This “In The Trenches” missive has four ways direct marketers can tap into mobile. We’ve either tested or are planning to test all of them for our clients. We believe they will become staple response mechanisms alongside land-line phones, web sites and search.
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The ultimate goal for direct marketers is to motivate consumers to take a desired action – buy a product, request more information, visit a web site, etc. With SmartPhone sales going through the roof, and new apps being introduced constantly, now is the time to prudently test mobile. Here are four leading ways direct marketers can use mobile.
1. QR (Quick Response) Codes, or 2D Codes, are matrix barcodes that can be used for a multitude of functions related to direct marketing. Consumers can scan codes using the camera from their mobile SmartPhone to download mobile coupons, visit a web site to get more information, watch a video, fill out a form or even initiate a phone call. These can be used in print, outdoor and even in store on shelf displays or on product packaging. And these are a great tool for customer retention as well.
2. Star Star Numbers. A StarStar Number combines a toll-free number, a web address and a short code into one simplified number. They function much like QR Codes but instead of scanning a code a consumer would dial a 1-15 digit string, for example, **SHIRT. By dialing the code the caller can be presented with a call, text message, video, coupon or app similar to the QR Code. These can also be used in print, outdoor and in store but what these can do more easily than QR Codes is engage with television viewers. It’s much easier to ask a viewer to call **SHIRT than to expect them to scan a code on their screen.
3. Shazam is a mobile listening application that can “listen” to several seconds of a song or digital audio clip, recognize it and then provide programmed information about that song or clip. Direct marketers can have information programmed to display when a consumer “listens” to their commercial. This can include more product information, links to websites, call initiation, etc. And like Star Star Numbers, this is a much easier way to engage a television viewer. It requires minimal effort to drive a desired action.
4. SMS stands for Short Message Service and is basically a text messaging service for use on any text enabled mobile phone. You’ve seen this in use when people vote for their American Idol favorites. Many direct marketers think this tool is outdated or “uncool”. But this tool does what some others can’t which is push information and calls to action back out to consumers at later dates. So if you text SHIRT to 45678 you can receive an instant promotion code for an in-store or online discount; but in 2 weeks you can push out another message to notify that consumer of another sale or event that you want to invite them to. SMS allows for more re-engagement with consumers that you dictate instead of relying on them to initiate the action.
When creating your next direct marketing plan consider how mobile can be an integral part of that plan. With some forward thinking, these tools can be easily managed and tracked to drive an increase in ROI.