AQA (63336.com) the text questions and answers service was launched in April 2004 in the UK by IssueBits Ltd. The premise for the company was simple – mobile users who had a burning question, would text it to 63336 and would have it answered in minutes.
During initial trials of the service, the company was asked a wide variety of questions from travel and weather reports, to the best odds on a horse, from lottery number suggestions and the best prices for flights, to good restaurant suggestions and football history questions.
AQA grew quickly, answering over half a million questions in its first fifteen months of operations. The company opened in the Republic of Ireland in June 2006 – Irish users use the text number 57275 to get answers to their questions.
By November 2006, the service had become a big success story in the UK and Ireland, employing 600 home based researchers, answering over 11,000 questions, 24 hours a day – which was the equivalent of answering a question every 7 seconds.
The challenge the company faced as 2006 came to a close, was getting people to remember the text numbers – 63336 in the UK and 57275 in Ireland.
AQA had spent significant time, care and attention ensuring that its customers received the correct answers to their queries in a timely fashion. Customer feedback was very positive and most questions were answered within 5 minutes.
People were particularly pleased to get more than just the bare answer to their question, receiving good extra value information for their money. But the lack of instant text recall meant that AQA was not fully capitalising on its market opportunities.
AQA was also conscious of the possibility that a competitor could start up offering a similar service and if it marketed its text numbers more adeptly, they could woo customers away from AQA irrespective of the quality of their offering.
AQA quickly realised that traditional marketing was ineffective for premium text services where the price of the product is low. In mid-April 2007, it launched a campaign called 'Remember 63336', which was designed to get mobile users to remember the company’s text number.
The plan was to target a series of 12 events in the five months from mid-April to mid-September, starting with street events and online advertising.
The aim was to bring in 100,000 new customers during the Summer months and break through the 1 million customer mark by the end of September.
The first event took place on 19th April in London, where AQA's researchers and staff put a thousand '63336 tattoos' onto music fans attending the Camden Crawl gig event.
The campaign's events ran from the end of April until the end of September and were announced and recorded on AQA's revamped website at 63336.com.
The activities were supported by PR activities as well as online banner and pay-per-click advertising, all designed to bring new customers to 63336.com where they could ask a free question.
Notable achievements during the period were the creation and launch of the 63336 cocktail – a heady mixture of Baileys, Kahlua, Whisky and milk – and the successful launch of two must-have fashion accessories, the 63336 necklace and bikini.
From beach volleyball in Brighton in the afternoon, to skating in London in the late evening, AQA held a series of entertaining events, gigs and parties, all designed to help people remember 63336.
The campaign was a huge success.
By the end of August 2007, a full month ahead of schedule, AQA had smashed through the 1 million customer milestone. The company had been asked and had answered over 8 million questions, 150,000 of which were from customers in the Irish Republic.
AQA was now employing over 800 researchers, some based in New Zealand and Australia to handle the extra volume of late night UK questions.
63336 had become one of the most texted numbers in the UK.
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