One bad trend that I have noticed when opting in to mobile programs is that it has not been a focused SMS opt-in process. Many programs I text do not have a simple opt-in process with a two-way SMS dialog. For many companies, you text the initial keyword and they send you a text with a link to a mobile Web page. Companies should not assume that just because I have texting enabled on my phone that I also have a data package, or that I would be willing to log on to a computer later to fill out a profile online.
An ugly trend I noticed is that there is no consistent marketing perspective on the frequency and quality of messaging. I subscribed to mobile programs from American Eagle, but they have yet to send me a message in the eight months that I have been a subscriber. While I remember that I signed up, other folks may not. When American Eagle does get around to sending their first message it will hold less value for some folks because they will not remember ever subscribing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Victoria’s Secret sends me a text message a week. Getting a message once a week is great from a frequency standpoint; however, what is contained in the message itself does not always hold value for me. Many texts just alert me to store events and provide other non-deal related information. I would prefer to have the option of signing up to receive just deals.
One great mobile experience that I have had is in-store texting to receive a coupon at a Van Heusen outlet. I liked this experience because there was a direct call to action from a sign placed by the entrance to the store. The experience itself was extremely simple, just text the brand name to the short code and receive an extra 15 percent off the purchase I was going to make anyway. I also like the fact that after the initial message I had the option to subscribe to monthly offers or just get the discount and be done with the program.
It is great that companies are starting to reach out to customers through mobile, but marketers need to keep in mind that a mobile device is something that a person has with them at all times. To connect with someone on that personal level you need to provide highly personalized and relevant offers – always.