December 15, 2009 // Franchising.com // SAN DIEGO – The only thing better than texting is texting for free stuff. 7-Eleven Inc. is testing that theory with a mobile marketing campaign in San Diego. The test runs through Dec. 31, 2009, with approximately 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."
7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses some 8,000 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 37,100 stores in 15 countries. During 2008, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $53.7 billion. 7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #3 in Forbes magazine's Top 20 Franchises to Start, #3 among Top 100 Global Franchises by Franchise Direct, #3 in Store Growth by Convenience Store News, #2 in Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies and #29 among Top 100 Chains in Food Service. In addition, Hispanic Magazine's named 7-Eleven in its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S., and is expanding through organic growth, acquisitions, and its Business Conversion Program.
Founded in 1979, GMR Marketing is a pioneer in the practice of engagement marketing. GMR builds brand relevance with campaigns that resonate with consumers on a personal level by leveraging passions for sports and entertainment through the use of interactive channels of retail, digital and live events. A subsidiary of Omnicom and part of the Radiate Group, GMR Marketing is headquartered in Milwaukee, with offices in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlotte, Seattle, Detroit, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Parris and Beijing. GMR has received numerous industry accolades, including SportsBusiness Journal's 2009 "Sports Event Marketing Firm of the Year."