Chances are that you don’t know what your 14 year-old is saying most of the time. Neither do we. But what we do know is that a whopping 85 per cent of teens own mobile phones before they reach the age of 16 (Teens & Mobile Phones). Of these, 57 per cent believe that their mobile phone significantly improves their quality of life (Why Back to School Marketing Should Include Mobile). They send an average of 2,899 text messages per month (Breaking Teen Myths)—which represents about one-and-a-half 500-word essays per day—just to their friends. Ignoring the most important communication and consumption medium amongst teens will be a sure-fire way to fall behind the pack.
The marketing world is changing, and connecting this demographic with your brand is the next evolutionary step to reach your customers. Adopting a properly designed mobile strategy has been proven to increase foot traffic to stores and generate sales. Other than the holiday season, the Back to School shopping cycle ranks as the largest revenue producing period for the retail sector. Over $1.5 billion was spent on children’s clothing, accessories and stationary in Canada while more than $7.6 billion was spent stateside in the third quarter of 2008 (Back to School, by the Numbers). Although parents are paying for the goods, the purchasing decisions are strongly influenced by the kids. The demand is there and the medium is established; the onus is now on the retailers.
If you visit your local mall or school, you would be hard pressed to find a student without a mobile phone. Teens and tweens carry their mobile phone with them everywhere they go, as a necessity for communication and an expression of their social status. For a brand to reach this critical demographic, it must include mobile communication in its marketing mix.
There are a variety of benefits a mobile Back to School campaign has, including:
1. The ability to draw foot traffic to stores and retailers, therefore increasing sales. Retailers can use SMS alert with mobile coupons to drive traffic (some retailers have traffic counters to measure lift post alerts), other transaction enabled mobile sites use display mobile ads to increase traffic and convert clicks to sales.
2. Personal connection with teens via their most prized possession which is always on them. Mobile opens up a static channel where the user can always be reached in a medium where they are open to hearing marketing messages and are consistently using. Brands benefit from the connection with increased awareness and recall, not to mention the associative innovation benefits.
3. Remarketing ability (Holiday Shopping and more). When one campaign door closes, another campaign window opens. One of the primary benefits of utilizing SMS in a marketing campaign is capturing mobile phone numbers in the form of an opt-in list that can be used for subsequent marketing campaigns. It is imperative that dialogues continue and proper value exchanges are served to those loyal mobile users. We must strive as an industry to quantify the value of a mobile number. Without assessing a value, mobile will be reduced to one-off tactical tests which only industry laggards can afford to invest in.
Now more than ever, brands need to reach back-to-school shoppers in new, innovative, and most importantly, relevant ways. A long-term strategy is the key to raising brand awareness which will translate to increased sales.