Improved results in wood procurement with mobile marketing - case Harvestia

“We worked with Tieto to pilot mobile marketing aimed at forest owners. We have traditionally approached our target group, who are on average over 60 years of age, via mail or face-to-face meetings, but now we have contacted them with SMS. The speed and the ability to monitor the results have come as a pleasant surprise,” says Liisa Viikari, Marketing and Communications Manager at Harvestia.
Liisa Viikari
Liisa Viikari, Marketing and Communications Manager at Harvestia.

In Finland, the timber trade is a lengthy process where a sale can take place even two years before the delivery of the actual goods. One-fifth of all Finnish exports are related to forestry, and new investments in the field are constantly being made. An example of this is the bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, which contributes to the fact that more and more timber must be acquired and harvested.

The Finnish wood procurement company, Harvestia, decided to try out a new channel for procurement activities instead of the traditional direct mail campaign, which is slow and produces results that are difficult to measure.

“Normally, the planning, coordination, layout and mailing of a letter campaign takes at least two weeks. By using SMS, we can get a campaign going on in an hour. The results are also better than with letter campaigns, as we can target the messages at a small group more effectively,” Viikari says.

The technical platform made the marketing results visible

Tieto suggested that Harvestia should initiate a digital marketing project to pilot the technical platform designed for sending text messages. It enables real-time campaign management and results monitoring. The success indicators are message responses, the average response time and the number of deals closed.

“It’s great that Harvestia took swift action and demonstrated healthy agility by trying out something new. From the first discussions, it took two months for the month-long pilot to get underway,” says Customer Manager Jaakko Vilen of Tieto.

“The pilot was a good opener from Tieto. You should always be willing to develop your operations and identify new solutions. The solution’s ease-of-use and rapid results encouraged us to take the plunge”, Viikari says.

The customers’ contact information is entered into the system, which enables them to be grouped by region in order to target the message. This also enables the procurement process to be optimised, since forestry machines can be efficiently allocated to a single location if many purchases are made from a specific village, for example.

In addition, Tieto interviewed wood procurers and forest owners during the pilot. All forest owners found text messages to be an excellent method of communication. Far from finding the messages intrusive, some recipients contacted a wood procurer directly to initiate a trade. The wood procurers also found the solution to be easy and efficient.

Good method for current customers

Harvestia intends to continue using the solution and developing it as part of good customer service. For Tieto, the next steps in the development process are enabling more automatic creation of campaigns and identification of potential sellers through intelligent solutions and analytics, adding efficiency, accuracy and speed to the operations.

Harvestia, in turn, calls for possibility to use the solution for approaching completely new customers, which is currently hampered by Finnish legislation. Digital direct marketing can only be sent to people who have consented to it – in other words, current customers or those who have agreed to receive communications at an event, for example.

“We want to reach new forest owners and offer them services, as we need timber to ensure the favourable development of the entire forestry sector. The entire field should join in the effort to gain the direct marketing permits for accessing new customers,” Viikari suggests.