Connecting with SMS

One hundred and sixty characters are “perfectly sufficient” for expressing almost any thought or question according to Friedhelm Hildebrand and his team as they decided on the appropriate length for the SMS Message.

As we move further into the 21st century mobile devices are becoming even more entwined in our daily lives. The days of mobile being promoted as a safety device are far behind us; mobile phones have become the way we stay connected. In the year 2000 the United States was sending 14 billion text messages a month, a minimal amount compared to the 188 billion a month sent in 2010. As mobile phones developed throughout the early 21st century companies recognized that consumers always had their mobile phones with them and began to develop ways to market to mobile customers.

In 2005, two very different companies Nike and Pontiac looked for a way to promote their new products with mobile marketing. Nike and Pontiac both chose to use SMS based mobile marketing to promote Nike’s Air Force-X Mid shoe and Pontiac’s new car, G6. The companies both launched separate interactive SMS messaging contest that awarded participants based on set criteria. Nike used their SMS campaign to create awareness among their target audience for their limited edition athletic shoe. Nike’s participants opted in by using their mobile devices to locate codes on various Nike billboards and posters. The participants would then text the codes in to earn points and a chance to be the first to purchase the Air Force-X Mid shoe. Pontiac got their target audience to participate by being able to use their mobile phone for their “Spot a G6” contest. Pontiac’s participants opted into the campaign to use their mobile device to take a photo of a G6 and text it to Pontiac for a chance to win.


Pontiac G6

Nike and Pontiac, being the first to have mobile campaigns, both thought outside the box and found a way to not only engage, but also keep their target audience engaged with their products, brands, and messages. For the first time consumers were interacting with the marketing message away from traditional forms of marketing media such as the television, radio, and print. The messages were staying with the consumer and not being forgotten. Mobile marketing allowed Nike and Pontiac to get their message to the consumer at the right time. Marketers no longer had to worry about consumers forgetting about their product and message. With mobile engagement the campaigns allowed for participation throughout the day without location being a concern. This meant that Nike and Pontiac’s products were constantly being put in front of their target audience and rapidly increasing product awareness.

Nike and Pontiac were not the only companies to experience success with mobile marketing, as time moved forward a variety of other companies have integrated mobile marketing into their marketing strategy and experienced success.  As we enter into the Mobile Marketing Era it is important to understand how mobile marketing allows marketers to reach a targeted audience with a very specific message at exactly the right time. Mobile marketers have to remember to be creative and give their target audience a reason to engage. People have placed a value on their time and if what is being offered exceeds that value than consumers will look past and forget. Remember once the consumer is engaged they have expressed an interest in your product or service and just need a final push to purchase.

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