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Kim Dushinski

So does mobile marketing keep you up at night? Either figuring it out or being excited by the opportunities? Me too.

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Have you seen the news about some very high redemption rates for mobile coupons? This week, I posted on the Mobile Marketing Profits Facebook page about the 68% that Carrabba’s Italian Grill received in their recent SMS offer. Wow. That is a terrific response rate.

Then today I read a great article by Jeannette Kocsis, Harte-Hanks, Inc., about mobile coupons and how it is so important to consider these high redemption rates in your overall strategy. She says:

When you plan a mobile coupon campaign, think about high rates of redemption and how that may impact the profitability of the campaign.

After all, historically response rates from e-mail and direct mail, determined the value of coupons accordingly. Now, expectations may not be as certain.

All this got me to thinking about how many people use mobile coupons. Do you? Please take my poll. You can answer via text or do it online right here. This is not a scientific survey, but please just answer once using one polling mechanism.

TEXT POLL:
Text KIM CPOLL to 67777
(That is two words with a space between them.)
Your poll will come to you via text message. US phone numbers only.
Message and Data Rates May Apply.
Poll open June 18 – 25, 2010

ONLINE POLL:
Online poll does not expire.
[polldaddy poll=3363495]

By the way, my answer was YES! I have redeemed mobile coupons. I love mobile coupons and use them whenever possible. I find them so convenient because I never forget to bring them with me. Just this week my daughter and I went to the Bath and Body Works big Hello Yellow Sale and saved $10 off our $40 purchase. If you like BBW, sign up for their mobile alerts here.

I was walking through my living room the other day and a Sears commercial on TV caught my eye. I noticed they had a text message offer on the screen. Since I am always looking for mobile marketing campaigns “in the wild” I stopped in front of the TV long enough to memorize the keyword and short code.

That was my first indication that Sears is doing a great job with this mobile campaign. I was able to remember the keyword and the short code easily enough while I got to my phone and typed it in. This was a single key word (not two with a space) that I could remember and was relevant to the offer. CLEAN was the keyword about a carpet cleaning offer. The short code was easy too – 50101.

The other terrific thing that I noticed right away was that the text call to action was on the screen for the entire 30 seconds of the commercial. It was not a flash up at the end that was over before I could even spot it.

< This is a photo of the TV screen.

Here is a screen shot of the mobile coupon offer I received after texting in. It has the offer, a TRACKABLE call to action (notice the 1-800 number in the text message is different than what was showing on the screen), the disclaimer and the mandatory notices to keep the campaign compliant.

This is top to bottom a GREAT mobile marketing campaign! My hat’s off to Sears and their agency for creating such a smart mobile campaign. (If you know who the agency is who created this, let me know and I’ll update the post to give them credit.)

GUEST POST:
Ann Cannon, vice president of CSG Systems’ Prairie Interactive Messaging

In today’s market, consumers are thinking twice before they buy almost anything.  “How much do I need it?” “Do I need it all, or do I just want it?” “It is on sale?” Questions people ask when they’re uncertain about their own economic futures.

This “Is it on sale?” thinking presents an ideal opportunity for mobile marketing to worried consumers.  For example, if a consumer has a genuine need and desire for a purchase more complex or higher value than an impulse buy – anything from an upgraded mobile phone to a new car – they may repeatedly pass up that item at full price, or even with some discounting.  Stretching their spending dollars by waiting for a better deal is a safer move in a tight economy.

But what if that same consumer were to receive a coupon on their mobile phone while they were out shopping? Not a printed coupon sitting at home with the unopened mail, or an email coupon waiting in a distant inbox to be printed out and stuck in a purse or a pocket.  Rather, a targeted offer made to the right consumer at the right time, in the right place.

This sort of precision targeting has been the promise of mobile marketing for many years, but few companies have yet to fully leverage such a strategy today.  Confusing opt-in/op-out rules for commercial SMS messages, platform compatibility issues with sending MMS coupons to different families of smartphones, divergent carrier support for standards and commercial traffic – all of these factors and more have served to discourage corporate involvement in robust mobile couponing.

Yet there are best practices and design solutions which can work with all of these impediments to transform them into success factors.  An inbound mobile marketing campaign driven by point-of-sale signage and advertising placements combines the consumer opt-in process with the marketing contact.  Use of well crafted standard SMS messages (text-only) sidesteps MMS and barcode compatibility issues to reach all SMS-capable phones.  Even minimal integration between the messaging gateway provider and your own retail management systems can provide end-to-end accountability and realtime program ROI.

You as a mobile marketer need to keep the following things in mind when pursuing this kind of program:

  1. How will the consumer become aware of your campaign?
  2. How will you obtain their permission to interact?
  3. How will the offer be redeemed at the point of sale?

By offering consumers mobile coupons, businesses can create stronger customer relationships while giving consumers what they want, resulting in increased satisfaction, and increased profitability.