Vibes’ Associate Director of Strategy Answers 5 Questions About Getting Started with SMS

March 26, 2019 Lisa Szkatulski

Vibes’ Associate Director of Strategy Answers 5 Questions About Getting Started with SMS

When it comes to helping Vibes’ customers get started on their SMS mobile marketing journey, there’s no one better than Lisa Szkatulski, Associate Director of Strategy, to answer those burning questions they have. Lisa works with customers to help them succeed all along their mobile journeys – so she’s able to share questions (and answers) she often receives from brands who look to us as mobile experts and want a little reassurance that they’re on the right path to success.

Q: What strategic uncertainties keep new-to-mobile customer awake at night?

There are a lot of things companies worry about when adopting a new mobile marketing channel. Usually it starts with how mobile will fit into their greater content and channel strategy. They want to know how mobile will drive ROI compared to other channels and they wonder how they can measure results.

Some of the first questions we strive to wrap our heads around might be “What is the value of mobile to this brand and their users?”; “What will make shoppers click?”; and “How can we simplify the path to purchase?” We answer the same questions as the rest of marketing – discovery, exploration, decision, repeat.

The mobile journey is a huge part of what we consider in answering these questions. We consider what problems we’re solving, and how the end user is trying to solve them today; how we can make that process better; and once the mobile program is live, how we can teach them about what we’ve built so they can achieve their goals more easily than before.

Q: What value does Mobile bring to my marketing mix?

SMS is a great addition to your marketing strategy because it is flexible and has strong engagement. You can leverage SMS to direct shoppers to any mobile destination, and likewise you can enroll them into mobile from any channel. It’s an incredibly powerful tool in store when people are problem-solving on the spot; it’s also a quick win when shoppers are browsing in down times, like waiting in line or commuting to work. It’s a complimentary driver to email marketing and boosts mobile wallet adoption. It’s also ideal for driving in-store traffic and sales.

Q. Vibes talks about being a Tier-1 aggregator, but what does this mean? How will this help our efforts?

Being a Tier-1 aggregator means we work directly with the mobile carriers to send messages instead of working through third parties who may have competing priorities to those of our customers. As one of just four Tier-1 aggregators, messages sent from Vibes go out more quickly and reliably than other providers. It’s not a complicated detail, but it’s a hugely impactful one when you’re sending billions of messages a year.

Q. I’ve decided to invest in mobile marketing, but what KPIs should I pay attention to?

The impulse and temptations are great to gauge yourself against generalized industry benchmarks – but remember that each consumer group is unique. Even in the same industry, similar retailers will need to shift measurement expectations based on their shoppers’ expectations and established shopping patterns.

The key is to establish what your brand wants to get out of mobile in the first place, and measure against your own efforts. Be ready to listen, learn, and pivot from the engagement that you see.

We always recommend tracking brand health goals – overall growth rate, clickthrough rates, how long people stay enrolled in the mobile program, A|B language testing, daypart testing, to name a few – but where things get really interesting are running programs unique to a segment or tied to a specific marketing initiative (like Back to School, for example) – what can we learn about your different consumer groups? What will holdout testing do to help us figure out your incremental ROI? These are the next-level metrics that will take your mobile program from functional to phenomenal.

Q. We’ve chosen our KPIs and audience...but what kind of content should we send? How often?

You need to strike a balance between holistic marketing, supporting your other channels, and developing the value of joining a mobile program for the end user. Don’t rely solely on SMS (or any other marketing channel!) to connect with your audience. A solid marketing strategy takes an omnichannel approach, particularly if you have both brick-and-mortar and digital stores.

A few best practices for SMS content marketing include distinguishing the mobile channel with its own value proposition – the content sent via SMS should be different than what is shared on social media or sent via email. Additionally, add mobile to your omnichannel content calendar to align it to your other marketing initiatives. The options are endless when it comes to holidays, branded events, special events, unique offers – and when you are tracking your engagement, you can modify the schedule and frequency accordingly to what your consumers want.

Segmentation is its own layer to content marketing. Whether it’s by age, location, product, purchase frequency, or other segments your business relies on, collecting and storing preference data is something that Vibes can help collect and leverage in your future campaigns to create a mobile relationship in which your consumer base will feel invested and satisfied.

About the Author

Lisa Szkatulski

Lisa Szkatulski is an Associate Director of Strategy at Vibes. She’s passionate about consumer insight, culture and subcultures, and exploring what we do with technology in our everyday choices. She has fifteen years of experience in marketing, and also serves on the board of EPIC, a nonprofit that empowers creative people to make social change happen in Chicago.

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