DDR presented its agency, Cohn Marketing, with a challenge; Develop an innovative, consumer-facing platform that supports current retail tenants, drives consumer preference of DDR-owned shopping centers, supports business development efforts, and doesn’t need to be actively managed on-site given the limited local resources. Working with the Cohn team and our technology partner, Placecast, I helped concept and bring to life ValuText, a real-time, location-based text messaging program.
Initially launched at 27 of DDR’s 500+ shopping centers (additional rollouts are scheduled for 2012), the ValuText platform allows consumers to opt-in via a text message or register via a mobile website for deals, promotions, or coupons from their favorite “mom and pop” and big-box retailers, alike. The beauty of the program is its simplicity. For consumers, there is no app to download, no smartphone needed, and they only receive offers when they are at or near a ValuText-powered center. For retailers, the program costs them nothing other than the time and energy to develop their offers and gives them another touchpoint to deliver relevant, location-based offers, and tailor those offers to specific demographic segments.
To create momentum around the new program, shopping center collateral was developed like in-store signage and out-of-home executions including sidewalk clings and banners. DDR also partnered with local schools and non-profit organizations to create an incentive based contest centered on opt-ins from their organization. In addition, Cohn conducted media outreach to garner press attention. On December 5, The New York Times ran a story titled “Text Messages to Woo Customers“.