Out-Of-The-Box Thinking in SMS Marketing
When you think of SMS marketing, what comes to mind? The usual mobile coupons? Limited time offers? Maybe you’d think of loyalty programs offering discounts for purchases. All of these are great uses of SMS messaging. But sometimes, if you do something just a little different, the results get even better.
I stumbled upon an example of one company using SMS that is, well, a little different from others I’ve seen. It’s actually a company I’ve written about recently, Frito-Lay, the US parent company of Lays brand crisps (Walkers in the UK). That previous blog focused on how they used SMS in a contest.
This time though, it’s how they implemented a reward program using SMS that caught my eye.
Rewards of a Different Kind
Like most reward programs, consumers get something in exchange for buying their product. In this case, specially marked bags of crisps. Only, the reward wasn’t more crisps or money back, or even discounts on future purchases. Instead, they would receive $10 off exclusive phone cases from Society6.
It worked (or works, as the promotion is on-going as of this blog) like this:
- After purchasing the product, customers take a photo of their receipt as proof of purchase.
- They then send the image via MMS to a shortcode.
- Once the receipt is validated (it isn’t clear how this is performed), the customer gets a reply SMS message with a coupon code and a link.
- When they visit the link, they pick out their phone case and type in the coupon code for the $10 discount.
Why would they approach rewards in this way? Here’s a quote from an article in Mobile Marketer that sums it up nicely:
“This may prompt smartphone users interested in a new case to purchase several packages of Frito-Lay chips, even if the snacks were not originally on their shopping lists. The novelty of receiving an offer to use on popular iPhone cases will set the Frito-Lay campaign apart from its competitors.”
The company clearly had two objectives:
- Increase sales
- Differentiate themselves
There’s no word on how well they are doing in sales for this promotion. Perhaps when it is complete there will be a follow-up article with results. It is certainly a gamble that enough people “interested in a new case” would see the packaging or ad, and buy more crisps because of it.
As for the second objective, it’s clear they’ve achieved it as no other company is doing anything similar at the moment (based on my research of similar type products in the US).
Even SMS is a Differentiator
Using SMS marketing for loyalty or reward programs is still fairly new. Well, it’s not new but only a small percentage of businesses use it this way (which makes it “new” in marketing). It’s estimated that only 21% of brands are using SMS for loyalty programs. The same study showed 48% of consumers prefer SMS over email for messages about loyalty and rewards.
So, when you combine the use of SMS, MMS and a novel reward (phone case), it really differentiates the brand from others.
Can You do the Same?
I’m not sure how Frito-Lay decided that exclusive phone cases were the right offer for their promotion. But I’d guess they did some consumer research and perhaps tested ideas out first before launching the main event. They are a large multi-national company after all.
Any company though, could use the same approach to meet those objectives, or similar ones. All you have to do is think a little outside the box – like a customer rather than a marketer – and figure out what incentive they would want.
A short survey sent out to your SMS list could give you insight into what your customers are thinking – and what they might want as a reward for their purchases. At the very least, you’ll learn more about your customer’s preferences. At best, you’ll run a tremendously successful rewards campaign. And that would be a marketer’s best reward.
In our demanding, 24/7 world it is difficult to stay on top of your SMS marketing campaign but with scheduling you can ensure you are getting your message to your audience whatever the time.
Facebook is a popular place. According to Statista, they had 1.44 billion active users in the first quarter of 2015. It’s no wonder then that businesses are flocking to advertise there. But big isn’t always better. SMS marketing is similar in many respects to Facebook advertising, and for some uses it is actually better. Let me explain and see if you agree.
Everyone knows the holiday season is a peak time for making sales and marketing. Predictions are that the UK will spend £73B in retail stores before the season is over. Find out three reasons you’ll want to use SMS marketing to get those shoppers into your store.
Mums are natural entrepreneurs. And now they're turning that entrepreneurial spirit towards running a business, using their organisational skills to turn a profit from franchises and hobbies, fundraisers and baking. Mumpreneurs are on the march and they need smart marketing strategies like SMS that fit around their busy lives.
If you’re tuned into the self-help industry at all, you know who Wayne Dyer was. He spent decades writing transformational books to help people improve their lives and find happiness. He died summer 2015 at his home in Maui at the age of 75. It’s probably an understatement to say he inspired millions of people. So when I came across an article about a publisher using SMS messaging to let people know about a new book discussing his legacy I wasn’t too surprised. Not at first anyway.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
Every good retail business owner knows that the key to success is keeping his or her customers happy. Your level of customer service should be all encompassing to succeed and should consist of more than just being polite to the customer at the till.
Mobile marketing offers an unprecedented access to your customers virtually any time, anywhere. This is particularly true for SMS marketing because it is “always on”. Customers don’t have to be surfing the web, or using an app to receive messages. Instead, they see the marketing messages right alongside ones from their friends and family.
If you are the owner-manager of a UK retail business, then you will know that it’s vital to use every weapon you have available to battle with the big guns on the high street and online. That must include embracing all the advantages modern technology provides, including a communications campaign based on the Short Message Service (SMS) – better known as text messages. Not sure what SMS is about and how it will work for your shop? Then read on, because you are missing a golden opportunity to give your small shop a much bigger presence and outreach.