Published on: August 25, 2010by Kate McMahon
Just as your favorite, ultimate marinara sauce is the perfect melding of select ingredients, so is an innovative marketing campaign. And on that front, Pizza Hut delivers.
Pizza Hut just launched a new campaign that includes “slashed” prices on standard pizzas and an ambitious effort that utilizes every aspect of social media – Facebook, Twitter, mobile ordering applications for iPhones and other smart phones and the hot new geo-location service Foursquare.
Given that five years ago the national chain didn’t even have a website for ordering on-line, Pizza Hut is now a leader in social networking with its customers.
Billing its products as “your favorite food,” Pizza Hut marketing chief Brian Niccol said last week the company also wanted to deliver “favorite value, favorite experiences and favorite thing you didn’t even know yet.”
That “favorite thing” would be extending its very cool ordering application for the iPhone to other mobile devices, such as the iPad and Droid. Launched last year, that iPhone app has already generated more than $10 million in sales, and Niccol expects mobile ordering to account for more than 50% of future orders.
Here at MNB, we often talk about the importance of forward thinking, anticipating consumer demands (particularly in the ever-changing internet/mobile age) and engaging your customer in innovative ways. (As the parent of two teenage daughters, one in high school and one in college, I can tell you that just about the only way to engage that generation is via a mobile device. I’m the only member of the household who still uses the telephone.)
The Pizza Hut iPhone app, for example, allows consumers to “create” their pizza utilizing drag-and-drop toppings. If you overload your pie with too many toppings the pizza explodes and you are warned to cut back on the pepperoni or onions. You can also customize your WingStreet chicken wings – bone-in or not, level of spice – accordingly. And while waiting for your order to be delivered you can a game called Pizza Hut Racer. If your local cell service/family plan precludes you from having an iPhone (that would be my dilemma), it’s easy to simply text your order to 749488 (749HUT) and receive a return text confirmation
In addition to its mobile outreach, Pizza Hut has more than 1.4 million followers on an active and newsy Facebook page and was one of the first companies to hire a full-time Twitter guru to file timely tweets.
The company is also sponsoring a promotion on Foursquare, the location-based social networking service which allows you to “check-in” to a restaurant, bar or store via your smart phone to notify your friends of your whereabouts. Participating companies reward multiple “check-ins” with rewards, such as being named “mayor.” If you’re appointed “mayor” of your local Pizza Hut, you’re rewarded with a free order of breadsticks with the purchase of one pizza. Not quite a free lunch, but as most smart phone savvy young adults would say, “cool.”
And “cool” is important. Pizza Hut and rivals such as Domino’s are competing with anyone who sells food for share of stomach, but they also are competing for share of “cool” - which is critical to many young customers making choices about the food of choice for a Friday movie night or Sunday football game at home.
Everybody’s got to be in the game.
Have you or your company tried Foursquare, Gowalla or any of the other location-based social networking applications? If so, please share your experience for an upcoming column by shooting me an email at email@example.com .
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