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Mitchell Group’s SMS campaign bumps weekend sales to $1.64M

Using SMS helped Mitchell reduce missed service appoints by 97 percent. The Mitchell company used Relay Station’s alert system.

“Aside from your clothes, the mobile phone is the closest item you wear and it’s known that customers respond better to text messages than snail mail,” said Hugh Paterson, marketing director at Relay Station, Amesbury, Wiltshire, Britain. “The Mitchell Group wanted to combine email and SMS broadcasting with traditional marketing techniques such as flyers and judge the results.

“Mobile marketing is transforming the way that organizations do business and how they communicate with their public,” he said. “A customer may leave his wallet at home, but not his cell phone. He may switch off his PC, but not the mobile phone.

“Brand managers are beginning to see that, so mobile marketing has moved up the food chain in any campaign.”

Relay Station provides communication services such as email and SMS alerts to organizations such as banks, charities and enterprises.

The Mitchell Group is an automobile dealership. Its primary target for this campaign was families.

In late September, a flyer was sent to a database of 14,000 pre-existing customers inviting them to a special car-sale event at the Mitchell’s Lexus, Mazda and Skoda dealership.

A few days later, customers received a follow-up email and text messages reminding them of the event and encouraging them to attend with guests.

Mitchell provided Relay Station with a list of about 4,000 opted-in emails and mobile numbers.

Mr. Paterson said that the principal challenge was to help Mitchell better interact with its customer base and to make sure that as many potential customers came to the three-day car-sale event as possible.

“Timing of sending out reminders by email and SMS broadcasts a few days before the event was critical,” Mr. Paterson said.

Relay Station has done many SMS campaigns in Europe.

The company ran an SMS campaign to drum up fan support for British soccer club Aston Villa.

Aston Villa tapped Relay Station to broadcast text messages to the mobile phones of opted-in fans, calling for their support. Aston Villa was pushing hard for a Champions League spot and had hopes of success in the season’s UEFA and FA Cup (see story).

When it came to results for Mitchell, Mr. Paterson said the auto dealer was stunned by the impact of SMS.

“Clearly, we have significant experience in running campaigns such as this, so it was no surprise to RelayStation,” Mr. Paterson said. “In just three days the Mitchell Group sold 90 previously enjoyed cars representing sales of over 1 million pounds – they had never seen such a result before.

“They then used SMS in other operations to remind customers of service appointments,” he said. “The result? A 97 percent reduction in missed services.”