Some innovative California Subway restaurant owners are experimenting with a new college-level mobile social network that allows them to offer mobile coupons to their college customers along side other social content such as school-related information, sports, and more.
The social network Subway has plugged into is lead by Hothand Wireless, who is offering specialized mobile social networks and content to universities across the country. Their approach is to offer targeted information centered around the school’s student body, along with local coupons, and be accessible anywhere with a mobile device. “The building of content, social networks and personalized coupons from local merchants “creates the eyeballs”, says Mr. Leet, Chief Marketing Officer for Hothand Wireless.
The networks began as a student resource for finding college-related sports information, school dates, and other social content, but as students become more comfortable with the idea of the networks, they became more trusting of local advertisers that support the network, such as Subway.
Another obvious reason for the push of mobile marketing to university students is the fact that college-aged consumers are far more apt to use and benefit from mobile coupons, and mobile marketing as a whole. They’ve already been using the technology for a while, and provides a perfect testing environment.
Hothand’s CEO and founder, Randy Jaramillo, said, “university students are a natural way to begin using mobile content and networking technology.” “This is more specific and targeted so that we can control it much easier without having to spend huge amounts of money trying to blanket everybody. We can create communities within the university, merchants and vendors. It benefits all.”
The platform is designed to give each franchisee the power to target very specifically, or on a broad range. For Subway, they could just as easily broadcast their message nationally, or allow each franchisee the power to design and offer their own coupon, etc. on a local level. Each store has a web-based interface where they can change offerings on the fly, or the region can control content as a whole.
Hothand Wireless aims to enroll 10 universities from around the country in its pilot program by September, so we’ll see just how successful the platform turns out to be. With so many SMS companies and platforms available today, I always like to see niche applications and uses such as this. Companies, and especially large franchisees just simply don’t know where to start when it comes to mobile advertising. Having a simple, all-in-one solution that integrates with other upcoming technologies like college social networking is the perfect solution.