Personalization for your Mobile Marketing Practice

Personalization for your Mobile Marketing Practice

Enhancing Communications with Munvo’s SMS Gateway

The ‘mobile-first’ mentality has permeated all facets of marketing operations, such as website-building, ecommerce via mobile applications, and the ongoing growth of digital wallets. Smartphones now dictate the way that businesses market themselves and personalize their branded communications. As such, it is crucial to connect with the customers whose handheld devices seldom leave their side.

According to Gartner, SMS open and response rates remain as high as 98% and 45%, respectively, compared to figures of only 20% and 6% for email. For this reason, Munvo developed the SMS Gateway, a flexible software that serves to facilitate intuitive mobile dialogue between businesses and their targeted consumers in near-real time.

With the SMS Gateway, you can convey relevant information and remain in close contact with a set of current or prospective customers. The product’s main features – from its connectors and conversation trees to messaging templates and MMS options – fortify the power of advanced personalization at a speed and capacity that is unprecedented. In this article, we will demonstrate how our team has harnessed this innovative product to support businesses in the pursuit of personalized marketing campaigns.

Find out how Munvo’s SMS Gateway refines mobile marketing practices across all industries to:

Personalize Customer Check-Ins and Travel Offers

Traveling, whether for work or leisure, often requires advanced arrangements that can include lodging, flying, touring, and dining. Travelers want to make the most of their time away – and in the tourism, entertainment, and hospitality industries, their convenience should be your company’s first priority. For instance, when an international airline sought to deploy SMS offers to travelers for exclusive packages from partnering hotels, rental companies, and restaurants, the SMS Gateway prompted our client to look back at each customer’s previous travel history, before finally directing them to the deals or excursions that best suited their interests.

Geotagging can also be implemented to reach travelers when they enter the terminal of an airport. Once they log on to the airport’s free Wi-Fi, the SMS Gateway can initiate a conversation with them via SMS to bring their attention to various promotions. For example, you can solicit customers to purchase roaming data packages from partnering mobile providers. The resulting “Success/Failure” status (based on each customer’s response) can then be saved for future reference.

Personalized SMS messaging ensures that customers stay on top of their itinerary, while granting them the flexibility to modify their plans for a more fulfilling experience, hassle-free. Whether traveling on a family vacation, as a corporate group, or backpacking individually, it is vital to get to know your customers’ distinct needs, or as another one of Munvo’s clients required: to establish communication between their hotel brand and the people checking in. With its ability to form tree-like conversation paths and push lists of SMS numbers to a given short or long code, the SMS Gateway allowed our client to relay key details and limited-time offers to hotel guests; a time-saving initiative that kept them up to date. This information ranged from Wi-Fi passwords, hotel amenities, and room service, to breakfast and pool hours/locations, check-out details, and special event notifications.

SMS Gateway's Intuitive Conversation Tree
In any case, Munvo can assist clients and capitalize on the SMS Gateway’s connector to leverage HTTP protocol and near-real-time communication functionalities, with the general aim of accommodating their respective customer base. The connector’s use of HTTP corresponds directly to your Mobile Messaging Provider (MMPs like Twilio©, Sinch/CLX©, or AWS Pinpoint©), which can alter message performance according to volume and encourage consumers to actively engage. By enabling a link between the airline and hotel’s respective marketing automation solutions and their SMS providers of choice, they were able to develop unique SMS strategies that specifically worked for them. They even customized mobile templates that could be reused as digital assets down the road. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for personalized mobile marketing – and the flexibility of Munvo’s SMS Gateway reflects that reality.

Capture Customer Feedback Instantly

The SMS Gateway enables you to incorporate response-tracking within your marketing automation solution. Current SMS providers lack the ability to support this task, so Munvo took the initiative to bridge that gap.

By surveying customers and gaging their responses through the messages that they navigate within their conversation trees (referred to as nodes within the actual product), we have been able to intuitively reach desired audiences, record their transactions for reference (inbound, outbound, batches), and reassign customers to different messages within their current conversation.

In other words, Munvo’s SMS Gateway gives our clients the agency to capture customer feedback and move the conversation forward based on the data that is provided. It’s no wonder that marketers who employ SMS marketing strategies are on average 79% more likely to adopt additional mobile-specific tactics into their marketing operations, due to the near-immediate results and receptivity of SMS messaging.

Create Customer Profiles Based on Two-Way Dialogue

In light of the SMS Gateway’s advanced customer feedback, you can also draw from, or build on, previous interactions to develop comprehensive customer profiles. This is especially useful in the retail industry, where it is imperative to market the right item to the right person at the most optimal moment. Munvo’s SMS Gateway makes it easy to retrieve and gather end-customer data, and so, enrich your knowledge of targeted consumers, their interests, and basic buying habits.

If, for example, customers purchase an item that makes them eligible to sign up for a specific membership card, the SMS Gateway can ensure that this message is rapidly transmitted to them. The customers would then be prompted to answer with a “Yes/No” opt-in response, in order to receive the mobile wallet card, also sent via SMS.

With adaptable messaging templates, you can even repurpose material that contains personalized customer information. These templates, which are triggered with a webhook, allow you to distinguish and set parameters when requesting customer data directly from your marketing automation software. Afterward, your marketing team can quickly plug retrieved data into future messages or campaigns for effective interactions that are more likely to result in sales.

In one instance, we implemented the SMS Gateway’s connector and integrated Adobe Campaign with Twilio to facilitate real-time, event-driven messaging through the HTTP protocol, in lieu of our client’s REST (Representational State Transfer) connector. We subsequently established a workflow for our client to verify whether certain targeted mobile numbers were already in their database, in order to create new customer profiles or better target existing ones. This is precisely why personalized mobile marketing is one of the best ways to get to know your audience and effectively humanize your brand.

Personalization and the State of Mobile Marketing Today

At a time where we are all increasingly motivated to access digital platforms using our smartphones, it is vital to get to know your customers, their preferences, needs, and impulses. Munvo’s SMS Gateway not only expands and enhances the mobile marketing channel for more direct and engaging interactions, it empowers its users to make relevant changes, or updates, almost immediately. By taking the necessary steps to decipher and learn about today’s consumers, you will naturally heighten their experience and refine your overarching mobile marketing practice. That is how Munvo’s SMS Gateway leverages personalized messaging to strengthen brand reliability, and in turn, build long-term customer loyalty.

About Munvo

Munvo is a leading consulting firm helping clients improve their marketing capabilities through a combination of technology implementations, management consulting and marketing run services. In addition, Munvo Lab develops products and connectors for Adobe, SAS, and Unica Marketing Solutions.

Campaign Connections: Taylor Guitars Hits the High Notes with SMS, Adobe Campaign and Connector

Campaign Connections: Taylor Guitars Hits the High Notes with SMS, Adobe Campaign and Connector

Often enough, a good marketing campaign is like preparing to play guitar in front of a huge crowd. Practicing, experimenting, planning, scheduling, practicing some more. In the final analysis, however, you just to have to put your carefully selected notes out there and hope they strike a chord with your audience. Now that I’ve led you down the Greasy Garden Path of Awkward Metaphors, this story is about Taylor Guitars, the El Cajon, California-based guitar company that has been making some of the world’s most popular guitars since 1974. It’s also about how this company, without any of its own storefronts, used a combination of SMS marketing, Adobe Campaign software, Twilio cloud communications and, yes, Munvo products and technical expertise to strengthen its relationship with both finger-pickin’ consumers and guitar-hawkin’ franchisees.

We’re warning you now that there will be some technical terminology along the way, but don’t worry: we’ll walk you through it.

Chord Progressions

Like playing a good guitar riff, developing an effective direct marketing campaign is all about choosing the right combination of gentle pressures and applying them in just the right order, in just the right spots. [Last guitar metaphor, I promise.]

Convincing and compelling communications are the heart-plucking [sorry] chord progressions [sorry again] of any marketing campaign. When it comes to techniques for reaching the largest possible audiences, no shift has been so tectonic as the one that led us from direct mail and printed brochures to email and Short Message Service (SMS) campaigns. In 2012, Arthur Middleton Hughes compared direct mail with email, and succinctly described the stark difference in costs:

ROI = [(Profit from the sales) – (dollars invested in marketing)] / (dollars invested in marketing) …The in-the-mail price of third class (bulk rate) direct mail (including printing, addressing, and postage) is about $600 per thousand. The delivery cost of e-mails is about $6.00 per thousand. This includes the creation of the e-mail and the delivery costs…In this example, every dollar invested (cost of mailing) with direct mail produced $4.45 in return on the invested dollar. For e-mail, the ROI was $18.33 for every invested dollar.[1]

While direct mail continued to show some advantages when it came to maintaining audience attention and gaining conversions, the sheer economy (and blinding speed) of email could not be denied.

The choice between email and SMS campaigns is not nearly so stark, but it does appear decisive. Both channels are cost-effective, fast, engaging and accessible, especially when each is optimized for those now-ubiquitous smart phones. Both channels offer immense marketing opportunities, but choosing which medium is right for your campaign can be a challenge.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

SMS vs. Email

Studies reveal that typical email campaigns can count on about 30% of recipients opening a given email. That may not seem too bad, until you discover that a full 98% of SMS messages get opened, usually within the first 15 minutes following delivery. Similarly, while emails have a click-through rate of around 7%, SMS messages consistently convince approximately 36% of recipients to take that extra step towards conversion.

Before you jump on the SMS bandwagon and start thinking up clever Keywords, Short Codes and Multi-Touch Upsell campaigns, however, keep in mind that few campaigns are entirely successful the first time out.

Today’s companies usually strategize for longer-term engagements using drip-marketing and other forms of content nurturing. This means engaging customers with multiple messages over a defined period. With automated email campaign platforms like Adobe Campaign, brands can issue up to 30 email campaigns per month, while brands using SMS initiate more like 5 campaigns each month.

Time for an example.

Tailoring Taylor Guitars

I probably don’t need to tell you that purchasing a guitar is a very personal, very tactile experience. To put your good money down, you’re going to want to press the neck and pluck the strings. So how does Taylor Guitars – the world’s largest guitar manufacturer by sales volume – take advantage of all that digital marketing offers?

Cameron Walt is Taylor Guitars’ Digital CRM Manager, and the company’s sole Adobe Campaign expert. He and two colleagues handle all digital marketing initiatives for Taylor Guitars, and have been the impetus behind the guitar company’s transition from a solely hands-on, face-to-face marketing experience to including digital campaigns. Rather than relying almost entirely on independent dealers and in-store sales staff, Taylor is ready to deal more directly with guitar aficionados, while rigorously maintaining personal interactions.

“We’re after that final five feet in the purchase funnel,” Cameron says. “Our dealers and sales reps are still the rock stars when it comes to customer interaction, and we have a healthy online presence, but when it comes to that final in-person guitar sale, we wanted to figure out a way to be part of that in-store experience without disrupting that personal interaction. That’s when we engaged Munvo to help with a robust SMS campaign.”

Information Direct

If you’ve ever been in the market for a guitar, you know the experience. Go into a music store, large or small, and the walls are covered with shiny new guitars, some of which are Taylor’s. But guitars are not like other products; you don’t get a spec sheet with a guitar, you just take it down and play it. There might be a price tag (FYI: Taylor’s most popular model, the 1814ce, retails for around USD$3500), maybe a barcode, but the rest is up to your fingers and ears.

Taylor Guitars decided to use Adobe Campaign to create a SMS campaign as what Cameron calls a “product extender”: a quick and easy way to instantly discover more about whatever axe has caught your eye.

“We wanted to create something that would help consumers and sales staff to quickly find out more about particular guitar models, on-the-spot,” says Cameron. “We know our customers will only make their final purchasing decision when they hold and play the guitar, but by giving them an easy way to get the facts about a specific model, we hope that will increase the chances they’ll walk out of the store with a Taylor.”

SMPP to REST = Munvo

Munvo was on-hand to help Taylor with all things Adobe Campaign-related, including Cameron’s desire to use the more flexible Representational State Transfer (REST) protocol in place of the more ubiquitous Short Message Peer-to-Peer (SMPP):

“REST is far superior to SMPP for the kind of conversational SMS communications that Taylor was after,” explains Andrew Didinchuk, Senior Adobe Architect at Munvo. “It has very low latency, you can communicate directly from Adobe Campaign and you’re able to execute very complex logic for the processing of inbound messages.”

Unfortunately, Adobe Campaign does not support REST-based delivery communications straight out of the box. Fortunately, we could provide Taylor with our own SMS Connector to bridge that gap.

SMS Connector fits right into Adobe Campaign, enabling you to use REST for sending communications to Twilio, a REST-based service provider for sending SMS messages (we’re already working with additional service providers). It processes outbound requests, both in terms of one-off messages and larger batches, as well as pulling status information on those messages, making it easier to determine if your messages are delivered or not. SMS Connector is also able to receive, process and store inbound requests in real time when customers text you.

Taylor (and Cameron) are very pleased with the results so far:

“We’ve achieved on-demand product information for both our customers and our dealers,” explains Cameron. “We’ve really sewn up that last 5 feet in the funnel. What’s more, this has augmented our support for the staff in the music stores. They’re more confident, knowing more in-depth information is just a few phone taps away. And from our side, there is minimal maintenance required, now that it’s up-and-running.”

Taylor Guitars are currently in rollout phase, with no less than 150 dealers interested in adopting the new SMS system.

In this case, at least, SMS appears to have prevailed over email. For more on Taylor Guitars, SMS, Adobe Campaign and Munvo’s SMS Connector, check out our webinar: Combining SMS Marketing and Adobe Campaign to Better Connect with Customers.”

In parting, we recommend everyone forget about all that macho stuff and learn how to play guitar.

[1] Hughes, Arthur Middleton. Strategic Database Marketing: Fourth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Pp. 50-52.

About Munvo

Munvo is a leading consulting firm helping clients improve their marketing capabilities through a combination of technology implementations, management consulting and marketing run services. In addition, Munvo Lab develops products and connectors for Adobe, SAS, and Unica Marketing Solutions.

Why Marketers Need to Start Using SMS Marketing Channels

Why Marketers Need to Start Using SMS Marketing Channels

SMS marketing has been around for a quite some time, yet most businesses still fail to integrate it into their marketing strategy correctly. Without getting into too much detail (not yet at least), here are a few reasons why every marketer should be considering this underused channel to maximize their customer interactions:

  1. Smartphone penetration in the US is nearing 80%
  2. Nearly 100% of all devices on the market enable SMS messaging
  3. SMS message open rates are approximately 99%
  4. 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of being received
  5. All the above points combined offer a very high ROI on a very inexpensive channel

Let me take this opportunity to dive into the world of SMS marketing to see how it works and why more organizations need to start using it.

What Marketers Need to Know

The standard SMS campaign consists of two main components: a short code –simply, a phone number – and a keyword that will trigger a campaign promoted via a call-to-action communication.

The call-to-action is the most critical component of any SMS marketing campaign. It is important to present the message in a way that customers can recognize and respond to quickly. Best practices suggest that the selected keyword should be the focal point of the call-to-action and everything else involved should revolve around that.

Typically, the audience segments that do interact with your SMS campaigns are more likely to be your more dedicated customers. Granted, to involve your audience in SMS marketing campaigns, like email, requires some opt-in functionality. Usually, you can handle this feature in one of two ways:

  1. Having the customer text the short code with the keyword, subscribing them to your campaign;
  2. Provide a client with a web form where they can subscribe and register their number to take part in your campaign(s).

The SMS channel is very dependent on other marketing mediums, as direct action is required by the customer to take part in any campaign. When it comes time to promote your marketing campaign, make sure to leverage all available media outlets to maximize exposure and capture engagement.

Metrics to Measure

Like other marketing campaigns, the success of your campaign will be determined by your metrics. It is important to know and understand which metrics should be measured when determining the success of a campaign. Here are what I think are the most important metrics to follow:

  1. Subscriber Growth
  2. Customer Churn Rate: the rate at which customers opt out
  3. Cross-Channel Engagement: measuring which types of media and media locations are performing best (important to tweak these based on engagement rates.)
  4. Redemption Rate: the rate at which customer claim their offers
  5. Cost Per Redeeming Subscriber

SMPP vs. HTTP

When dealing with SMS marketing campaigns, you normally have two protocols to choose from: Short Message Peer to Peer (SMPP) and The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). These are the most dominant options for developers looking for high-quality performance SMS marketing campaigns. Each one carries with it a set of strengths and weaknesses.

SMPP:
  • High volume, supporting millions of messages per day;
  • Very fast and reliable when sending large amounts (tens of thousands of messages per day);
  • Very high server uptime;
  • However, no efficient way to process inbound messages.
HTTP:
  • Much simpler to use. Direct communication with the provider, no aggregator needed;
  • Much faster when dealing with lower volumes (under 10,000 per day) and the efficiency is growing;
  • More features with a sophisticated API interface;
  • Complex processing of inbound messages from the client can implement quickly.

Both protocols are adequate, just make sure to choose the one that suits your needs and your technical limitations.

What is Twilio?

Twilio is a San Francisco-based company that provides a globally available cloud API that developers can interact with to build intelligent and sophisticated communications systems. As your campaign usage scales up or down, Twilio automatically scales with you. On top of that, Twilio has some other significant advantages to consider:

  • Inexpensive on a per message basis, costing as little as $0.01 per message;
  • A powerful API with integration between your marketing campaign system and their platform;
  • Great dashboard to help monitor performance and costs;
  • REST HTTP API capable, allowing for real-time two-way communication.

Our Mobile Marketing Platform: SMS Gateway

Adobe Campaign comes with its own default SMS functionality. Unfortunately, this out-of-the-box functionality only supports the SMPP protocol and is not compatible with most services, such as Twilio. Our team at Munvo saw the potential of connecting the two tools together and developed a solution titled SMS Gatway to handle customer mapping. This solution can:

  • Send messages in batch or individually
  • Pull message status data from Twilio
  • Receive process and reply to incoming messages from customers
  • Handle opt-ins and opt-outs

So, when considering how SMS marketing plays into your overall strategy, think about how you are going to use it and why. This is the most intimate channel marketers have at their disposal, but that comes with knowing your customer. Focus on your call-to-action and make sure you have the right resources to get those messages out there.

About Munvo

Munvo is a leading consulting firm helping clients improve their marketing capabilities through a combination of technology implementations, management consulting and marketing run services. In addition, Munvo Lab develops products and connectors for Adobe, SAS, and Unica Marketing Solutions.

Combining SMS Marketing and Adobe Campaign to Better Connect With Customers

Combining SMS Marketing and Adobe Campaign to Better Connect With Customers

To better communicate with their customers, more organization are starting to integrate SMS Marketing and Push Messaging into their existing campaigns. Join our senior Adobe Architect – Andrew Didinchuk, as he explains how Adobe Campaign users are leveraging their SMS marketing channel to communicate directly with their customers. Andrew will also be demonstrating Munvo’s SMS Connector – a custom add-on for Adobe Campaign that allows you to send mass SMS marketing messages. Joining Andrew will be our guest speaker, Cameron Walt, the Digital CRM Manager of Taylor Guitars. Cameron will discuss how his company uses SMS marketing to better communicate with their customers and convert new leads.

So, why does SMS Marketing matter?

  1. Smartphone penetration in the US is nearing 80%
  2. Nearly 100% of all devices on the market are SMS enabled
  3. SMS message open rates are approximately 99%
  4. 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of being received
  5. All the above points combined offer a very high ROI on a very inexpensive channel

Watch the Webinar

 
 

 

Join our senior Adobe Architect – Andrew Didinchuk, as he explains how Adobe Campaign users are leveraging their SMS channel to communicate directly with their customers.

Click below to download a copy of our presentation