I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to my cell phone. I use it for text messages, email, and Facebook. I love to use it to kill time waiting in the school carpool lane, or at the airport. Oh, and it makes phone calls too. But — most recently, I have come to rely on my phone for the digital connectivity it provides.
Most companies want to do “something mobile”, but aren’t sure how to approach it. Aprimo recently integrated text messaging (SMS) capabilities to its campaign management offering and there are a lot of cool mobile widgets and SMS programs out there that engage consumers with your brand, and/or allow them to interact with friends (while engaging with your brand!).
I’ve listed a few of my favorite mobile applications and SMS programs and why I think these brands did a great job of engaging the customer while showcasing their brands. I’d love it if you left a comment with any other cool programs you’ve found or have implemented.
- 3M launched an iPhone and iPad mobile application that allows people to send and receive pop up Post-it notes on their Apple mobile device. You can write reminders to yourself, or send your husband a reminder that it’s “time to pick up the kids from soccer”.
How cool is that? A 30-year old offline product is able to launch itself into the digital arena with a cutting-edge application. This not only allows their Brand to be seen potentially multiple times a day, but is a useful product so people will want to continue to use it, not ditch it like most consumers. A recent study by Localytics showed that 1 in 4 mobile applications are downloaded and never used again.
This statistic highlights the fact that brands shouldn’t be wasting their money just to “go mobile”, but should make sure that there is a consumer need in the market for the application, and that they provide the consumer with a reason to continue to use it.
- Bed Bath and Beyond is using a good combination of SMS and a Mobile WAP site to deliver coupons to me while I’m in the store, ready to buy. We all get those 20% off printed post cards in the mail, but last week I of course found myself at the store with no coupon.
Viola, on one of the bed sheet racks I was browsing on, there was a sign that told me to text into a short code for the 20% off coupon. I did so, and within seconds received an SMS with a link to a WAP site to register. Once I completed the simple WAP registration, I was able to immediately view a coupon with a barcode that I showed to the cashier when I checked out. Since then, Bed Bath and Beyond has been sending me SMS coupons for 20% off every few weeks.
This program is a great way to retain my business and make sure I complete my purchase on the first visit. However there are a few things they should consider improving or testing: It would have been nice if they delivered my code to me via SMS, without me having to register on the WAP form. Another option would be for them to use a QR code on the display sign that sends me to a WAP site directly.
Even though this interaction took some time for me to complete, it was worth it for me to get 20% off on a big ticket item. Plus, Bed Bath and Beyond was able to capture my information to market to me in the future via email, or SMS. Good job guys!
- My simple SMS example is restaurants using SMS to drive traffic during their “down times.” A local Denver pizza place sends me texts when it’s snowing outside and says things like “It’s cold and snowy outside, but it’s warm in here. Show this text for a free Hot Toddy with any purchase”. I received a text today from T.G.I. Friday’s reminding me that most of their restaurants are open late tonight. The only thing that could have made this better would be for them to remind me to show my “Stripes” member card for a special treat.
There are admittedly a few minor limitations with SMS messages. One is the fact that they are limited to 160 characters (which includes the required STOP, etc… messaging), so you have to be brief in your message. The second might be how a brand develops coupons for their customers. They may not be able to deliver the preferred coupon ID via SMS without some level of SMS to database integration (per my Bed Bath and Beyond idea above).
The bottom line is that it is important to reach your consumers where they are, and how they want to interact. Mobile marketing opens up a tremendous opportunity to extend your reach, and provides flexibility to allow your customer to reach out to you on-demand.