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.
There’s an old real estate saying that quips, “There are three things that matter in property: location, location, location.” The same could be said for commerce. While e-commerce has brought the marketplace to consumer’s computers, most retail purchases are still made in brick-and-mortar stores. In data released by the U.S. Census last May, it was reported only 4% of retail purchases were made online.
While the war for certain product categories or specifics brands still wage within the walls of a store, getting a consumer into a location is the first battle. Geofencing is a new weapon in this fight, but with any new technology comes the question of how consumers will engage with it in the short- and long-term. Many businesses have expressed interest in using location-based services to deliver ads and coupons to mobile devices, but only a few have implemented programs. The Gap recently made headlines with their test campaign.
Bridging the Gap between marketing channels
In late February, the Gap used geofencing in conjunction with traditional bus and transit ads to deliver a unique brand experience to consumers. Smartphone and tablet owners who were waiting for the bus in in NYC, San Francisco or Chicago not only saw alarge, print bus ad for the Gap, but had a mobile coupon offer delivered to their mobile device if they had certain applications open. Words with Friends players could then click through to receive a $10 off $50 coupon at their local store. Gap reported an up-tick in sales during the test period, which wrapped in early March, and “delivered 2.5 million impressions, with a 0.93 percent click-through rate.”
Measuring geofencing effectiveness
Mobile CTR (click-through rates) are currently higher than online CTR for a variety of reasons (mobile phones are held closer to faces, don’t compete with other ads, and are more likely to benefit from accidental clicks), but it’s still early to definitively measure the effectiveness of this young marketing channel. When a new technology appears, consumer interest is piqued, but as other advertisers join in the trend, the market can become diluted. Only then can long-term effectiveness of the marketing tactic be measured.
Central High Mounted Stop Lamps (the brake light in your rear windshield) didn’t always come standard on vehicles. In 1986, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated all new passenger vehicles come with a CHMSL in order to curb the number of rear-end collisions. They did. In 1987, rear impact crashes dropped by an overwhelming 8.5%. But as time passed and the novelty of these new lights wore off, folks returned to rear-ending one another just like they did before. Still, the long-term crash-reduction benefit came in at 4.3%.
Geofencing might follow a similar path. Aggressive early adoption coupled with heightened consumer engagement might create an early interest, but it will likely be followed by a plateau as the experience becomes more common to consumers. What will keep consumers engaged beyond the novelty of being targeted based on their location will be a strong mobile CRM program that is catered to their demographics, interests, and purchase history.
The most successful geofencing Cellit has managed occurs with businesses that have robust mobile CRM program already in place. Location-based services are then used to target users who are already interested in the brand and have opted-in to a mobile program. Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, San Francisco,states “retailers must enable consumers to share their preferences in order to send the most tailored, relevant messages possible….Opt-in programs that put the consumer in control of their experience have proven much more successful than other types of mobile marketing such as banner ads, etc.” Chantal Tode of Mobile Commerce Daily writes that “Retailers that really put the time and research into developing mobile databases and the ability to deliver relevant offers will see better results than retailers who simply put geofences around stores and wait for consumers to come by.” As smartphone penetration rises and more consumers become aware of this new marketing tactic, the prevalence of geofencing will likely rise. While the long-term value remains to be seen, it’s certain that early adopters will see the most consumer engagement.
Contact Cellit to learn about adding geofencing to your mobile program.
 US Census Data, 2009 E-commerce Multi-sector Data Tables, released May 26, 2011, accessible at http://www.census.gov/econ/estats/2009/all2009tables.html
 “The Long-Term Effectiveness of Center High Mounted Stop Lamps in Passenger Cars and Light Trucks,” March 1998, accessible at http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/regrev/evaluate/808696.html
Nothing says good morning at one of the top mobile marketing agencies in the country quite like stacks of fried cake batter covered in syrup, chocolate, and a side of whipped cream. The Cellit: ePrize Mobile Solutions team kicked off Tuesday morning with a delicious pancake breakfast, spearheaded by Founder and SVP of Mobile for ePrize David Wachs. “Chef” David, who did a brief stint at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (no joke), brought his training the the griddle iron and prepped delicious pancaked filled with chocolate chips, bananas, nuts, and even strawberries! VP of Sales Eric Lazar joined in, too, to help keep the morning moving.
Happy people make a happy company, and we’re gosh darn happy to work with some of the smartest minds in mobile. Geez, I think all this syrup is making me sappy.
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.