Texting… the new marketing platform?
Can it really be true? Has someone actually decided to use texting for something other than sending witty remarks to friends, LOL-ing, and gossiping with close ties? Yes, I am afraid this is in fact true. Ok, all sarcasm aside, when I heard that many marketing professionals were pushing texting as the hot new platform for direct marketing I was very intrigued. Mobile marketing is in no way a new concept to us, if anything I say we have assimilated quite well what with a new app coming out every 10 minutes and our mobile inboxes filled with offers to buy this and experience that. However text marketing brings up new questions. What are the opportunities? Why use it? Most importantly, how will the general public view it?
Instinctually, I turned to research for the answers to my questions. My findings confirmed that mobile marketing is indeed a growing trend that has already begun to go mainstream. As it should!
Let’s think about this for a second. Cell phones. Everyone has one; it doesn’t matter if you are team BlackBerry or team iPhone or if you use it for business or personal reasons, in today’s society it is very difficult to function without one. Everywhere you go it seems like people are constantly looking at their phone…probably reading if not sending text messages. I am not one to judge, (mostly because I myself am like this too) but doesn’t it make sense that the next best platform should be one in which every one of your target consumers and even those you aren’t targeting have access to? According to a PRWEB article on mobile marketing “In 2010 texting has nearly doubled in usage since previous years, and since 94% of text messages are opened in 9 minutes or less there is a higher possibility of a message being viewed.” Exciting news?Well it is just the beginning.
Since cell phones can do just about everything and texting requires such a device, text marketing has opportunity for endless possibilities: from increasing store traffic with mobile coupons to dealing directly with consumers in a more individual way i.e. contest/mobile voting; the range of possible consumer touch points is impressive. According to the same PRWEB article “MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) takes text messages a step further by allowing exchange of text messages beyond the traditional 160 characters in length as well as facilitates sending animated images, a sound track as well as audio ensuring brand identity is immediately recognized by consumers.” maurices – a women’s fashion retail chain is a great example of successfully implementing text marketing. To facilitate word-of-mouth conversation and harness brand advocacy maurices created the Mobile Style Club which is an opt-in SMS text messaging program that offers exclusive promotions, style tips and advice, select Q&A options and other exclusive content. They relied on text marketing to engage their consumers in a more personal level and it worked! According to maurices’ Mobile Marketing Association case study “within the first month, more than 5,000 customers opted-in to maurices Mobile Style Club, and after four months of the campaign, there were more than 20,000 opt-ins. The effort directly drove more than $1MM in sales in the first four months.”
As you can see text marketing has great potential but many argue that it could also be potentially seen as intrusive especially since it targets consumers on their most personal device through a text message which many consider to be too close for comfort. I agree. It would be weird and a bit obnoxious to randomly get a text from a store trying to get you to come in. Especially if you don’t shop there too often. The beauty of text marketing is that text marketing must be opt-in meaning the consumer gives permission to be contacted. PRWEB describes this best by saying that “People can subscribe and unsubscribe on an opt-in basis. This level of control and the new emerging mobile culture have brought text marketing to impact levels far exceeding direct mail, email marketing, and other traditional marketing channels.” So it’s a win-win for everyone because you get access to people who actually want what you’re selling and they get info, deals, etc. on the things they love.
So when you take into consideration everything that can be done with text marketing you will see that not only is it a viable medium for marketing but it has great promise for shaping the way we implement future technology. Just so we’re clear I am not saying it will totally replace conventional media but I am excited to see what the future holds for text marketing.