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Georgia Natural Gas runs first mobile marketing campaign

Georgia Natural Gas launched a three-pronged marketing campaign that included sponsorship of SMS alerts, mobile display ads and a text campaign, all of which offered a Visa gift card incentive.

The company participates in traditional marketing including direct mail and billboards, as well as television and radio advertising. GNG tapped Local Solutions Network Inc., an Atlanta-based mobile marketing firm with a large local network of broadcast TV sites, to incorporate mobile into their marketing mix.

"We wanted to do something new and different and see what mobile marketing might produce for us," said Steven Vivian, marketing lead for Georgia Natural Gas, Kennesaw, GA. "It was an opportunity for us to complement our traditional media advertising."

GNG claims to be Georgia's leading natural gas provider, serving nearly half a million homes and businesses.

GNG wanted to better connect to potential customers and interact with existing customers in order to drive deeper brand awareness, increase traffic to its call center and ultimately, increase customer conversion.

The mobile marketing campaign, powered by LSN Mobile, helped GNG achieve its goals by reaching people on the go and in a manner that was convenient to them.

The campaign started at the beginning of May and lasted through June.

SMS alerts sponsorship
LSN powers text alerts in 40 markets around the country. People sign up for text alerts related to categories such as breaking news, weather, lottery and sports, and LSN can attach a sponsor to those alerts.

LSN aligned the GNG brand to weather alerts -- a logical fit given that weather and natural gas tend to go hand in hand.

In Atlanta, LSN powers WSB-TV's and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's weather alerts. The two publishers have a loyal following of people who receive their alerts, and LSN allocated to GNG a block of 50,000 text alerts split between the two.

Subscribers received a clickable link at bottom of the weather alert that read "Powered by," which took them to a GNG mobile landing page.

A click-to-call feature on the landing page connected consumers to a GNG client care representative If a consumer converted, he or she received either a Visa gift card offer.

Mobile display
LSN placed GNG mobile display ads within the weather section and home page on local news outlets' mobile sites in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Valdosta and Macon, GA.

Upon clicking on the mobile ad, consumers were taken to a mobile landing page where they saw the offer for a Visa gift card and could click-to-call GNG's client care center.

Text campaign
In order to better target Atlanta's Hispanic community, GNG sponsored Festival De Verano, which means "Summer Festival," on June 28.

GNG had a booth with representatives to sell GNG's service.

A flier was distributed at the event, which was also enlarged to near-billboard size above GNG's booth.

The flier, in both English and Spanish, urged attendees to text one of two keywords -- SPECIAL or ESPECIAL -- to a short code.

Through LSN's platform, festival attendees could text one of the keywords to the short code, and they would receive a Visa gift card offer back to their phones.

Specifically, customers received the text -- in either English or Spanish -- "Enroll with GNG by 6/30/09 and mention promo ?CINA' to get a Visa gift card" and a click-to-call feature, "Call 866-665-9464 for details."

Customers were directed to the GNG call center to speak with a Spanish-speaking customer-care representative.

GNG's first mobile marketing campaign was a success, according to LSN Mobile.

The company saw a click-through rate that was comparable to the results they typically see in an SEO campaign.

Yet, the bigger benefit was that GNG was able to interact with people who otherwise would not have seen or interacted with the GNG brand, according to LSN Mobile.

"Mobile marketing created a bigger brand presence for GNG, but it also provided an action component that allowed us to reach people on the go," Mr. Vivian said. "We were even able to reach consumers who don't have landlines and only pay their bills online."

In addition to being able to engage new customers and create bigger brand awareness in the Atlanta and surrounding Georgia markets, GNG was able to meet its other goals of driving traffic to its call center and convert customers.

In fact, GNG plans to launch a mobile component in its fall advertising campaign.

"For us, as the leader in the deregulated market of Georgia, we like to push the envelope," Mr. Vivian said. "We are always open to doing new and different things.

"We were one of the first to do mobile marketing in Georgia's natural gas industry," he said. "Mobile marketing is another touchpoint for us to reach a potential customer and our existing customers in a new way."