That’s if you want to do it properly, of course
Here at GoMo News we were pretty impressed with ‘The Mobile Customer Experience Report’ put out recently by Textlocal. So we leapt at the chance to chat with Rob Townsend, Textlocal’s marketing director, who was down in the Big Smoke [London] the other day. Somehow we got onto the subject of location based SMS marketing and Townsend revealed that the only organisations really making a go of the technology were major players. He claimed it made sense for the likes of massive shopping malls – like the UK’s Bluewater but not really for SMEs. Townsend also had some interesting things to say about combining SMS marketing with mobile apps.
The snag with any kind of targeting for consumers with a local based SMS campaign is that the sender needs to be sure that the recipient really has ‘opted in’ to follow [the UK's] ICA guidelines.
As an example, Townsend cited retailer Tesco which has started to provide in-store free Wi-fi for its customers.
This has three distinct advantages. Firstly, using Wi-fi, Tesco can almost pinpoint where the customer is standing (ie in which aisle). Something you can’t do with cellular/GPS based location.
Sscondly, by using the free Wi-fi, it’s safe to assume that the customer has opted in. And thirdly, thanks to the use of loyalty cards a retailer like Tesco already knows what the consumer normally purchases and roughly when they do so.
So you can safely target that consumer with an SMS containing one of your latest offers. The beauty of SMS is, of course, that it covers featurephone users not just smartphone users.
So if the customer has a mobile phone, you can reach them in store with SMS.
In the case of a mall like Bluewater, once the consumer walks into the centre you can target him/her with SMS marketing messages and even tie it up with a sophisticated campaign that uses interactive signs (billboards) which change depending on who you know is in the mall.
All of this involves a high level of sophistication and data gathering which means that for SMEs the expense would certainly outweigh the results.
Another gem which Townsend revealed has to do with the increasing popularity of betting apps. The report found an impressive six per cent of UK consumers use their mobile phones for gambling, for example.
The current craze in the UK is for ‘in event’ [ live odds] betting where punters place bets when the sports event is still running.
Townsend controversially claimed that sending in-app notifications to customers during such events frequently resulted in the app slowing down.
However, if you send the offer/notification as an SMS, it will arrive promptly and the app can integrate the text message very swiftly to display live odds in a realistic timeframe.
GoMo News looks forward to running more impressive stats from Textlocal. Watch this space.