Domino's Pizza SMS Marketing Case Study

Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the recognized world leader in pizza delivery operating a network of company-owned and franchise-owned stores in the United States and international markets. The Domino's Pizza Franchise at UNC-Charlotte is an EZ Texting client.

Where They Started:
Domino's Pizza SMS Marketing Case StudyRyan Swanson is the Area Director for Prairie Pizza, a Domino’s franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina. Located near University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s campus the franchise primarily serves the 25,000 enrolled students. Mr. Swanson relies on data to make decisions so the first thing the franchise did was conduct focus groups to identify the best way to reach as many students as possible. Group after group revealed that Facebook was the place to engage. Mr. Swanson identified a target audience of “students who like pizza, who are price driven, and those whose loyalty to another pizzeria could be swayed. His goal was to attract every one of those students to the franchise’s Facebook group, where he promoted offers to interested students. Mr. Swanson saw the school’s basketball arena as the place to promote his Facebook group. Each game attracts over 3,000 students as the 49ers are the most popular team at the school.

Mr. Swanson’s franchise has successfully used EZ Texting to market to students since 2009. In early 2011, he realized that text messaging was the perfect way to promote his Facebook Group, and most importantly, sell more pizza.

What They Did:
Mr. Swanson had previously advertised the franchise’s web address, which redirected to the Facebook group, on the big screen and other displays at the basketball arena. The arena’s announcer read the advertisement while it was displayed. The spots typically lasted between 30 to 60 seconds. The problem with this approach, according to Mr. Swanson was that “most students are not going to jot down a website during a basketball game.” While many students have smartphones, he felt that they were unlikely to spend a couple of minutes during a basketball game to visit the Facebook group. “But,” he says, “taking a couple of seconds to send and receive a text with the URL of the group makes sense.” After the game ended they could then review the text and visit the Facebook group on their smartphone or using a computer.

Mr. Swanson now had a plan to market his Facebook group, grow his SMS marketing list, and do so in a way that was measurable. To kick things off he created a new ad for the arena displays offering a free pizza to anyone who texted 49ER to 313131, EZ Texting’s Short Code. They received the following response:

To get FREE pizza join our facebook group at once you join post a message (I GOT A TEXT) & you will get FREE pizza code Reply STOP 49ER 2 Optout

This ad, clearly a loss leader, was meant to prove the concept. Roughly 10% of the 3,000 students attending the game texted in within a few minutes – and another 5% did so by the end of the night – resulting in nearly 600 opt-ins. Approximately 350 students had joined the Facebook group by the morning. Nearly all of them redeemed the offer. The response to the advertisement confirmed Mr. Swanson’s hypothesis that texting would be dramatically more effective at driving conversions than simply displaying a URL. Mr. Swanson revised his creative for
subsequent games, offering deals like discounted pizzas. Every time he ran an ad he saw 100 to 200 opt-ins, nearly all of whom also joined the Facebook group to get the deal.

By the end of the semester the Facebook group had collected nearly 2,000 fans. They had also added over 850 students to their SMS marketing list. Being a member of the Facebook group entitles students to a discounted menu; being a member of the SMS marketing list is even better. Mr. Swanson sent marketing blasts through the semester like the following:

49er Fans get 50% OFF ALL MENU PRICE PIZZAS & Bread Sides All day TODAY for playoffs! Coupon Code (FACE50).Call us at -------

Coupon codes allow Mr. Swanson to measure the effectiveness of his SMS marketing campaigns – and each campaign has seen redemption rates between 20 and 25%. That particular message reached roughly 500 or so students, resulting in 125 additional orders. The cost of sending the message using EZ Texting was about $25 dollars. Over the course of the entire semester, the franchise spent $125 dollars on SMS marketing, resulting in several hundred orders.

Why SMS Marketing Worked
“The sales at the store,” Mr. Swanson says, “when we send text messages, or [use them to] drive people to Facebook, are unprecedented.”

SMS Marketing was the perfect way to accomplish Mr. Swanson’s two goals: growing the franchise’s Facebook group and selling more pizza. He had identified the perfect place to reach students – the arena – and the place he wanted to send them – his Facebook group – but it took text messaging to get them there.

In the fall, when students return to campus Mr. Swanson plans to continue sending campaigns to his nearly 1,000 member text message marketing list. As soon as the basketball season begins he expects to grow that list.

Learn more about SMS Marketing for restaurants.