Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How not to do mobile marketing... Subway style

A friend just alerted me to this review of Subway's latest mobile marketing effort in the US. It's a tale of how not to do mobile couponing essentially. I suggest you give it a good read, but the upshot is that the coupons are only available in a few locations, namely Buffalo, NY and Seattle, WA markets. I can understand starting with some kind of pilot scheme, it makes sense to iron out any issues with a smaller set of customers before going national.

Anyway, back to the campaign. It's supported by the My Subway Mobile website and with flyers in store locations (where the offer is valid). The author of the article, Jay Holcomb, tells us about his experience:

"... despite my sincerest efforts, I had a very difficult time at both Subway locations where I tried to redeem my code that allows for a free sub upon creating account. Each location had the campaign flyers at the cash register, but the problem was to be found in the employees themselves: they had no idea about the campaign! I pointed it out to a total of four employees in these two locations, and no one had ever heard of it before."

A campaign is only as good as it's weakest link and clearly, in Subway's case, the staff were the weakest link. Or was it that staff training was the weakest link. There's no point dumping a load of flyers on your shop counter with the latest offer if you don't brief your team properly. That's something we learned very quickly back in ZagMe days and we spent a lot of time working with store staff and their teams bringing them up to speed with the latest offers and how it all worked.

Mobile marketing isn't just about the technology. The technology is only a small part of it. Your people, your brand, your service all play a part in it too.

You have been warned... don't make the same mistake!