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Personalizing your SMS text marketing campaign

May 17, 2012

Matthew R. Lesher is chief operating officer of Tetherball

Matthew R. Lesher is chief operating officer of Tetherball

By Matthew R. Lesher

In the growing and ever-evolving world of mobile marketing, SMS text messaging continues to be the bellwether. And why not?

SMS is easy and convenient for the consumer and provides the greatest reach for brands. It is extremely effective for connecting with a brand’s most loyal and active consumers who are looking to engage with the brand.

Not only do these consumers want to communicate with the brand, the channel by which they choose to communicate is very personal. A consumer’s mobile phone is within the boundaries of her personal space.

Calling it right
Text messaging has replaced the phone call as the preferred method of communication. In fact, in 2012, wireless carriers are likely to handle more text messages than mobile phone call minutes.

It is important to understand and respect that by marketing via SMS text, brands are communicating with consumers in an intimate manner.

Because SMS text marketing is such a personal form of communication, it is essential that brands send appropriate, relevant and timely information and messaging to each individual consumer.

If a brand sends more personalized SMS messages, how much more effective is the communication?

Are you an Indiana Hoosiers fan? You probably do not want to receive a message that the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats Championship shirts are on sale now. You want to receive messages about your beloved Hoosiers.

Are you a vegetarian? You probably do not want a coupon for the meat lovers’ pizza. Rather, a 50 percent coupon off a vegetarian pizza will probably get you in the door.

Indeed, an April 2011 survey by the e-tailing Group and MyBuys found that 46 percent of consumer respondents would be more likely to buy from retailers who personalized their experience with that brand and 66 percent of consumer respondents expected a more personalized experience if they were part of a loyalty program.

Zipping through
For brands to engage in a more targeted marketing program, they need to consider a deeper dive into the preferences of their consumers and send only relevant messages to those consumers at appropriate times. The key, then, is to understand each consumer’s interests and preferences.

Collecting interests and preferences can be done in several ways, including, but not limited to, at opt-in by using different key words, using mobile surveys via SMS or mobile Web sites or leveraging a brand’s existing consumer data.

Each different avenue will provide different levels of detail. Brands need to decide which methods best suit their needs and consumer base.

In running a targeted SMS text program, it can be as simple as targeting males or females or consumers in a certain time zone, state or ZIP code. Or, brands can be more elaborate and detailed such as targeting wine connoisseurs, New York Yankees fans or country music enthusiasts.

The level of bifurcation and targeting depends on various factors, including the size of the market, number of product offerings and various other brand specific considerations.

SMS TEXT MARKETING continues to be an effective and powerful form of communicating with consumers.

It is important to remember that text messaging is likely a consumer’s preferred method of communication.

By adding targeted messaging to a SMS text marketing program, brands can engage in a more relevant and personalized communication with consumers, which ultimately results in a more effective mobile marketing campaign.

Matthew R. Lesher is chief operating officer at Tetherball LLC, Indianapolis. Reach him at

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