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Mobile Marketer’s Dilemma: SMS/MMS vs. Push vs. Beacons – Takeaways from RIC 2016

Today’s consumer demands a seamless experience when engaging with brands providing real-time communication on whatever device or platform they prefer. Marketers are tasked with providing that seamless experience while finding new opportunities for growth with known and unknown customers. Mobile has proven to be both an efficient and effective solution in building that communication, but with so many channels available, it is often a challenge to know where to engage with your audiences to get the most impact.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at the 2016 Restaurant Intelligence Conference to answer that very question. The “Mobile Marketer’s Dilemma: SMS/MMS vs. Push vs. Beacons” panel was made up of restaurant industry veterans Rob Crews, consultant and principal of Rob Crews Marketing LLC., Douglas Kwong, digital director at CiCis, Danny Sullivan, former VP of global digital experience at Pizza Hut, and Ben Bennett, former director of digital marketing at Logan’s Roadhouse. Each panelist shared past mobile campaigns they found to be highly successful, addressing the key takeaways from the process.

You can view the entire panel here:

Danny Sullivan shared an example from his time as VP of mobile at Sephora discussing the reasons why loyalty programs serve as a vital component to impacting and interacting with mobile audiences. The marketing team at Sephora was tasked with finding a way for customers to not only download the Sephora app, but to encourage active engagement. Sephora’s growing loyalty program, Sephora Beauty Insider, utilized push notifications to notify loyalty members of relevant upcoming sales or how many points away customers were from reaching the next tier of the program. The campaign proved extremely successful and resulted in an increase in sales through the app, with 97% of those sales resulting from the loyalty program itself. Sullivan found that because customers are given constant rewards, it serves as an incentive to keep coming back to the app. This being said, loyalty programs cultivate a strong customer base and drives brand loyalty.

Ben Bennett re-capped his experience at the Country Music Association where he learned the significance of customer activation. In between performances at the CMA Music Festival, house music was played to continue the entertainment, primarily consisting of music available on hand. Spotify approached CMA with the idea of creating a 60 foot Spotify Jukebox next to the stage that enabled attendees to select which songs would play during breaks via SMS or tweets. The program resulted in not only a fantastic playlist, but a massive uptick in subscriber numbers with 25% of the 40,000 attendees participating in through SMS and tweets. Bennett and his team believe their success stemmed from giving the program the utmost attention and push to make it well-known. If you’re introducing something new, it’s essential to integrate it everywhere, educate employees, include it on marketing collateral, and create physical signage. No matter how great your app or program is, you’re doomed to failure without the proper support.

In summary, the panelists shared their top tips for new mobile marketers entering the mobile space, in addition to the tried-and-true methods every marketer should know. When it comes to engaging with customers, it’s crucial to understand your audiences in order to tap into the channels where they are most conveniently reached. In today’s digital age, with the millennial consumer specifically, this may often require getting your foot into the mobile door.

It’s important to always have a plan and direction for the channels you’re investing in. Channels need to tie back to the main mission and maintain awareness of what competitors are doing. Unfortunately, a siloed channel can easily make a lot of work and investment mean very little.

Start small and experiment, see what works, what doesn’t, and then learn from the successes and failures to make your next campaign even stronger.

If you’re curious how your organization can use SMS, MMS, push, or wallet, contact us.

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