We have said before that SMS is not dead. It will remain an important communications channel for operators and increasingly become a precision marketing tool for big brands. Toys “R” Us is the latest example of a brand using texts to target customers. Indeed, they may be the king of the hill. They have 450,000 customers in their texting programme and have just sent a timely text with a 15 percent discount off ‘back to school’ purchases.
Not only does this reinforce our thesis that SMS is not dead, it is just that consumer revenues are dwindling. Brands such as Coca Cola are spending millions on precision marketing over the next few years because, like others, they understand that marketing is no longer about noise but content and conversation.
To understand the potential, you have to turn the accepted models around. Just as a travel web site might well be willing to pay data roaming charges as part of a premium offering to customers – allowing it keep travellers up to date with delays and make special offers – brands will embrace SMS and data roaming as channels to customers as well. Using the right channel at the right time will be key to building trust and a one to one relationship.
The Toys “R” Us example is interesting from another angle as well. It is timely – kids getting ready to go back to school – it is relevant -15 percent discount is always relevant – and it is delivered through a channel that customers have said they want to use.
Operators should study examples from marketing giants such as Coca Cola and Toys “R” Us to hone the ‘relevance’ issue.