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Ford Dealer Ad Group drives customer acquisition via mobile coupons

The TV spot asked consumers in the Louisville, KT, and Cincinnati areas to text OILCHANGE to the short code 53016 to get a coupon for a free oil change. Consumers replied with their ZIP code and were provided with the closest dealer locations to them.

“What’s unique is, once consumers selected which dealer they wished to get their free oil change from, that dealer was alerted via text message and had the option of following up with the participant,” said AJ Wagner, vice chairman of Gold Mobile and former president of Ford Motor Credit North America Clark, NJ.

“This was an outstanding way for dealers to get leads and potential new customers,” he said. “The customer’s information is sent to a CRM system so that dealers could return phone calls to interested consumers.”

Ford’s Dealer Ad Group’s ad agency Retail First/Team Detroit, formerly called JWT, worked on this campaign. The agency tapped Gold Mobile for the mobile component of the campaign.

The promotion was supposed to run for a month but ended after just 16 days because of the volume of participants.

By day 16, a whopping 2,900 consumers entered in the keyword and were added into a database for future marketing. Also 2,000 went on to complete the entire process and actually received a coupon.

Because consumers have a month to redeem the coupon and the time limit is not up yet, redemption rates were not provided.

Dealers are able to send campaign participants reminders right before the coupon expires, as a means of not losing the potential customer.  

Because of the success of this campaign, Ford Dealer Ad Group is kicking off another campaign, starting today.

Regional TV spots are promoting the call to action once again.

Consumers are asked to text the keyword DRIVE1 to 53016 to set up a test drive. Consumers that come in for a test drive get a $20 car servicing credit.

“Adding mobile to the mix allows customers to use their cell phones as opposed to, say, a Web site, making the interaction more immediate,” Mr. Wagner said. “I used to be with Ford and in the mid 90s I was a regional manager and that was right at the time when the Internet was trying to expand.

“People were saying no one will ever buy a car over the Internet and this was obviously a wrong prediction,” he said. “The mobile device is changing the way that consumers are able to interact with brands and vice versa.

“Mobile gives consumers total flexibility. They are not going to remember URLs to visit when they get home to the PC, but having their phone on their hip lets them interact with ads they see, right on the spot.”