Dairy Queen taps mobile tech for loyalty

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Dairy Queen has signed on to use a new radio frequency identification (RFID)-based mobile loyalty platform from mobile marketing company Tetherball.

The new Tetherball platform, released June 2, helps clients like Dairy Queen deliver permission-based mobile coupon, rewards, sweepstakes and notifications to consumers through an RFID chip, called a Tetherball Tag, which attaches to their mobile phones. With the chip, received after signing up for a store's loyalty program, customers can receive offers from the store via standard text messaging. Offers are then redeemed at RFID point of sale terminals and kiosks, which Tetherball provides to its clients. The platform uses Mobiquitous to deliver real-time analytics and reports on the mobile campaigns.

“The RFID program is making it easier for us to track customer behavior,” said Jamie Guse, Web site manager for Dairy Queen. “It allows us to see what we can do to create loyalty within our program, and what kind of offers drive and increase activity within a specific store. The great thing is, we can do a lot more tracking with it than flat text messages, where we don't get any redemption rates.”

Before working with Tetherball, Dairy Queen only ran an e-mail-based loyalty program called the Blizzard Fan Club, which has around 2 million members. It ran its first mobile-based promotional campaign in March, and reported an average click-through rate of 22%. The new mobile loyalty program will promote a broader range of Dairy Queen products, including the chain's latest menu lineup, Sweet Deals.

“This takes the Blizzard Fan Club efforts to the next level and really allows us to try other things,” Guse said. “This is a lot more flexible and more spontaneous, and it helps keep us more top-of-mind for consumers. Whereas with e-mail they have to sift through tons of messages, with this you get the text message and you can go and redeem it right there.”

Dairy Queen's traditional target demographic is women, age 24 to 49, with two or three kids, but Guse expects users of the mobile program to skew a little bit younger.

Currently, Dairy Queen has the Tetherball system up and running in select locations, with plans to roll it out further throughout the year.

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