Thorn Tech Drives Leads for Sprint at NASCAR Using Twilio


Jeff Thorn TwilioGiving out a NASCAR superstar’s personal phone number is simpler than it seems. Just ask Jeff Thorn (pictured right).

Jeff and his team at Thorn Technologies worked with Sprint to help market an app for Sprint customers called DriveFirst. The app registers when you’re in-motion and auto-replies to any text you receive, so you stay focused on the road and not your phone. Sprint wanted to cut down on texting and driving, while ramping up their new customer leads. Using Twilio, Jeff and his team helped Sprint contact over 6,000 new leads and drastically boost downloads of the Drive First App.

When Sprint contacted Jeff Thorn, they already had a marketing strategy in mind. The idea was pretty simple: give NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr’s personal phone number to hundreds of thousands of NASCAR fans.

Of course, Jeff and Sprint knew they couldn’t give out Dale’s real number. They also knew that they couldn’t use any old telephone number to handle thousands of calls at once. Jeff turned to Twilio to solve both problems, and prototyped the app in one day.

They were ecstatic,” said Jeff, “It was a piece of cake.” Thorn Technologies bought a Twilio number with the same area code as Earnhardt Jr’s hometown of Kannapolis, North Carolina. They load tested the number to make sure it could handle the heavy volume of incoming calls and SMS and added an additional feature — carrier lookup.

Thorn Technologies built their solution in PHP using a script that takes the phone number from a TwiML request makes a separate call to a carrier lookup service. This all happens instantly.

Thorn’s solution handled roughly 10,000 inbound messages. Fans who called or texted Dale’s “personal” number during NASCAR got one of two responses. Sprint customers who texted in received a welcoming message from Dale with link to download the DriveFirst app. Non-sprint customers received a message from Dale encouraging them to learn more Sprint and a link to Sprint’s registration page.

During every Sunday race the app receives a tremendous spike in traffic, and Sprint captures leads while promoting driving safety. After building for Sprint, Jeff and Thorn Technologies plan to use Twilio in other projects for their customers. “If I have other clients that need solutions like this, I’d definitely go with Twilio. It was so fast and so easy.”

Learn more about Thorn Technologies here.