Papa Murphy’s expands SMS effort to 26 states


August 3, 2012

Pizza chain Papa Murphy’s is extending its SMS program to approximately 550 franchises in the United States, some of which are seeing mobile coupon redemption rates as high as 18 percent.

Papa Murphy’s initially began testing SMS marketing in September 2010 with a test pilot program in Kansas City. Papa Murphy’s is working with Phizzle on this initiative.

“Our goal was to have customers come in, add another pizza-eating occasion to their week and drive traffic,” said Lindsi Taylor, director of corporate communications at Papa Murphy’s, Vancouver, WA.

“When we saw other brands doing it and having good luck with it, it was a no-brainer,” she said.

“We have instructed our markets to be as aggressive as possible with text [messaging] – we want people to act now with it.”

Quick eats
Papa Murphy’s reports that it has collected more than 100,000 opted-in users.

To promote the SMS program, Papa Murphy’s has placed calls-to-action on in-store signs, direct mail and tent pop-ups that encourage users to opt-in for local offers from the pizza chain. The company is also testing a few QR codes on print marketing that links users directly to a text message to sign up for the program.

Additionally, the company is collecting sign-ups from location-specific Facebook apps, email and Web promotion.

In particular, Papa Murphy’s has seen that text messaging is helpful in driving foot traffic during the middle of week when sales are slower than prime weekend times on Friday and Saturday nights.

On average, a Papa Murphy franchise will send out three to four blasts per month that are aimed at getting consumers to visit a store to try new products.

Mobile ambitions
The pizza market is a competitive space for brands clamoring to get a piece of the mobile pie.

However, most pizza chains are pushing mobile to help with deliveries, which is what sets Papa Murphy’s apart with its takeout-only business model. Papa Murphy’s uses mobile for its franchises to connect with consumers through incentives such as free products or to try new menu items.

Going forward, the company is looking to integrate its text messaging program with more with events such as the Super Bowl or March Madness when the company sees an uptick in sales.

Additionally, according to Kari Baker, director of accounts at Phizzle, San Francisco, the Papa Murphy’s program has gained traction since January this year, likely from the uptick in smartphone adoption.

Social media will also play an increasing role in mobile marketing, per Ms. Baker.

Social media and mobile go hand-in-hand together but the challenge for brands is finding a way to tie the two together to complement each other.

“More DMAS want to add in new social media content and tie mobile with social,” Ms. Baker said.

“In the next year we will see more contests that link social with mobile,” she said.