On Dec. 3, 1992, the first text message was sent, saying “Merry Christmas.” Over the subsequent three decades, the role of both the mobile device and the text message itself have changed exponentially. Now, consumers are on their mobile phones for an average of 4.5 hours a day, and an exceptionally large percentage of that time is spent sending and receiving SMS; communicating through messaging apps and, increasingly, interacting with push notifications and mobile wallet alerts to expand their shopping behaviors.
Clearly, the mobile world has come a long way since that first text message. If retailers learned any lessons from these past few years, it’s that they must continue to adapt how they interact with and serve today’s consumers through mobile, and through their absolute favorite channel – messaging – defined here as SMS, MMS, push notification, mobile wallet notifications, app inbox messages or some combination thereof.
The Four P’s Are Now Messaging-Centric.
When it comes to mobile marketing and using messaging to drive engagement, retail brands must prioritize the famous four Ps of marketing: price, product, place and promotion.
Using messaging, brands are now able to offer individual customers personalized, dynamic pricing. For example, brands can send shoppers surprise loyalty points via text message when they are shopping in-store or targeted offers based on their propensity to buy, meaning brands anticipate what a customer will purchase in the future based on purchase history. This builds customer trust by sending products that are in the customer’s ideal price range.
On the product side, brands can use mobile to remind shoppers why they buy. With mobile, brands are able to instantly tie a message directly to a product, enhancing the value of the product and building customer trust by suggesting relevant items. Mobile also provides brands with the ability to receive real-time feedback on products – engagement with a click versus an ignored message – that helps drive innovation.
Compared with email marketing, mobile allows brands to distribute messages directly to customers through mobile wallet, push notifications or SMS. Sending marketing messages to customers’ most personal devices allows brands the chance to connect with customers on a relevant, timely level no matter where they might be located.
Mobile also gives brands the opportunity to take part in bespoke messaging – sending customers personalized product promotions via SMS and push. Brands can use data received to understand that customer, and then communicate in a way that makes sense for the consumer. This makes their brands far more marketable in the long run.
Mobile Messaging Is Now Integrated Throughout the Buyer’s Journey
As retailers begin to fully take advantage of evolving consumer behavior, they must ask themselves: how can mobile messaging make the purchasing journey easier for customers?
The cold reality is that email is simply not interactive – and email open rates are now in the single-digits. Just try and find a teenager or an early 20-something who relies on email for their daily communication, as opposed to text, and you’ll be looking for far longer than you’d like.
Two-way interactions are the expectation. The same expectations we have of our closest friends and relatives applies equally to the businesses who engage with us on the most intimate channel that is native to our most personal device.
If it’s not seamlessly interactive, distractions can easily derail a communication attempt. The estimated adult attention span today is 8 seconds – “beating” the 9-second attention span of a goldfish – so if the message doesn’t land then you, the retail brand marketer, risk disrupting a consumer’s day with a distraction they don’t value.
Privacy And Security Are Paramount as Mobile Gets Closer to the Register
As SMS buying becomes a more realistic vision for many brands, privacy and security will undoubtedly be a top concern for both customers and brands. With 81% of consumers saying that having choices about how companies use their data is important, brands must invest in permission-based marketing. Doing so allows brands to guarantee that they have permission to use data and lets them know to what extent they can target marketing to each customer.
Permission-based marketing plays a big role in personalized marketing. Seventy-one percent of consumers worldwide expect retailers to deliver on personalization. The desire for personalization increases the need for permission. With permission, brands can drive even more messaging engagement and increase revenue: Vibes’ data shows that birthday-triggered messages, for instance, have a 16.4% click-thru rate (CTR), far higher than any other event-triggered message type.
Embrace the Renaissance of Messaging to drive revenue.
The options for mobile marketing have expanded significantly since that first text message was sent in 1993. We’re really only at the start of the messaging journey. ChatGPT and other AI bots are making waves as the future of what it means to interact.
SMS kicked off this inherently conversational technology and paved the way for a renaissance of messaging because it instantly delivers what every human craves: a conversation. Throughout 2023, it’s evident that mobile messaging will continue to be central to a customer’s journey in how they buy from and interact with the brands they love.