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Starbucks is 2010 Mobile Marketer of the Year

Starbucks taps mobile social media for Frappuccino

Starbucks knows that mobile makes social media an effective marketing channel

Starbucks Coffee Co. has been named 2010 Mobile Marketer of the Year, the highest accolade in mobile advertising, marketing and media.

Based on the nominations received from readers and submissions from this publication's editorial team, Mobile Marketer is convinced that Starbucks serves as a role model for marketers for its outstanding use of mobile as a marketing medium.

“Starbucks has proved that soigné marketing across all mobile channels is possible, tying customer branding, acquisition and retention initiatives into a strategic effort worth admiring from near and far,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

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“The coffee giant is most commonly associated with a coupon to drive traffic in-store, but an analysis of its efforts will show that Starbucks taps mobile for the medium's strengths: location, timeliness and immediacy, convenience and measurability,” he said.

“Starbucks’ brilliant mobile marketing, from conception to execution and measurement in a multichannel context, makes it a no-brainer for 2010 Mobile Marketer of the Year.”

Starbucks, L’Oréal break first location-based mobi

Starbucks is driving sales of its Via Ready Brew via location-based mobile marketing

The Mobile Marketer of the Year is the most prestigious honor for smart, strategic and creative mobile marketing. Team Obama won the honor in 2008 and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. in 2009.

Starbucks shaped the mobile marketing industry this year, serving as an exemplar to other brands and encouraging agencies and service providers.

“Starbucks has clearly shown that it is a pioneer in the mobile space and a brand that has realized the importance of mobile," said Paul Gelb, director and mobile practice lead at Razorfish, New York. "It always distinguishes itself with the level of insight it has into its consumers and the way it is able to create an experience that attracts and maintains a loyal consumer base.

Budweiser, Lexus, Starbucks target Pandora users v

Starbucks ad in the Pandora iPad app

"Given the nature of its business and the length of time people spend in its locations, and how people use Starbucks for numerous types of computing, whether it be using a laptop or, often, a mobile phone, the brand has made its offering a beacon for that, leveraging a wide variety of mobile experiences," he said.

Here is a breakdown of Starbucks' work in the mobile space, and why it is mobile top dog.

Building lists of loyalists
Starbucks is highly focused on building a qualified database of respondents to mobile campaigns.

The opt-in list is gold, since the churn rate with mobile phone numbers is minimal compared with email or postal addresses.

In October, Starbucks was among the first brands on board for a six-month trial powered by Placecast that relies on consumers opting-in to receive relevant messages based on age, gender, interests and – for the first time – their location.

When opted-in, consumers that are found to be within a geofenced area owned by Starbucks receive a text message offering them money off Starbucks Via Ready Brew at a nearby branch.

One mobile coupon from Starbucks offers consumers money off of their Via purchase.

The brand believes that, by offering discounts for customers who are close to supermarkets and its coffee shops where Starbucks Via Ready Brew is sold, it will encourage brand loyalty and drive foot traffic.

This promotion allows Starbucks to save the list of loyalists and remarket to them in the future.

Well-performing efforts
Starbucks consistently achieves a high rate of response to campaigns, thus proving deft use of calls to action and targeted marketing.

For example, Starbucks-owned Seattle’s Best Coffee’s mobile advertising campaign to promote its new canned iced coffee drove 139,000 users to the brand’s mobile site.

The vast variety of mobile ad units succeeded in driving consumers to an interactive landing experience compatible with thousands of mobile devices.

The advertising creative was outstanding, as the ad imagery conveyed the brand attributes and engendered high click-throughs.

The campaign included executions such as standard banners, animated multi-panel banners, text links, in-application expandable banners and full-page interactive interstitials.

Branding, customer acquisition and retention
Starbucks has consistently made effective use of mobile marketing for branding, customer acquisition and retention.

The brand has taken advantage of Pandora’s iPad application, which features new advertising opportunities.

Pandora’s mobile Internet radio platform provides the opportunity to target consumers across a broad range of segments.

Clicking on an ad unit launches a landing page inside the Pandora application, which allows users to keep listening to music as they explore more information about the brands.

The Starbucks iPad advertisement promoted the coffee retailer’s new “however-you-want-it” Frappuccino drink.

Clicking on the ad window launched a landing page that included a short, frenetic video advertisement for the campaign.

Underneath the video, a clickable graphic lead to a database where users could search through drink recipes submitted by visitors of http://www.frappuccino.com.

The campaign dovetailed with a Starbucks online campaign on Pandora’s Web site, which allowed music lovers to design their own drink, then generated playlists based on the beverages selected.

Mobile is part of multichannel mix
While standalone mobile marketing efforts are OK, Starbucks incorporates mobile into a multichannel plan.

Mobile's role in giving legs to social media, print, television, radio, direct mail, catalogs, insert media and the Internet is what makes it a standout medium.

In June, Starbucks pushed its Frappuccino drink in an ad unit within an SMS dialogue with voters as part of a sponsored call-to-action aired at the MTV Movie Awards.

The program was powered by SinglePoint. Hundreds of thousands of consumers texted-in to vote and were therefore exposed to the Starbucks ad, which thanked consumers for participating.

Mobile social networking
Starbucks was among the initial brands driving sales via the Loopt Star mobile social networking rewards game, which launched in June.

Location-based social mapping service Loopt's mobile rewards game, Loopt Star, is currently available as an application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. It lets consumers check in to compete with friends and win real-world rewards from retailers and organizations.

With Loopt Star, users play with friends and gain achievements, coupons and other brand-specified rewards for checking into specific locations.

The consumer who checks into any individual Starbucks the most becomes the “Honorary Barista” of that Starbucks.

In May, Starbucks ran the Frappuccino Happy Hour promotion, a location-based multichannel campaign offering discounts to consumers who express brand loyalty on social networks.

The Frappuccino Happy Hour promotion was highlighted across all of Starbucks’ channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Brightkite, foursquare, YouTube, MyStarbucksIdea.com and Starbucks.com, along with an in-store promotion.

Brightkite users had the opportunity to earn a Starbucks badge if they checked into Starbucks during the national Frappuccino Happy Hour promotion from 3-5 p.m.

“They can add this badge to their profile to show their friends how much they love Starbucks,” said Lisa Passé, spokeswoman for Starbucks, Seattle. “We're really excited to be trying out new and innovative programs with location-based services like Brightkite.

“Finding new ways to connect with our customers in our stores and online, guides the progression of our social media strategy,” she said at the time. “What’s great about Brightkite is that it links the real time in store experience to the online community.”

Starbucks Card Mobile application
Starbucks is not just leading the way in mobile marketing and advertising, but is also trail-blazing in the areas of mobile payments and loyalty.

In May, the brand unveiled the largest combined mobile payments and loyalty program in the United States.

With the Starbucks Card Mobile application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch, which is powered by mFoundry, users can check their balance, reload their card and view transactions.

In 16 select Starbucks stores in Silicon Valley and Seattle and at any U.S. Target Starbucks store—they can actually pay with their Starbucks Card using their iPhone or iPod touch.

In September, the brand launched a version of the application for Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

Last month, Starbucks expanded its Starbucks Card Mobile payment test to nearly 300 company-operated stores in New York and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island.

Starbucks is currently letting customers in and around New York pay for Starbucks beverages with their mobile phone.

“Our mobile payment trial to date has exceeded our expectations and the NYC and Long Island expansion builds on this success,” said Chuck Davidson, category manager for innovation on the Starbucks Card team at Starbucks, Seattle.

“New York City provides a concentrated group of stores in an important market for us and our customers there are tech-savvy and on-the-go, so it was an ideal place to take mobile payment next,” he said at the time. “Mobile payment is the fastest way to pay and our customers have asked us to increase the number of locations with mobile payment.

“Our goal is expanding our mobile footprint to give more customers access to mobile payment.”

Comprehensive mobile strategy
To be recognized as the Mobile Marketer of the Year, the brand must demonstrate a comprehensive mobile strategy.

A 360-degree mobile strategy is different for each brand. It depends on the product, the target consumer and what the brand is trying to achieve.

"What all successful brands have in common is where they start—comprehensive analysis and assessment of what the opportunities are across media, marketing, their owned assets, messaging programs and integrating mobile into other channels and consumer touch points," Razorfish's Mr. Gelb said.

"Those that tie it back to their unique product, consumer and objectives, that is when you have a robust, 360-degree mobile offering," he said.

Final Take
Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief, Mobile Marketer

"Starbucks breaks first location-based mobile campaign with major carrier"

"Starbucks taps mobile social media for Frappuccino promotion"

"Starbucks expands mobile payment trial to New York, Long Island"

"Burger King, Gap, Starbucks drive sales via mobile social network"

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Related content: Advertising, Starbucks Coffee, Starbucks, Chuck Davidson, Lisa Passe, Mickey Alam Khan, Mobile Marketer of the Year, Mobile Marketer, Starbucks Card Mobile, mFoundry, SMS, mobile Web, mobile Internet, apps, applications, text messaging, geofencing, mobile advertising

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