pancakes-call-trackingIn an effort to build brand loyalty and drive traffic into a local franchisee’s IHOP during slow days of the week, a marketing firm began an integrated media campaign involving SMS marketing, direct mail and outreach. Mobile coupon redemption reached 10%, restaurant traffic increased, and revenue jumped.

Objectives: Build brand loyalty and drive traffic into a local franchisee IHOP during slow days of the week. Build an SMS text list for future marketing usage.

Strategy: The strategy involved an integrated marketing approach using a variety of different mediums. Consumers would be encouraged—via these other mediums—to opt-in for a coupon via SMS. This coupon could be redeemed for a free short stack of pancakes on certain days of the week.

Tactics: The plan relied on a variety of marketing channels. First, Money Mailer sent out direct mail pieces telling people to text ‘IHOPFREE’ to a specific number in order to receive the free short stack of pancakes. Similar calls-to-action were promoted in radio and print ads.

Sending the text message puts consumers on an SMS list that allows them to receive future coupons and updates from IHOP and instantly provides the coupon for delectable, buttery, syrupy pancakes.

Now this local IHOP is sending two text messages each month to its list containing coupons and specific offers. These offers are targeted to customers in mid-week when in-restaurant traffic is significantly lower than weekends.

Results: In 30 days IHOP says around 105 of the coupons have been redeemed.
They are also seeing massive ‘upsells.’ For example, consumers that redeem a coupon for a free short stack are coming into the restaurant and purchasing breakfast for their entire family.

Additionally, the attrition rate (opt-out rate) for the text message list is only 10%. And most importantly, traffic on traditionally slow, mid-week days is also up substantially.

In Their Words: “This is really the most cost-effective way to reach consumers,” Ever Santana, IHOP franchise owner said. “It is low cost, easy to execute and it reaches a wide variety of people.”


The first thing that is striking about this campaign is the use of traditional media to generate mobile marketing traffic and interest.

This is instructive for marketing firms of all kinds.

Mobile firms should not be afraid to seek marketing partners in traditional channels. Nor, should radio, TV, direct mail and other traditional mediums be frightened of integrating and partnering with mobile and online marketing firms.

Additionally, this experiment indicates how SMBs can use mobile marketing. Even a one-location franchise can benefit.