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Direct Response Marketing

A Call (or Text) to Action

1 Sep, 2009 By: Nicole Urso Reed Response

A Call (or Text) to Action

i2"We put together a communication plan for EZ Lube to talk to consumers," says Jones. "It's not always about oil changes and saving. It's talking to people to build the brand."

Developing a database of loyal consumers who are willing to receive ongoing communication from a business starts by building trust and offering quality content.

"The concept to keep in mind is to make it unique and different than other communication," Jones contends. "If you're a grocer, don't give me page one of the circular. Give me something cool and different. Consumers took a leap of faith and gave you their phone number. That's the No. 1 thing — different and vibrant. And, the consumer is always in charge."

Ace Hardware, a national home maintenance retailer, launched a mobile strategy over Memorial Day weekend to build brand awareness, remind consumers about their summer projects to-do list and boost in-store visits. Mobile messages were sent to consumers inviting them to check out Memorial Day sales.

The campaign consisted of two mobile ads and a weather forecast sponsorship for one week. The mobile ads, which featured seasonal products like RoundUp Weed & Grass Killer, returned an average 18-percent click-through rate (CTR), and the integrated weather forecast sponsorship generated an average 17-percent CTR.

After the campaign ended, a sample of users were asked if they had visited an Ace retail store within seven-to-10 days, and people who viewed the mobile ad were 29 percent more likely to have made an in-store visit.

The Mobile Posse, which developed the ads for Ace Hardware, refers to mobile as the "idle screen." Mobile Posse connects advertisers with content providers and wireless carriers to develop integrated marketing programs on mobile phones. The ads go beyond SMS and strive for a fully integrated and seamless experience for the user without the need for opt-in messaging.

Customization Is Key

Urban Outfitters is another example of a national retailer erasing barriers between online, mobile and in-store marketing. The Philadelphia-based retailer's merchandise consists of men's and women's brand-name apparel as well as gifts, books and a modest selection of electronic gadgets and home (or dorm room) accessories. Its target demographic of 20-30 year olds is mobile, social and smartphone-savvy.

The company built its mobile presence with E-mail marketing, text message coupons and, most recently, a mobile commerce site launched in July. E-mail offers come packed with lookbook-style trend alerts, top-rated items, new and popular styles, sales and free shipping offers, in-store appearances by music artists and incentives for users to fill out their preferences for customized deals and recommendations.

The mobile site further integrates the experience by enabling users to view an E-mail or text message offer on their mobile phones and then click through to the mobile Web site to shop and purchase.

Streamlining the Web-site-to-mobile experience is essential for retailers carving out a long-term mobile strategy. The migration from Web to mobile usage is being fueled today by social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, whose most popular applications are location based. According to Nielsen, the mobile social networking audience grew 189 percent from 2007 to 2008, and the fastest growing demographic of social network users are between the ages of 25 and 34 — a sweet spot for retailers.

Nielsen's assessment of mobile social media, presented at CES 2009, claims that the trend will fundamentally change the way that advertisers reach consumers.

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About the Author: Nicole Urso Reed

Nicole Urso Reed

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