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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Restaurant Chains Launch Mobile Strategies to Reach Customers

Chili's Grill & Bar recently rolled out a campaign that engages its customers through SMS marketing and social media by offering them free food when they check-in through social media sites. In the short time the campaign has been live, I have seen many of my Facebook friends redeem their coupons through mobile & social networks. I think this type of mobile campaign will be a very effective way to foster customer loyalty, since consumers can be motivated by a reward and social networking use has exploded in recent years.

The Chili's model uses Facebook Places and foursquare as part of its mobile campaign. When consumers check in to the restaurant's locations between now and the end of May, they are eligible to receive a free appetizer. This type of mobile coupon offer will encourage consumers to visit the restaurant and sample more items off the menu than just a "starter," which will help to boost sales and keep this brand firmly planted the consumer's mind.

To redeem the mobile coupons, a customer would simply show the restaurant server his or her mobile device. This is an easy and convenient way for the customer to take advantage of the special offer.

Why include Facebook Places and foursquare as part of this mobile phone marketing campaign? The numbers make sense to the company: there have been more than 1.5 million check-ins on Facebook Places and over one million on foursquare. By putting its message out where consumers are, the restaurant is giving its brand a boost and encouraging visitors to order other items from the menu, such as drinks and entree items.

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