The price for being funny in an SMS message
Everyone loves a good joke. Well, maybe not everyone since humour can be very situational. That’s what a company called Parklife Weekender, who run Manchester’s annual festival, discovered last week.
Earlier this year they had sent a marketing text message out to their list promoting “after parties” for the annual festival. The message read:
“Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your (sic) going, make sure your (sic) home for breakfast! Xxx www.afterlifemcr.com”
By itself the message seems harmless enough. And it is. But instead of using their company name as the “from” name, they changed it so that people would receive a message from “Mum”.
According to a statement by the company, the change “was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers”. Unfortunately though, many people took exception to receiving the message. Among them people whose Mums had died. Some of them had lost her in just the few weeks before the message went out.
When people complained to the company, the response wasn’t sympathetic. It wasn’t until later they issued a statement saying they acknowledged the message might not have been appropriate for everyone.
The apology wasn’t enough though, and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued the company a £70,000 fine last week. In a press release, the ICO said “This was a poorly thought out piece of marketing that didn’t appear to even try to follow the rules or consider the impact that their actions would have on the privacy of individuals.”
Anyone that runs a marketing campaign using electronic means needs to abide by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Most of the fines you hear issued have to do with spamming text messages to people who have not opted into receive them. But Parklife specifically violated the regulations by changing the name of the sender to be something other than the company. The result was a deceptive marketing campaign and Parklife was ordered to pay the fine.
Text message marketing is very effective, quick, and works for just about any industry. But this case underlines how important it is to be aware of the regulations regarding the marketing messages you send. The ICO has put together some guidance on helping organisations understand the regulations on its website.
If you’re considering a text message marketing campaign, don’t be put off. Give us a call and we’d be happy to help you understand what you need to know for your particular campaign.
ICO, the Information Commissioner's Office, has recently imposed a huge fine on direct marketing company Help Direct UK for sending illegal SMS messages.
When you start using SMS marketing, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether or not you’ll need to get replies. If you do, then you’ll need to decide between shortcodes and a virtual mobile number (VMN, also called longcode). If you don’t, then that’s alright too.
Is SMS marketing the worst idea ever? That’s the opinion of one author in Entrepreneur Magazine. He gives five reasons why companies should never bother sending SMS messages to customers. I take him on, point by point to show why he’s wrong and SMS marketing is the best idea ever.
"UK B2C data for SMS marketing" - That was the search result headline I found while researching online. Interesting I thought. It must be relating to SMS marketing statistics for B2C (business to consumer) sales. Since I was searching for some updated information and studies about SMS I decided to click and read.
If you are looking to get going with SMS marketing it's worth learning a bit about the "tricks of the trade" so you avoid the common pitfalls and get off on the right foot. Read about three important marketing concepts that will maximise your success in this venture.
The regulations about SMS marketing are quite clear. But sometimes people, and companies, can make mistakes. Find out what happened to a company that reacted poorly to the ICO’s request for information, and how it made their situation so much worse.
Four years ago, reputable commentators in The Guardian were wondering if SMS - short message service or text messaging - had peaked in performance after a two-decade exponential rise. Here we look at the evidence which shows that SMS is not only going strong, but continuing to stand out as an essential marketing channel for many businesses.
Does the thought of cold calling fill you with dread? You might think it would be easier to use SMS messaging instead. And though it’s legal to do so in some circumstances, you might want to rethink using it that way. Read the full blog to find out why.