Not long ago, a DVD and game rental kiosk company had grown its user base through ease of use, reasonable pricing, and convenient locations around the country. But for all of the company’s success, the sales and marketing teams were left pondering a sad truth: the vast majority of people that came within a few feet of a rental kiosk walked right by. Obviously not everyone walking into a neighborhood pharmacy, convenience store, or fast food restaurant is there to rent a movie, but team members were startled by how little attention the kiosks received from passersby.
The marketing team knew that increasing rentals and use of the kiosks among non-users wouldn’t happen right away. They decided to try increasing user engagement through a different technical medium: text messages on cell phones. In the summer of 2013, the company launched “10 Days of Deals.” During the promotion, users could text a keyword to a specific number and receive a coupon code ranging from a few cents to the cost of an entire movie rental. The promotion also gave the marketing team a chance to increase brand awareness through the text messages. The promotion worked as existing users and curious non-users alike signed up in droves. The ten-day campaign produced 200,000 new SMS subscribers to the promotions and resulted in 1.5 million new text messages between the company and its customers. Existing customers found their way to the kiosks more often while new, curious potential customers were incentivized to try the service.