Valvoline’s Oil Change Mobile Marketing

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Lexington, Kentucky-based Valvoline Instant Oil Change, a leader in the U.S. quick lube market, has launched a multifaceted opt-in mobile marketing program that includes SMS, mobile coupons, email, store landing pages, website promotion, and search engine marketing.

The program also includes mobile-optimized landing pages, store locators and email for easier viewing on mobile devices. The program was developed by Valvoline’s long-time partner Catalyst, direct and digital agency in Rochester, N.Y..

“Many companies want to explore mobile marketing but they’re concerned about making a large strategic investment before they know if it will work,” says Meghan St. Onge, senior program manager, who develops and manages digital and direct marketing programs for the 858 Valvoline Instant Oil Change service centers. “We designed a relatively simple and inexpensive test to determine whether mobile offers would be welcomed by VIOC customers.

“The test did show conclusively that a significant percentage of VIOC customers would opt in for mobile offers, including SMS and mobile coupons.”

Peter Platt, Catalyst chief digital officer, said that many companies are intrigued by the bells and whistles of mobile apps, “but sometimes forget to make sure these fit into the overall marketing strategy.

“You can develop the coolest app around, but then you have to fight to get it noticed,” Platt says. “To date, only 21% of cell phone customers use Smartphones, and only 8% of those use iPhones. There are thousands of apps in the market.

“It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of an app and lose sight of the bigger marketing goal: Does it make it easier for customers to communicate with me? Does it improve the brand experience? Usually, simple is best.”

Platt says that more and more companies are developing mobile-friendly sites, “but they often forget about email and landing pages. Many Smartphone users now read email on their phones. If it’s not easy for them to do so, you can lose the sale.”

St. Onge says that Valvoline Instant Oil Change, developed several mobile customer touchpoints, including mobile-optimized landing pages, email and store locators.

“It’s simply another way we make it easy for customers to interact with the brand,” says St. Onge. “We let the customer decide how they want to be contacted and make it easy for them to do so. It’s a huge competitive differentiator.”

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