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Passbook is standard for mobile wallets: Sumotext exec

April 23, 2013

CHICAGO – A Sumotext executive at the Results 2013: Mobile Marketing Day last week said that Apple’s Passbook is helping marketers establish industry guidelines when it comes to mobile coupons and offers.

During the “Why SMS matters for retail and CRM” session, executives from Sumotext spoke about the best mobile practices and technologies for marketers to increase their number of subscribers. Additionally, the session presented a look at how to use SMS to drive loyalty and redemption rates.

“What I do like [about Apple] is that they didn’t wait for all of the payment stuff to shake out,” said Tim Miller, CEO of Sumotext, Little Rock, AR.

“We want to stake some ground on what’s a coupon going to look like, what’s a boarding pass going to look like,” he said.

“They really got to market first with a standard, and I think it’s going to be good for all of us,” he said.

Results 2013: Mobile Marketing Day was hosted by the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing. The event was co-sponsored by Microsoft, Sumotext and Mobile Marketer.

Pay with mobile
There are a slew of companies including ISIS, Square and Google that are going after mobile wallets.

Apple’s Passbook is a built-in application that lets consumers store loyalty cards, tickets and mobile coupons.

There are five different types of Passbook passes that can be made — boarding passes, tickets, store cards, coupons and generic passes.

There are also applications that put the passes on other devices, such as Android or Microsoft phones.

Pick a technology
In addition to mobile wallets, Mr. Miller spoke about three other types of technologies that marketers can use to grow a database and connect with consumers.

The first technology presented was Star Star codes, which are abbreviated dial codes that trigger an audio clip and SMS message to be sent to consumers with more information when they place a call. The technology can also be used to hone in on consumers at a local area.

The next technology is geofencing, which lets marketers set up boundaries around specific geographical areas that can be used to target consumers.

“If you have lots of locations, you have to think locally,” Mr. Miller said.

“The statistical differences you can make in response rates are dramatic when you do things like local relevance,” he said.

The final technology is MMS. Since messages are short, marketers can leverage multimedia to send longer pieces of content, such as terms and conditions, objects and slideshows.

Additionally, MMS can double the redemption rates for SMS, according to Mr. Miller.

SMS tactics
Mr. Miller also gave attendees six SMS best practice tactics.

The first tactic focuses on pushing versus pulling content. Instead of pushing an offer at a consumer, marketers should pull a message to get insights into a campaign.

For example, marketers can tell how many people were interested in the offer and how many offers retailers should be prepared to have redeemed.

Marketers should also aim to get something in return for sending a message, such as email addresses.

Messages should be personalized. Mentioning a consumers’ name in the message, for example, can help increase redemption rates.

Similarly, the fourth tip mentioned in the session was around context by using time and location to create relevant messages.

Encouraging consumers to share a message to friends and family helps take content viral, per Mr. Miller.

Finally, marketers should use SMS to integrate other marketing channels. This could include either getting a text message as a receipt or sending out shipping information.

“Text is really the base to get to everybody really quickly,” said John Styers, executive vice president at Sumotext.

“It matters because we still want to collect email addresses, we still want to collect attributes, [and] we still want to know stuff about these customers so that we can create and target marketing messages that are relevant and succinct,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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