Retailers are in high gear, using SMS marketing to advertise back-to-school deals. A Washington Post article cites retailers of every ilk including JC Penney, Sears, Kmart and American Eagle are targeting consumers with coupons, specials and contests with text messages among other types of ads. The back-to-school season is next in line to holiday shopping in terms of spending, with $20 billion annually being spent, so the avid interest is understandable.
Instead of focusing solely on moms buying supplies for the kids, retailers need to remember that senior high school students and college students make their own purchasing decision, and are avid users of technology. Focusing mobile marketing campaigns on both groups — moms and students alike — makes sense.
Although blanket specials (a discount on clothing or school supplies) are attractive, getting that all-important opt-in permission from cell phone users need more refined offers. Getting students on board with SMS marketing messages may mean offering new opt-ins with the chance to win an ipod while moms might be drawn more by prizes like family vacations.
The text messages that follow opt-in permission should always follow the demographics. Offering text book coupons and pizza specials to college students are likely to see better ROI than sending information about the best deals on new cars (although used car deals might not be a bad idea). SMS marketing to moms with school-age children in a tough economy would do well to stick with necessities, including health, and affordable entertainment like family movie nights.
As text marketing continues to grow, consumers will become increasingly demanding in terms of value offered per message. Hyper-focused events like the annual back-to-school blitz help make it easier for retailers and service providers to make each SMS message count.