Near Brilliant Campaign turns into Mobile Spam

In what could have been a brilliant marketing campaign, Heartland Jiffy Lube found out the hard way that mobile marketing must be integrated with other marketing methods in order to be successful.

As noted by Derek Johnson of Tatango, “TextMarks and their co-defendant, Heartland Automotive Services, the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in America, have reached a proposed settlement with consumers for the text message spam they sent to mobile phones during April of 2011. The proposed settlement of $47M is to my knowledge the largest in the history of text message spam lawsuits.”

You can see what happened by reading this excerpt of the settlement document, which you can read in full here.

So, Heartland Jiffy Lube had a great idea to get former customers back into their shops for service. They offered these former customers a substantial discount for doing so and for joining their Eclub. This is actually a brilliant idea. Where it all went wrong is that they used mobile marketing as the marketing tool for the campaign.

By sending out an unwanted text message as the initial offer for the discount and the invitation to join the Eclub, they violated actual laws (see the full settlement) and the first of the 10 Commandments of Mobile Marketing: Thou shall not send mobile spam.

Had they sent out a direct mail postcard to these former customers with the substantial discount and the Eclub opt-in information, this could have been a brilliant marketing campaign. The campaign was a great idea. The way they went about getting opt-ins is what failed.

Heartland Jiffy Lube marketers should have been able to see this was a flawed idea by simply asking themselves if they would like to receive an unwanted text message on their phone.

Their text message company, TextMarks, should never have allowed a list of mobile phone numbers to be uploaded into their system. This is a dangerous practice and should not be allowed by any text message company as there is too much room for error…and lawsuits.

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