Making the Most Out of Text Messaging - Event Marketer

Making the Most Out of Text Messaging

Remember when we all hated watching teenagers obsessively text away using their weird abbreviated jargon that no one over the age of 18 could understand? Yeah well how many times have you texted the phrase “cu l8r” in the last week? Don’t lie. We know. When it was only for teens texting seemed so superfluous. Now it seems kinda convenient. But at events it’s also a way to stay connected at a lower cost and engage consumers on the spot.

Even more texting means instant feedback allowing marketers to adjust programs in real time for greater ROI and to see that ROI faster. So the question is not are you using text messaging onsite? It’s are you using it to its full potential? Here’s how three brands are doing it.

Alltel Wireless. A sponsor of the Cleveland Cavaliers Alltel engages basketball fans through text promotions and trivia on LED screens that wrap the stadium. Fans also use camera phones which use MMS technology to get their snapshots in a slideshow that runs on a loop on the big screens. (We all know that text messaging technology is referred to as SMS right? Good.)

“Having branding up there as a sponsor of the team is fine but we want fans to make a connection that Alltel is a wireless company ” says Samira Zebian director of sponsorship marketing at Alltel. “The best way to do that is through tangible interaction with their phone at the game.”
Text messaging is also an efficient way to collect data about existing customers as well as a good way to get non-customers interested in getting more information about Alltel’s services via their current cell phones.

Being a carrier does present some challenges for Alltel. It has to make sure that non-customers can participate in its program too. Alltel makes sure to stay true to its service plan—Circle of Friends—which allows consumers to connect with people out of plan by making sure its text activations work cross carrier.
Alltel customers get exclusive perks like live scores and breaking news sent via text messaging (Agency: GMR Marketing New Berlin WI).
“We make a deeper connection. It wasn’t a passive impression it was an active impression ” says Zebian. “That is far more valuable than just having permanent signage in a building.”

Samsung. During the Beyoncé Experience Live tour (see page 22) sponsored by Samsung text messaging was an integral part of the program from start to finish.
Fans texted to win VIP tickets to the Samsung Sound Lounge through local radio stations. The winners got a chance to meet Beyoncé and hang out at a luxurious VIP lounge before the concert.

The B Phone inspired by the diva was the center of attention. Attendees received a Be the First to Own download card to keep consumers updated about B Phone promotions via email and text messages. Samsung customers also received a text message from Beyoncé to download a free ringtone.
The space was also filled with Samsung plasmas showing endearing text messages to Beyoncé from attendees. And attendees received a pre-recorded message (via Bluetooth) from Beyoncé.

“By enabling consumers to send text messages to screens throughout the Beyoncé Experience Tour and participate in contests to win prizes Samsung involved consumers and welcomed them to participate in the event in a way that was compelling fun and entertaining ” says Cinco Calfee senior manager-strategic marketing at Samsung.
But the real benefit of texting is in measurement and long-term engagement.

“We look at SMS as another way to not only engage the consumer but to also measure that engagement and then continue to have a dialogue and build the relationship long past the promotion ” says Calfee.

Cisco. So far text messaging can engage remind and land you Beyoncé concert tickets. Not bad. How about some validation?
Companies are always looking for the best way to validate an event and justify ROI to the big guns. Text messaging can help by turning around instant responses that can improve an event in minutes.

At Cisco’s Global Sales Meeting Fiscal Year ’08 Las Vegas it was all about real-time feedback. Through the use of proprietary software Cisco could have speaker evaluations within 90 minutes via text messaging. Attendees received a message through SMS text or email on web-enabled phones (WAP). They could answer questions by opening a URL with a browser on their WAP or laptop.

“[If something] wasn’t having an impact we knew it right away. And it allowed us to go home immediately and show management the value of this program ” says Angie Smith manager-worldwide sales events at Cisco. “Most of us are already carrying a web enabled cell device that uses this technology so it really saves us money.”
During online registration attendees could sign up for text messaging. Once onsite Global Links tracked users in sessions via an ID code assigned to them when they registered on-site and picked up their badge. Attendees could receive text message updates and fill out a survey after each session (Agency: George P. Johnson Auburn Mills MI).
Cisco could also gauge attendee awareness of the brand by providing a Q&A to test attendee knowledge about Cisco.

“We used the instant polling for fun and entertainment this year. And the best part is we had the results within a few minutes ” says Smith. Nw dats d wA 2 do it!

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