Masterclassing Connect

Case Study - Using Mobile to Deliver Public Services More Efficiently

David Murphy

Incent_gla_recycle01sm Client: Greater London Authority

Brand: Various initiatives

Agency: Incentivated

In February 2005, the Greater London Authority (GLA) put out a tender for a mobile marketing solution that could be used to deliver a number of initiatives targeting people living in London, as part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s e-Government initiative to make local authority services available to the public online.

The solution had to be capable of delivering and receiving images to and from mobile handsets. It also needed to include postcode and email address validation from a text message; a working location-based solution connected to the main networks; and a real-time online reporting tool, together with the skills to integrate seamlessly with a number of GLA databases.

The initial tender led to a shortlist of five companies, from which Incentivated was chosen to provide the solution, partly because of its iris mobile marketing platform, but also because of the company’s approach of offering free consultancy alongside its technical offering.

Iris has a single interface that can be used on any PC, enabling two-way interaction with customers’ mobile phones. Messages can be sent using MMS, WAP Push, SMS and email, from shortcodes, or alphanumeric originators. Functionality includes Find my Nearest, using location-based services or a postcode file; Ticket request by SMS; eBrochure request by SMS, (an HTML email is sent to their email in response to a text message response to an ad.); Text & win; and more.

Iris has been used initially on four projects. The first centred on The State of London Debate, which took place in June. Londoners could order tickets for this annual mayoral conference by texting their house number, postcode and number of tickets requested to a dedicated shortcode, 62927, which spelt out ‘MAYOR’ on the keypad.

The full postal address was formed with reference to the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF), and sent back to the applicant as a text message, together with the number of tickets requested, for the applicant’s confirmation. In addition, a text reminder about the event was sent out to everyone who applied for tickets via mobile, the day before the event.

Of 2,000 tickets given away, 10% were applied for via mobile, at less cost to fulfil than other methods. The GLA has since replicated the process for other events.

Mobile was also used in Mayor Ken Livingstone’s ‘One London’ campaign, following the July terrorist attacks in the capital. Londoners were asked to text LONDON to a premium SMS shortcode, in order to download a wallpaper image of the One London logo. By the beginning of October, 3,000 people had done so.

Recycle for London is using mobile to enable Londoners to find out more about local recycling facilities by texting RECYLE followed by their full postcode to a shortcode, 63131. The text they receive back has details of their recycled materials kerbside collection times, where these are offered, or of their nearest recycling facility, as well as the number for their local recycling helpline. The campaign launched on 12 September 2005, and in the first four weeks, 2,600 people used the service.

Finally, as part of the ‘Know what you’re getting into’ initiative, designed to warn Londoners of the dangers of using unlicensed minicabs, Londoners can now find out the numbers of two licensed minicab companies by texting HOME to 60835 or 62967.

The mobile user’s network passes on the time of the request, the mobile number used, any other content in the text message, and the location of the cell from where the text was sent. This information is compared with a live database of licensed minicabs, and a text message with two phone numbers is composed and sent by reply.

The service launched on 20 September 2005, and in the first three weeks, 4,000 people used it. The service will be pushed via promotional teams handing out credit card-sized instructions, and via display ads in bars and restaurant washrooms, in the run-up to Christmas. Jon White, Senior marketing Planner, Transport for London, has described the services as "the most popular of the Transport for London mobile services."