Slowly, But Surely, SMS Marketing Is Growing In The US

mcds.jpg

SMS marketing campaigns certainly aren’t anything new, but in the US, where just over a third or so of mobile users (according to M:Metrics) actually text — compared to 85% in the UK — it’s been a bit slow-going, beyond the success of Cingular’s tie-in with American Idol for SMS voting. However, it looks like things are starting to change, however slowly. Driving that change is the use of SMS marketing by big brands such as McDonald’s and Coke, in campaigns that are actually encouraging people to send in messages, not just receive them.

Neither campaign is really anything too remarkable in itself: McDonald’s is running a text-and-win campaign that’s tied in with the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie (a bad picture of their on-bag promotion at right), while Coke’s doing My Coke Rewards, the latest incarnation of the loyalty program, where you have to buy approximately $7000 worth of Coca-cola products to get a free TV set (though you can get a free ringtone for approximately one 12-pack and two 20-ounce bottles, which doesn’t seem so bad). The point, though, is that two of the biggest consumer brands in the US are actively engaging their customers to send them text messages — which is a pretty huge move.

This should lead to a lot more interest in this area, particularly if these promotions are successful, which by sheer volume, you’d expect them to be. Like I said, they’re not especially interesting, but that’s almost beside the point — encouraging people to text, but also to interact with brands via text, is more meaningful. There’s a big opportunity here, particularly for people that have been through this early growth phase in other countries and can apply their experience. I’m curious to see how these campaigns play out, particularly if and how they try to maintain a relationship with participants. In intrepid effort to explore (and ensure my Diet Coke with Splenda purchases aren’t in vain), I’ve registered for My Coke Rewards and given them permission to text me. I’ll keep you posted.

[tags]mobile, mobile marketing, sms, my coke rewards, mcdonalds, sms marketing[/tags]

—–>Follow us on Twitter too: @russellbuckley and @caaarlo