Many years ago when I tried to call my nephew on his brand new mobile phone, he did not answer.  I tried a few more times and still got no answer.  “How dare you not answer my call?!? That phone was my gift to you!”  I shouted. Then I awkwardly typed in a short message to him and sent the first SMS message in my life. Within 2 seconds, I got a text back from him. Obviously he just ignored calls but answered text. I discovered a new way to get a hold of my “music consultant”.

Fast-forwarding to today, SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world, with over 3.7 billion active users.  If you look at the infographic below on data volume through different Social Media applications, SMS is probably, in the spirit of the Olympics, the “Gold Medal” winner.

That is BIG DATA!

If you think Social Media is just people engaging in conversation via different channels, then, as a marketer, you need to be in the middle of the conversation and you need to be relevant! 

Like many of the Social Media channels (e.g., Facebook), SMS messaging contents reveal a significant amount of information about your customers: who are their friends? What they like or don’t like? How popular and influential are they among their friends? What are their interests and affinity?  However, the large amount of the SMS data is often unstructured and the phone companies don’t seem to have the interest in sharing it with the marketers, for now.

How do you get engaged in the conversation? Let the consumers come to you by running SMS campaigns. The simple approach, to text a keyword to a short code, makes the campaign entries and opt-ins easy, instantaneous and seamless.

A handful of companies, especially food services and retailers, are becoming very savvy and innovative in running SMS campaigns.  The following are some of the examples:

 

  • A retailer encouraged its opted-in consumers to “Like” the brand’s Facebook page via an SMS message they received that also included a free shipping offer.
  • A fast food giant ran an SMS campaign to raise awareness for a charity to fight hunger.  The campaign asked consumers to donate a small amount to the charity and opt-in for special promotions.
  • Through the new campaign, a restaurant chain offered consumers a chance to win a trip to the destination of their choice. The initiative was a good way to drive brand awareness, as well as encourage new opt-ins.
  • A large retailer ran an SMS campaign to offer instant discount at the stores.  The discount bar code was sent to consumers’ phones via text as a picture for in-store scanning at the check-out counters.

SourceLink has planned, designed, built and executed sophisticated SMS campaigns, as part of the multi-channel marketing effort, for our clients.  By adding the SMS channel, our clients have much more a holistic view of their new and existing customers, and allow them to have a cost effective way to remain engaged with the consumers.

Are you next?