Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"SMS is at the Heart of the Coffee Giant’s My Starbucks Rewards..."

Starbucks is 2012 Mobile Marketer of the Year

Starbucks Corp. is 2012 Mobile Marketer of the Year, the highest accolade in mobile advertising, marketing and media. The honor tops the Mobile Marketer Awards handed out each year for outstanding work that moved the mobile needle for brands and marketers.
There is no doubt Starbucks is a leader and one to watch out for in the mobile space. Instead of following in the steps of competitors, the coffee giant has implemented its own mobile-first strategy that is unlike any other and features the latest technology such as QR codes and augmented reality, as well as traditional channels including SMS, mobile advertising and applications.
“One word sums up Starbucks’ work in mobile: sophistication,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer, New York. “For Starbucks to be named Mobile Marketer of the Year twice in three years is no mean feat,” he said.
“It shows Starbucks’ understanding that mobile is not just the future of marketing, but also retail.”
The Mobile Marketer of the Year award is the most prestigious honor for smart, strategic and creative mobile marketing. Team Obama won the honor in 2008, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. in 2009, Starbucks Coffee Co. in 2010 and Macy’s in 2011.
What makes Starbucks a clear winner is the company’s comprehensive, 360-degree mobile marketing strategy that offers a number of different functions and creates an ongoing relationship between the brand and its customers. Instead of putting its focus on one single channel, Starbucks makes sure it has a presence on each and every one.
Take SMS, for example, which is arguably one of the most effective channels marketers can use to build an ongoing dialogue with consumers and drive brand engagement. Over the past year, Starbucks has used SMS quite a bit, not only to build its My Starbucks Rewards program, but also to keep opted-in consumers in-the-know about the latest offers and discounts.
SMS is at the heart of the coffee giant’s My Starbucks Rewards. To participate, consumers are encouraged to text the keyword GOLD to the short code 697289. 
Furthermore, to drive as many opt-ins as possible, Starbucks has relied on in-store signage and email to help ramp up its SMS program efforts. Through the My Starbucks Rewards program, consumers can earn rewards when they pay with their Starbucks Card. Free drinks and refills are one of the perks of the program.
In addition to SMS, Starbucks has used QR codes heavily.
The company’s approach to QR codes is quite different than other marketers. Instead of placing them on anything and everything, Starbucks strategically positioned the mobile bar codes where they would be visible to consumers.
To promote its Blonde, Medium and Dark roasts earlier this year, Starbucks placed QR codes on bookmark fliers that were handed out to consumers. When scanned, the mobile bar codes took coffee lovers to the company’s mobile-optimized site where they were able to watch a video and learn more about the company’s coffee.
Most recently, Starbucks used QR codes to help spread the word out about its Verismo products, as well as let consumers buy the products via their smartphones after they scanned the mobile bar code.
Instead of simply using one interactive technology, such as QR codes, to drive consumer engagement, Starbucks also dipped its toes in augmented reality.
Last year, Starbucks introduced an augmented reality app to bring its holiday red cups to life. The company continued its push on Valentine’s Day to once again, bring its limited-edition hot cups to life.
The initiative was a smart move on Starbucks’ part because it let consumers interact with their coffee cups in a new and interesting way. Another factor that sets Starbucks apart from other marketers is the company’s involvement in mobile payments. The coffee giant is one of the biggest players in mobile commerce.
Starbucks unveiled its mobile payments and loyalty application in 2010.
Using the Starbucks Card mobile app, consumers can check their balance, reload their card and view transactions. Initially, the program started with 16 select Starbucks stores in Silicon Valley and Seattle and at any U.S. Target Starbucks store and expanded to 6,800 company-operated stores a year later.
As of November, Howard Schultz, president/CEO of Starbucks, announced the company is seeing more than 2 million mobile payment transactions occur every week.
With its integration in Apple’s Passbook, Starbucks has no doubt proved that it is a leader in the mobile payments space and competitors such as Dunkin’ Donuts are following in its footsteps and rolling out their own mobile payments app.
Mobile advertising and mobile apps round out the company’s comprehensive, 360-degree strategy.
For every holiday, occasion and new product, Starbucks uses mobile advertising. The coffee shop chain realizes the potential of the channel and continues to turn to it to drive in-store traffic, sales and awareness of new products. 
Moreover, the Starbucks has mobile apps on a variety of platforms such as iPhone, iPad and Google Play, which are continuously refreshed to keep consumers up-to-date.

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