Twitter: The New Mobile Marketing

10 February 2009

As micro-blogging platform Twitter enters the mainstream and its founders contemplate charging for commercial accounts, marketers should begin to explore its application as a direct response channel.

This blog has been critical in the past of companies and celebrities tripping over themselves – and their virtual tongues – to climb aboard the Twitter bandwagon. Appropriate use of the platform is going to be relevant for some time yet. However, as it moves from the early adopter to early majority group of the technology adoption lifecycle, the Twitter community will become more open and receptive to marketing activities that deliver value to them.

The biggest opportunity might lie with direct response. Much has been made in the past of the benefits of using SMS as a channel for soliciting responses from customers. However, unless SMS is also used to elicit the response, it requires the customer to consciously change their device in order to respond. Call me old-fashioned, but I also believe that consumers are more cautious about sending texts that reveal their phone numbers to anonymous recipients, in part because of a plethora of scare stories and the use of the channel by unscrupulous companies.

Instead, marketers can now experiment with Twitter for direct response. Rather than use a mobile shortcode and keyword, they can invite customers to “D @company keyword” via Twitter, without any of the inbound or outbound SMS costs associated with mobile marketing. Yet like text messaging, the company can begin to build a relationship with the customer via Twitter – and even follow their updates to understand what motivates and interests them.

Now that Twitter is mainstream, how long before we see the first mainstream use of Twitter as a direct response channel?

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4 Responses to “Twitter: The New Mobile Marketing”

  1. David Jones

    I see your point. But I can’t help drawing a line back to IM. With the uptake of windows and yahoo messenger services over the years, I can’t recall any company trying to get fans to use IM platforms to connect with them. Maybe it has something to do with people interested in following people and not brands on these platforms.

  2. Niall Cook

    Maybe you’re right. As a response mechanism I see IM as closer to telephone and post though. Twitter is closest to SMS, which has seen some success.

  3. Collective Conversation » Twitter: The New Mobile Marketing « Carl’s Notepad

    [...] For the full article see – Collective Conversation » Marketing Technology » Blog Archive » Twitter: The New Mobile Marketing. [...]

  4. aimee

    Interesting point on IM – the oil industry has used Yahoo as a default communication tool for years – probably since yahoo IM launched. Hence, marketing people within the industry also use the tool to reach out to their customers (basically, traders) to understand what they are doing and when. Today’s parallel… StockTwits. I think it’s a fascinating tool, with loads of potential for B2B comms, and I think it is our responsibility to get on there and cut through the courtneylove/russellbrand crap (sorry) to get to the really valuable conversations. Check out @cmegroup – disclosure – they’re a shareholder in our company – however I have nothing to do with their Twittering!
    Look forward to more updates on social media!

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