As adoption increases, the time is obviously right for Target to become more aggressive about marketing through the mobile channel, specifically with the most widely adopted use of a mobile device (behind voice) – text messaging.
Like the store’s approach to a grand opening – where a soft open is preferable to ensure systems and processes are fully operational by the time the grand opening occurs – the entry into the world of mobile marketing with SMS messages should have been softer.
After reading the press blitz from the industry publications last Friday I was fairly geeked up about what promised to be a really great, consumer-friendly mobile marketing approach.
Boy, have I been disappointed so far.
I realize Target intends on sending five messages per month (as the post opt-in text reported). I also realize that it is unfair to render a total judgment on the quality of Target’s SMS marketing approach so early in the game… with four messages still undelivered for the month. However, there are a couple of key indicators I have picked up on that hopefully Target will address in the near future. If they remain unaddressed, I think Target’s SMS marketing will miss the mark.
The first message confirming the opt-in is the standard boiler plate the MMA demands. It reads:
Welcome to Target Mobile Coupons! Up to 5 msgs/mo. Send STOP 2 end, HELP 4 info. Msg&data rates may apply
While most of it is fairly standard, Target is setting an important expectation here – I am signed up for mobile coupons. Therefore, when I receive a message, I expect a mobile coupon.
So, when the first message was delivered, I was surprised by the following:
TARGET: New Mobile Coupon. Save up to $6.50 on Kraft, Planters, M&M’s and more. Visit target.com/save Msg&data rates may apply
There are several missed opportunities here with this message, and I hope that it is not an omen of what to expect.
First, I was not sent a mobile coupon. I was sent a link to get a mobile coupon. More, the link was dead – it was not a hyperlink I can click on to visit from the text. I was expected to be SO compelled at the generic thought of saving random dollars and cents on products I may or may not purchase on a regular basis that I would memorize the link, then type it into my mobile Web browser. I have a touch screen phone, Web-enabled phone (Samsung Omnia), and it should have been easy to browse from coupon to the Web.
Second, the offer is problematic, too. There is no personalization, and clearly no segmentation. I do not buy those brand name items at Target. I purchase them at my grocery store. Also, I do not live anywhere CLOSE to a Target Supercenter, so the assumption that the first offer I would receive should be for food is a complete miss. I realize that the character limits are difficult in a mobile message, but $6.50 worth of savings are not compelling since I do not customarily buy those products, let alone buy them from Target. Better segmentation prevents this issue. Some kind of geo-location – even something simple like asking for a zip code at the opt-in – should have put me in a segment outside of Target Supercenter range, so I did not receive a food offer.
SMS marketing does not have to be hard. The right strategic thinking is focused in on the value exchange for the customer. As a consumer I am agreeing to give them the address to my most personal device. Therefore I have expectations about the types of messages I get. Target missed an opportunity to engage me. Now I perceive Target as slightly differently.
With a brand name like “Target” the consumer inherently expects a certain level of relevance and personalization in the messages they receive. Any kind of mobile interaction requires those traits. Certainly the ship has not sailed on the possibilities contained with Target’s SMS marketing. But there are opportunities to make dramatic improvements – and Target should act fast.