When Latin America’s largest telecommunications company looked to reward loyal mobile customers with an exciting promotion, their marketing agency, Wunderman Buenos Aires, looked to Twilio for help.
Wunderman, a strong performer in customer engagement strategy for nearly 60 years, is known as the creator of modern-day direct marketing—a term that founder Lester Wunderman originated in 1967. With over 7000 technical engineers, account managers, and creative thinkers in 60 countries, Wunderman is challenged to solve significant problems for Fortune 500 clients across the globe.
From their Buenos Aires offices, Wunderman works with clients like Best Buy, Disney, Coca-Cola, Unilever and MercadoLibre. But their biggest client, in terms of both billings and challenges, is Movistar, a major telecommunications brand owned by Telefónica.
Francisco Facal, technology director of Wunderman Buenos Aires, works on the Movistar account and is charged with providing digital solutions that inspire Movistar consumers to take action while delivering results for the brand.
“A majority of Latin Americans get their mobile service from Movistar, and for them, Movistar is not just a telecommunications company; they’re also an entertainment provider,” said Facal. Long associating their brand with music (Movistar kicked off in Latin America with advertisements featuring hits by Katrina and the Waves, the Spin Doctors, and Train), the company sought to deepen their connection with music fans by introducing FRI Movistar, a music-streaming app (also created by Wunderman) that includes event calendars covering music festivals and concerts. The app has quickly grown in popularity, due to the incredible content provided and the fact that Movistar customers aren't charged for data used when using the app streaming music and video. Additionally, Movistar rewards loyal customers with free tickets to many of the select concerts it sponsors.
For Movistar, this presented a new challenge: how best to ensure that tickets go to actual Movistar customers, and not to the general public, or to scalpers. “We’re talking about 100 to 200 thousand customers who potentially could use the app to get a free ticket,” added Facal.
When Movistar tasked Wunderman to develop an exciting, but friction-free, digital experience that would help them securely fulfill on their promotional campaign, the agency focused on developing a verification solution that satisfied three distinct issues:
1. That the user had Movistar as their mobile service provider.
2. That the user was registered with the FRI Movistar app.
3: That only one ticket per cell phone would be released.
To ensure fulfillment was done accurately and securely, Wunderman built a proprietary solution: a basic, back-end system that generated session tokens and validated API addresses to identify and stop attempts to access the promotional benefit more than once. However, realizing that building and maintaining an SMS verification system would be fraught with resource challenges, Facal sought other solutions.
After some less-than-satisfactory results from other vendors, Facal chose Twilio’s Verification product for its technology, support, and integration options. Best known for two-factor authentication, Twilio also provides a flexible, and responsive, phone verification API. And since no SMS or telephony know-how is required, the Wunderman team found implementation to be easy.
“We ran our first prototype in a matter of hours, so we were able to quickly present our ideas to the client, get agreement to move forward, and start on implementation and integration into the FRI Movistar app,” explained Facal. “The entire process took between two to five days. It was pretty fast.”
Other aspects of the Twilio toolkit soon came into play. “Since we needed to efficiently send an SMS to consumers, we were happy to see that the Twilio API allowed us to offer both the SMS integration and the verification flow in a single API,” explained Facal. “We looked at other vendors who work with SMS, and tried to run our demo with their services, but the only one we could get up and running in hours was the one built with Twilio.”
From now on, any project that involves any of the Twilio offerings — we’ll go with Twilio. Our experience has been that great.
As is typical with fast moving digital projects, things change on the fly. But since Wunderman followed an agile approach, they made sure any deviation from the original requirements agreed to by Movistar was caught in time. “For this project, in particular, there’s nothing that we wished we knew in advance. Everything worked as expected,” Facal said.
What was a surprise, was the extras inherent in Twilio’s Phone Verification API. It stops accounts from being created by bots and can reduce fraud and associated costs by blocking premium, and toll-free numbers. “Plus,” added Facal, “Twilio’s pricing was lower than other vendors, so we were able to pass those savings on to the client.”
Additionally, because Twilio translates both SMS and voice verifications into 29 languages, international clients like Movistar can consider going global with regional campaigns that prove successful. The service automatically selects the right translation based on the phone number country code, or developers can override that feature and choose a preferred language.
Using Twilio for Phone Verification, Wunderman reported a greater than 85 percent conversion rate on ticketing flow for the Movistar Free Music Festival. With results like that, it makes sense to stick with a good thing.
“Once I choose a tool that proves to be secure and can be implemented as fast as we implemented Twilio,” said Facal, “I prefer to stay with that vendor.”
“From now on, any project that involves any of the Twilio offerings — we’ll go with Twilio,” said Facal. “Our experience has been that great.”
At the same time, Wunderman is working to launch their own digital products using the latest technologies available. “Twilio has become an important global digital communications provider, and we’ll continue to integrate our solutions with Twilio whenever a project calls for these types of technologies,” concluded Facal.