While marketers have been gradually adopting 1:1 printing and personalized URLs, they have been slow to expand beyond siloed programs and really integrate their 1:1 marketing across media or draw in other functions, such as triggered follow-ups and automatic notifications to salespeople. For those few who are expanding into this area, something people seem to be very interested in right now is SMS.
When we talk about “triggering,” what we’re talking about is that, based upon an action or inaction by the recipient, an automated, multi-channel marketing solution takes another action automatically.
For example, say a client does a marketing campaign that asks respondents to fill out an online form. Three days after the initial blast, if targets have not responded, the solution can be set up to send an email or SMS to nudge them. If recipients do respond by going onto the website and requesting more information, it can be set up to automatically send email or SMS alerts to the marketer’s salesforce that includes all of the respondent’s contact information and even answers to their survey questions.
Some solutions — available from most multi-channel marketing software providers — can even integrate with the Intelligent Mail Barcode system (IMB), so if the campaign is supposed to hit Wednesday, it sends out a follow-up email or SMS two days later to nudge non-responders.
Integration of SMS as one of the channels used by these integrated, multi-channel marketing programs is growing. Many of the big brand marketers like Google are making significant investments in this area (Google now offers its own SMS marketing service).
As with all marketing tools, SMS has its challenges. People are more proprietary about their phones than they are email, so list accuracy and opt-in/out management are huge. So is the danger of over-saturation. SMS marketing has to be managed very carefully.
There are many components to emerging multi-channel marketing programs. Every channel has its benefits, challenges, and quirks. It’s one reason that retooling your business to become a MSP is more than about technology. It’s about the expertise and skill sets of the people behind them. Increasingly, SMS is becoming one of them.