Inmarko, Russia’s leading ice cream manufacturer, sought to grow market share and deepen its engagement with trade vendors, one of the brand’s key target audiences. Inmarko developed an SMS program that used codes to unlock rewards, enticing traders to engage more often with the brand.
Objective and Context:
Inmarko is the leading ice cream company in central and eastern Russia. Having been acquired by Unilever in 2008, the company recognized the need to do more to identify and engage prospective customers in order to increase sales across its 19 different brands.
Inmarko sought to develop a mobile marketing campaign that would help to grow sales by five to 10 percent in traditional distribution channels (small shops), and improve the effectiveness of previous campaigns which were targeted at independent small retailers. The campaign also needed to focus on improving the effectiveness of pushing new Inmarko’s products across its key segment by leveraging mobile. The campaign focused on traders and store owners who were making the purchasing decisions throughout the summer season.
Inmarko identified a clear need to win market share and recognition in what could be an unpredictable economy. The company was interested in extending its engagement with stores that already purchased Inmarko ice creams, as well as targeting a new range of traders.
The campaign engaged traditional trade channels, with simple mechanics and clear motivation for stores, while also creating a database of traditional stores across Russia that had opted in to engaging with the brand; both for this campaign and in the future.
A unique store coding solution was introduced, categorizing by store size and volume, allowing Inmarko to minimize possible fraud. Traders had to first register their store for a store code, provided by a Unilever sales representative, in order to participate in the promotion. Each of the stores was able to opt-into engagement with Inmarko’s mobile campaign by texting the store code to the number provided. In return, each of the traders received promo codes for new Inmarko SKUs.
With a seasonal product such as ice cream, Inmarko had to work to selectively place the campaign over the summer months in order to engage with as many stores as possible and record accurate findings for its database. As a result, their approach was tailored for the second phase of the campaign, in the summer months, with a hierarchy of different stores receiving varying mobile credit rewards depending on the size of the store. By identifying the customers through store size, they were able to find that “Store A” (250 boxes for five codes) was the most engaged, accounting for 37 percent of total registrations.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The trade marketing managers were able to follow the campaign 24/7 using the mobile marketing platform, Konnect. Through Konnect, they were able to design, implement and track the campaign in real time. The store and promo coding systems also allowed the brand to build additional bespoke reporting, another tool which supported Inmarko in controlling sales, understanding the performance of sales representatives and ensuring a valuable return on promo activity.
The call to action for the traders was to register by sending the store code to the number provided, via SMS message. Each then received an interactive voice response (IVR) call and was prompted to answer the permission questioning order to participate in the promotion. Their details were then stored on Inmarko’s database, and used to deliver them promo codes on products going forward.
Traders were then sent the promo-boxes which contained unique codes inside, which could be used to claim rewards. Stores had to redeem three to five promo codes depending on the store class. Each time a reward was claimed, the participating store received a call confirming their participation and informing the traders of how many more codes they needed to redeem to receive mobile credit.
The entire trade promotion, targeted at traders and stores, was done completely via mobile. Centering this campaign on mobile provided an efficient, direct communication channel to engage, understand and reward one of Inmarko’s key target markets. Recruiting participants by giving them the option to participate and offering a guaranteed reward was central to its success.
The most significant results of the campaign included a 13 percent increase in sales volume, almost double that of other Unilever campaigns in competing markets. The campaign also exceeded its core objective, with an overall ROI of 14 percent and the registration of 33,000 engaged and profiled traders who Unliever could draw on in the future. The campaign reached 25,356 stores, covering 51 percent of all ice cream traditional trade companies in the region.
Inmarko has had a great acceptance from stores, reflecting mobile campaigns as a good mechanic to drive sales, as well as generate a database. Unilever now has an extensive database of traders built with Inmarko to continue to engage one of its key target audiences in many different product range promotions.