Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sigfox IoT network proves itself in direct marketing

Steve Rogerson
February 11, 2020

Sigfox has found that its IoT network could have benefits for direct marketing campaigns. Its UK operator WND collaborated with Ebi, a print and fulfilment specialist with expertise in interactive communications, to enable live communication over the public Sigfox network with potential customers in their homes.
Ebi worked with one of its clients – premium automotive manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover – to use the concept to inspire drivers to book a test drive in its new Evoque vehicle. Ebi sent out 5000 personalised, targeted direct mail packs that incorporated vehicle graphics, specifications and a replica of the start-stop button from the car. By pushing the button, the recipient could book a test drive in an instant.
With a 48% response rate compared with the industry standard of 5%, the campaign resulted in over 100 car sales and ultimately a 24x return-on-investment.
“To carry off this concept, we had to satisfy ourselves that whatever technology we used would be affordable, robust, give us great coverage and work in people’s homes,” said Luke Thomas, business development director at Ebi. “We initially developed prototypes using mobile devices and SIM cards, but it quickly became apparent that using a mobile network was not going to be within budget or technically feasible for our application.”
Thomas wanted to enable people to communicate instantly with the automotive manufacturer’s brand without having to download an app or scan anything. Ebi knew it was important to give people a way to respond easily to the offer to increase response rates.
“WND UK’s Sigfox IoT network looked ideal on paper, but we had to ensure it was fool-proof before we submitted a proposal to our client,” said Thomas. “We were immediately impressed by the maturity of WND UK’s Sigfox ecosystem. There’s a fully operational network in place, a support community and a range of device manufacturers that we could call on. With all of these resources available, it was quick and easy to get started.”
Ebi had a team of 15 people test the network over six weeks. The team ran over 2000 tests in different buildings including apartment blocks, windowless rooms, public buildings and houses. The test results returned a 98% success rate.
“The results of our testing left us in no doubt that the technology would work for our application,” said Thomas. “With the success of this campaign behind us we have plans to introduce this concept to more direct mail and in-store clients. We are working to make it cost-effective for a wider range of products, not just high-end cars. Combining digital with physical channels is a marketing game changer and this technology does it beautifully.”
Ebi gave recipients the option of returning the packs if they didn’t want to keep them, allowing for re-use or responsible recycling of the direct mail collateral and devices.
The campaign has picked up awards from the Direct Marketing Association and is shortlisted for two global IoT awards.
“Ebi’s application of Sigfox’s technology demonstrates superbly the way that our low-cost, highly reliable IoT network opens the door to novel applications,” said Tim Harris, chief executive of WND UK.
The Sigfox network uses low-power wide area network (LPWAN) technology, which is purpose built to provide low-cost connectivity and enable the use of cost-efficient silicon modules.