How to do Mobile Marketing Fast and Cheap

Text messaging programs with a shortcode often involve complexities requiring good sized budgets and months of lead time to set up. I’ve certainly wished this weren’t the case as I’ve managed many of these initiatives.

Sometimes there are effective shortcuts.

Coors Light recently added an interactive element to ads with a simple text messaging program. Fans txt’d “coorslight” to 44636, opting in for SMS updates on the NFL draft. Subscribers received a series of 31 messages which came as each NFL team made its top pick.

Agency DraftFCB handled the text messaging part of the program, implemented with a free text service. 4Info lets you publish via SMS for free. They are ad supported, selling text ad space at the end of published text messages.

This approach can only handle a small subset of text programs, but is effective marketers who only need simple publishing.

Tradeoffs include:

  • avoid the considerable time and expense of a new branded shortcode
  • loose flexibility in sharing the 4Info (44636) shortcode
  • avoid most of the other costs of a text messaging program
  • your messages may include ads from other brands
  • few options for programing, interactivity, integration, and control

Here’s what the program looks like to subscribe:

me: coorslight
44636:
Coors Light, the official beer of the NFL is proud to provide NFL Draft Results. To confim you’re 21 & receive alerts, reply PICK + TEAM NAME ex. PICK JETS
me:
pick niners
44636:
NFL SF@OAK 8/8 10p Reply 1 for NFL San Francisco 49ers score alerts *Courtyard by Marriot. Reply CTYD

I didn’t get a chance to see the TV commercial for this — if anyone has a link, please share in the comments.

Thanks to Mobile Marketer for the article bringing this campaign to my attention. The New York Times has an interesting article on the broader Coors Light campaign including the social media elements.

Are Adoptive Marketing and User Experience as Strategy the same?

In “Viral Marketing is bullsh*t. Adoptive Marketing isn’t.” blog Go Big Always explains why viral marketing is otherwise manipulative, shallow, and correspondingly ineffective. Contrast that with making sure the product itself is designed to create an emotional connection and a high adoption rate.

Is this the same, or different, from User Experience as Strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments….

(See entries from earlier in May: Join the 8% Who Get It (or what do books on Experience Design, Advertising, and Social Media have in common?) and Thunder vs. iPhone: Experience not Features)

Amazon TextBuyIt: Strategic and Impressive at First Glance

Shoppers started using mobile in brick and mortar stores a long time ago: Phone calls (and SMS) to collaborate with a significant other on a purchase; snapping a photo and sending it to a friend via MMS to ask “how does this look?”; running a web browser to check Amazon for reviews or pricing on a book you’re thumbing through at Borders.

In fact, that last case is the one I most often describe to clients as a way that your business will be changed by mobile even if you don’t yet think mobile applies to you. Just as bookstores who understood the Internet shift did well by changing the way they positioned themselves to compete (whether or not that included any online services), they’ll now have to re-position to take advantage of the mobile shift. How will your business (re-)position itself to be a succesful part of the changes brought by mobile rather than a casualty of them?

Starting today, Amazon is accelerating the mobile shift for retailers by launching a new shortcode text messaging service making it easier for more customers to quickly check pricing and place orders from any cell phone (not just smart phones with browsers).

Text an item name (or UPC or ISBN) to AMAZON (262966). You’ll get back text messages with matching items and pricing. You can even place an order by sending a text choosing the item you want (smartly combines with an IVR call to your phone so that you don’t have endless back and forth, and presumably the second order from your handset will be even smoother). It’s integrated with your regular Amazon.com account, so you use your email

This is fantastic for when a friend tells you about a book you should read, when you remember an item to order, or when you’re at a retail store and want to decide whether to pick it up here or buy from Amazon.com. No more adding it to your to-do list of endless things you should think about when you get back to your desk.

Smart offering taking advantage of the shift to mobile lifestyles and integrating well with the desktop web:

  • service to the customer providing information they can use anywhere
  • making yourself available to receive orders in any format the customer prefers

Facebook Mobile: Causes, SMS and Blackberry

A few quick notes from CTIA (the wireless industry conference this week):

CTIA CEO Steve Largent announced that they’re re-activating Text2Give for the SoCal fires: text GIVE to 2HELP to donate $5 to the RedCross, shows up on your phone bill.

Facebook CTO and Co-Founder Markovitz, this morning’s keynote (yesterday was Steve Ballmer):

  • New mobile features let app’s automatically work with mobile and to add new mobile keywords for SMS
  • They love the ‘Causes’ app and used it as an example for both the above.
  • ages 35+ is the fastest growing demographic for Facebook (which is similar to SMS — these are not just ways to reach youth)
  • RIM CEO joined to announce and demo the new Blackberry native Facebook app. Uses push so you have content when offline (set custom tones for Facebook notifications), fully integrates with photos and address book to allow things like tagging and uploading to Facebook automatically when you take a pic. Again, Facebook and mobile are not just for younger demographics, RIM investing here (and 2000 RIM employees are on Facebook)