Oct 18, 2011
Buy 12 wings from chicken wings and receive six wings free. Buy any sandwich from local pub and get a free order of nachos. Take 30 percent off a spray tan at a salon.
Receiving deals like these is just a text message away. Text OHIO to 78601 to join My University Mobile, a program designed to help OHIO community members save money while living on a tight budget.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, text-messaging uses send and receive an average of 40 messages per day. Marlimar Interactive sought to use this popular form of technology as a creative marketing tool, and created the My University Mobile program.
My University Mobile is a completely free program. There is no fee to sign up, and users are not compelled to buy the daily deal in advance. One or two texts are sent out a given day, and users redeem the offer by presenting the text message at the time of their purchase.
The program is also permission based, meaning that users can join or quit the program at anytime. Each text message sent out includes instructions on how to stop receiving the texts.
“We don’t want to just take everyone’s name and enter them into a database. We want people to choose to join,” explained the company’s CEO Mark Highbaugh.
My University Mobile has been successful at many other universities. The program is in its first full quarter at Ohio University, and those involved realize that it will take some time to expand its database.
“If we are doing our job the right way and providing value to students and employees, then they are going to choose to stay on the program and spread the word to others,” said Highbaugh.
My University Mobile is not just a program for students. Kent Smith vice president of student affairs, urged staff and faculty to be involved as well. In fact, being affiliated with the University is not even necessary to join. The program is open to anybody in the surrounding area who would benefit from these offers.
Many local businesses have already agreed to be involved with the program. Restaurants, Laundromats, tanning salons, and even sporting events have been included in the effort to have as many different types of retailers as possible affiliated with the program. Since the offers are so immediate, usually lasting only one day, local business can see the impact almost immediately.
This is also a way to businesses they may never have patronized before.
“Students don’t always know about the local businesses that aren’t right on Court Street. If you have a reason to go there once, you can check it out and hopefully keep coming back,” said Caty Allgood, director of development for Student Affairs.
Those who join My University Mobile and local businesses sending out offers are not the only ones who benefit from the program. The University receives a percentage of the money collected by My University Mobile. This money will eventually be put to use toward student programs. A committee of students will be formed to make decisions about how the money earned through this program will be dispersed.
“You get a discount through text messaging and there is nothing for you to do other than show up and redeem the offer. It is on your phone, and these days everybody has their phone on them. I don’t see why people wouldn’t join,” said Smith.