In our previous post, we highlighted how Americans are increasingly married to their smartphones, using them for all sorts of activities and during all sorts of activities. Cellular devices have become less dedicated communications devices and more natural extensions of everyday activities. That offers plenty of opportunities for businesses—and plenty of challenges, too. What’s the best way to traverse such a tricky marketing landscape? This blog post seeks to answer that question in part by drawing on insights from Urban Airship’s , which is part of the ’s ongoing “From Good Push to Great Engagement” series.
Understand That the Marketing Milieu Is Different
First things first: Marketing may not be what you think it is. For many businesses owners, communicating with consumers seems simple. A billboard here. A radio ad there. A quarter-page spread in the local newspaper. But as the Urban Airship report notes, “Marketing has changed. Your customer is in control; you are not.”
Strong words, but what do they mean practically? In the journal Management Decision, scholar C.M. Sashi notes that marketing has moved beyond mere communication of information . He calls it customer engagement and concludes that it “seems to go beyond awareness, beyond purchase, beyond satisfaction, beyond retention, and beyond loyalty.” Businesses need a mindset that takes an initial connection with a customer and transforms it into mutual interaction, consumer satisfaction, and—eventually—commitment and advocacy. Monetary transactions are only the start; mutual relationships are what matter in this new marketing era. Perhaps this is why Urban Airship urges, “Stop interrupting, and instead invite your user to have a singularly personal experience and provide them with services that will improve their life.”
Think Pinpoint Precision Rather Than Diverse Diffusion
Of course, it’s easier to talk about relationships than foment them. Still, one of the steps businesses should take to move from theory to action involves understanding where their communications fall on the marketing continuum. Think of the ways in which you talk to customers as ranging from broadly diffused to narrowly focused, anything from undifferentiated communication (very broad) to differentiated communication (somewhat broad) to concentrated communication (somewhat narrow) to micromarketing communication (very narrow).
Now think about a cell-focused SMS campaign. Where do you think it naturally falls on that spectrum? If you guessed toward the narrow side, you’re a quick study. Every phone is owned by a particular individual in a particular locale with particular interests and particular buying patterns. It’s not enough to think about your target market in broad demographic terms. You need to drill down deeper, because demographics aren’t discrete descriptors, each atomistic and isolated. They’re integrated and combine to create unique blocks of people, blocks that often require pinpoint precision to reach.
Consideration Is Key
Sometimes marketers use a lot of jargon when describing their particular discipline, but most marketing breaks down into two very broad categories. Pull marketing draws consumers to a particular product or brand through reputation or panache, while push marketing pops messages right out in front audiences. Think of banner ads and broadcast television spots, radio jingles and reading full-page layouts in glossy magazines.
By its very nature, SMS marketing is push marketing, but it’s push marketing with a twist. Since potential customers always have their phones with them, an SMS campaign requires extra consideration on the part of the marketer. Would you like someone shouting messages at you any and all of the time? Well, neither do smartphone owners. Know your target market well enough to offer them effective communications—and not a single message more. After all, respect is the foundation of a mutually beneficial, ongoing relationship.