Thursday, September 18, 2008

Txt2Win and Short Codes

In their Darwinian struggle for attention, marketing agencies are creatively employing advanced technology, including mobile form factors such as cell phones, iPhones and Blackberries with text messaging (SMS) or multimedia messaging (MMS) communication tactics. MobileMarketing (2007, p 1) considers TXT2WIN one of the most effective ways to collect mobile phone numbers. Prospects or customers participate in a contest, which has a meaningful reward or accolade, by using the text function on their mobile phones. Say and Southwell (2006, p 265) relate how successful they were in their use of Txt2Win for not only capturing mobile phone numbers but also for increasing “new Internet banking registrations” by 576%.

Often used in conjunction with Txt2Win are short codes, and Say and Southwell used those in their campaigns as well (p 265). The Common Short Code Administration (2007, p1) manages short codes in the United States. They are 3, 5 or 6 digit, easy to remember numbers that are associated with the longer 10 digit numbers. The 3 digit numbers are only usable within your own wireless provider, while the 5 or 6 digit numbers are inter-carrier. Short codes can only work with mobile communications technology because with mobile, the phone number is collected on the client and then sent all at once to the carrier. With the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS), it could not work because telephone numbers are sent one digit at a time to the carrier.

Becker and Hanley (2006, p 3) say their case studies show that mobile is the preferred channel for certain segments including youth and ethnic groups. MMAGlobal (September 22, 2006, p 1) cites research that indicates Hispanics are more comfortable using their cell phones in more advanced applications. They also report that mobile was pivotal in a creative marketing campaign conducted by Tylenol and it “provided a unique communication mechanism connecting Tylenol with Hispanic football fans anytime, anywhere.”

A winning concept used by ELLE magazine here in the United States was based on mobile phones and MMS. MMAGlobal (2006a, pp1-3) explain the case study and its great success. This offer for was based on a sweepstakes. It used cross channel media, advertising in the magazine, and a direct response using mobile messaging. The sweepstakes had readers spotting advertisements in the magazines, and replying to a short code with a picture they snapped using their camera phone.

Becker, Michael and Michael Hanley (August 18, 2006). Engaging the “Connected Customer.” Retrieved on September 2, 2008 at

Common Short Code Administration (2007). The Market for Common Short Codes. Retrieved on September 1, 2008 from

Duncan, Tom (2005). Principles of Advertising and IMC. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

MMAGlobal (September 22, 2006). Tylenol tackles Hispanic football fans (The Hyperfactory). Retrieved on September 2, 2008 at

MMAGlobal (May 21, 2006a). ELLEgirl Magazine (Mobot). Retrieved on September 6, 2008 at

MobileMarketing.Net (2007). Mobivity TXT2WIN. Retrieved on September 1, 2008 from

Say, P. and J. Southwell (Jan-Mar 2006). Beep, beep, beep, beep, that’ll be the bank then – Driving sales through mobile marketing. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice.
Spiller, L. and M. Baier (2005). Contemporary Direct Marketing. Pearson/Prentice

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