a month was too often. IHOP has since cut back to two messages a month.

IHOP sends its Mobile Text Coupon offer earlier in the week when business is typically slower in order to get customers in mid-week.

IHOP also sends texts to offer a free dessert, getting consumers to come in for a dinner instead of a breakfast.

IHOP is currently working with Money Mailer, which helped them with their SMS text campaign. Mr. Santana is currently working with Money Mailer on a campaign for his Dunkin Donuts franchises.


Mr. Santana will also incorporate mobile marketing for Sonic.

“SMS gave me the opportunity to get more people in the restaurant,” Mr. Santana said. “I consider myself a mom-and-pop business & for anyone that wants to market themselves, SMS text is an efficient, low cost method.

“I’ve done billboards & this is really the most cost-effective way to reach consumers,” he said. “We haven’t really had a large number of people that have opted out of the program – 90% of the people that opt-in to the program, stay in.”

Successful campaigns

Money Mailer optimizes direct marketing results through integrated shared mail, one-to-one, & interactive solutions. The company worked with IHOP on its SMS campaign.

According to Money Mailer, mobile has been the best channel to extend advertiser’s coupon reach.

Steven Gray, COO of Money Mailer reports, “We’ve seen successful mobile campaigns – we’re consistently seeing conversion rates being 15-20%.”

“Mobile Coupons are one of the number one things that consumers are looking for with their mobile phone,” he said. “There is a commitment to mobile & a long-term focus to make this viable.

“At the end of the day, you are investing the opt-in database long term – that’s something that we continually strive for.”

Mobile marketing advantages

There is an increasingly attractive ROI, higher level of engagement & interaction controlled by the consumer with mobile.

The mobile phone is always on, always at hand & includes a built-in mechanism.

Additionally, mobile easily integrates into existing traditional marketing channels, like print & offers compelling campaigns with value the consumer understands.

You can mobile-enable & optimize your traditional marketing, especially print advertising.

For a successful campaign, brands should begin with SMS Text messaging, then build a mobile site & continue with other integrated mobile marketing initiatives.

IHOP suggests there are several keys to a successful mobile program, including commitment to promote campaigns, a trained staff, use of all media for call-to-action, relevant & valuable offers, respectful message frequency with no more than 4 campaigns a month.


“I think that the system that we’re currently using, it works very well for us,” Mr. Santana said. “I actually encourage people to send offers to their friends, even if they aren’t members.

“You obviously have to pick the right message that you want to send out & be comfortable with what you’re giving away,” he said.

Pizza Hut Text Marketing Case Study

Pizza Hut ran a Text Campaign during April 1-29, 2009 offering “Pizza for a Year”. Pizza Hut wanted to make its pizza & pasta dishes stand out among other brands. Pizza Hut’s target audience were consumers between the ages of 18-35.

The strategy was to quickly build a database using television. Fox ran the television spots promoting the shortcode & keyword with the call to action.

Coupling SMS text & great prizes, such as the first prize of free pizza once a month for a year & a second prize of chicken alfredo. Other prizes included Pepsi or a large pizza for forwarding to friends.

Friend-forwarding was also used to further drive participation & put individuals in control of their ability to win prizes, taking the element of luck out of the equation. By forwarding the text to five friends, they received a free two-liter of Pepsi & by forwarding to 10 friends they received a free large pizza.

Pizza Hut received over 12,000 entrants in the first two weeks & more than 3,000 texts during the commercial alone. The rest of the entrants were driven by the friend-forwarder.

The combination of a great prize – free pizza for a year – combined with other compelling consolation prizes that are easy to attain – free two-liter soda or large pizza for forwarding – with the use of mobile phones led to tremendous participation numbers.

Pizza Hut did not realize how popular & successful the friend-forwarding would be, with participation numbers much higher than anticipated.

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