What do General Mills, Macy’s, Resee’s, and Starbucks have in common? Yes, they all end in S’s, but they all also ran exciting SMS campaigns in Q1. Mobile Marketing recently published a “Top 10” list for SMS campaigns in Q1, and among the list are several donation drivers, database growers, and informational campaigns. General Mills and Rite Aid made the list for encouraging people to donate to First Books and Children’s Miracle Balloons, respectively, via their mobile devices. Several brands grew their databases by incenting consumers to subscribe to their mobile program (Ace Hardware with weather alerts, Aveeno with free samples, and Reese’s with a text-to-win), while others used SMS to drive sales by providing their existing database with special promotions (JCPenney’s one-day only sale and bunny-ear giveaway, and Macy’s sale on NBC’S “Fashion Star” looks). You can read the full “Top 10” list here and see the exciting ways brands are making waves in the sea of SMS. Even the most aggressive estimates still only put smartphone penetration in the U.S. at 48% (Neilson, January 2012), which makes SMS (which can reach feature phone owners and the smartphone savvy) the mobile marketing channel with the greatest reach. So what else do these businesses have in common? They’ll all end Q1 with $’s.
Cellit strives to put the power of mobile technology into all parts of your daily life. Today, Cellit is proud to announce that we’re going someplace new: The open road!
Our new Driveit technology allows you to control your vehicle (or any Driveit-enabled vehicle) through text messages sent from your cell phone! Imagine the possibilities!
- Don’t want to go to the store? Don’t! Send your car there on its own!
- No need to hold a clumsy steering wheel or push pedals with your feet. Let your thumbs do the driving!
- Send your car to pick up the kids from school from the comfort of your living room!
- Save money on gas without a driver weighing the car down!
- Works with any text-messaging enabled phone!
How does it work? Simple! Send commands from your phone, such as FORWARD, BACKWARD, LEFT, RIGHT, EXCHANGE INSURANCE INFORMATION, or HONK, to a Cellit shortcode. Those messages will be sent to your car and your car will do what it is told! It’s that simple!
Watch the official pre-recorded demo video to see it in action:
Disclaimer: Never combine driving and texting in any way. Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak at SXSW about QR codes, and how they can often be terribly ineffective. Well, guess what? Text messaging (our bread and butter here at Cellit) can often be misused too. Here the top five ways text messaging programs can suck.
5. Siloing Customer Databases: It’s often a necessary evil when we start working with a client to get a program up and running without access to the client’s master CRM database. In the beginning, it’s not a huge issue; with only a few thousand numbers, segmenting the subscriber base doesn’t really make that much sense anyway. However, when the subscriber lists grow to the hundreds of thousands or even millions, it is necessary maximize the value of these lists through segmentation, A/B testing and other empirical analysis. Proper segmentation involves pulling purchase data, preferential data (from a web site’s communication preference center), and email communication histories. All of this data lies outside the “silo” of mobile data that Cellit or other vendors in our space can easily collect. As such, brands that do not tie the data of their mobile programs to their other databases are not only sub-optimizing their campaigns, but also running the risk of annoying the customer by not catering to their communication preferences.
4. Failing to Understand Cadence. We’ve written about it before, but it’s important to mention again. Having the wrong cadence associated with your program can be an audience killer. Message too frequently and you will annoy your base. Messaging too infrequently and your subscribers will forget you care about them. It’s about striking a balance we call the “Rule of 1′s”:
Communicate no less that once a month, and no more that once a week.
Of course, there’s always exceptions to the rule, but if you’re hitting your base every day, or every other day, perhaps you need to put yourself in your subscriber’s shoes. If you feel a daily message is important, then segment your list; have a list for daily messages, and a list for weekly. It’s just that easy.
3. Sending Messages at the Wrong Times. In addition to frequency or cadence, the actual timing is critically important too. We’ve had clients send their “free dessert” offers at 9 am and complain that their mobile program wasn’t driving sales. “Really???” We suggested switching the time from 9am to 5pm, and (wouldn’t ya know it!) all of a sudden people started redeeming. A less obvious example is an entertainment group client of ours. They were sending out their weekly blasts during the work week, around 3pm. Their unsubscribe rate was fairly high. We suggested switching the messaging to the weekends, and the unsubscribe rate dropped dramatically. It was as simple as understanding that people don’t want to get interrupted at work for these messages, but they’re happy to get them during their off hours.
2. Blasting Dumb Messages and Offers. If you’re sending offers for 5% off, you’re probably not going to get anybody out of their chairs. That’s obvious, but the opposite is also true. We’ve seen campaigns where the brand is literally giving away the farm: gift cards and other high-value items for being a part of the mobile program. While these offers are are fantastic incentive, just make sure you’re not constantly giving the same subscribers free product; at the very least, track who’s redeeming and curb the offers to over redeemers.
1. Not Promoting it Properly. Mobile is not “if you build it, they will come”. It has got to be promoted, and your staff have to be educated on the benefits. Recently, I walked into a client’s store and asked the teenage store clerk about their mobile program, after he educated me on their email program at checkout. He said “don’t join that, you’ll get spammed”. There are so many issues here it’s hard to count. Your staff has to be educated on your mobile program and its benefits. They have to help the customers understand that they won’t get spammed. Additionally, your staff should push the program, and there needs to be in-store signage or other messaging to drive adoption. We’ve seen so many programs fall on their faces because they aren’t promoted. It’s obvious, but it’s so often missed.
Like Head and Shoulders ads say, “you only have one chance to make a first impression”. Make sure your mobile program leaves the correct impression and drives the huge results we see when these 5 mistakes are avoided.
According to a March 2012 AisleBuyer study on consumer behavior in grocery and drug stores, “nearly 75 percent of consumers would switch brands if offered real-time mobile promotions delivered to their smartphones while shopping in a store aisle.” With price and promotions ranking highest on purchase influences, it is no surprise that real-time mobile promotions greatly impact which brand is ultimately purchased.
Among age demographics, 25-34 years olds were the most likely to switch brands as a result of an in-store mobile promotion (82%). Twenty and thirtysomethings are also receptive to receiving promotions through a mobile shopping app, with the study finding that “90% of 25-34 year-old smartphone owners expressed interest in receiving instant offers for the things they were already shopping for through a grocery or drug store-based mobile shopping app.”
The study is the second in a three-part series on mobile shopping conducted and published by AisleBuyer. Their CEO Andrew Paradise encourages grocery and drug stores and brands to make use of mobile technology to promote their products while consumers are in store. “For years, brands have relied on traditional in-store shopper marketing tactics such as endcap displays, dump bins and sampling programs to influence the purchase decisions that are being made in the store aisle. But today’s shopper has become increasingly tech savvy, and brands need to adapt their age-old strategies to remain competitive in our new online world,” stated Paradise. A consumer’s smart phone is a billboard in their pocket, and studies like this reveal how excited consumers are to receive location-based mobile promotions like those offered by Cellit.