I am slowly working on a project with one of our engineers around explaining how SugarCRM can support SMS marketing in a bi-directional fashion.
SMS marketing is one of those areas of CRM that falls into the “sure you CAN do it, but SHOULD YOU?” types of scenarios. Some companies seem to have nailed the concept pretty well, while others seem to just create more noise and annoy consumers.
I just saw an interesting point how Barack Obama’s campaign has effectively used SMS to keep voters informed, and as this blog post puts it effectively cutting out the press middlemen.
I think simply pushing offers to your customers via SMS can be intrusive and disastrous. Instead, using SMS in an inbound and outbound fashion allows you to create a nice one-to-one dialog with customers. By using SMS to create communities, foster communication and gather important up-to-date information, companies are showing that they value their customers and want to communicate with them via channels that the customer is comfortable using.
Are there upsell opportunities? Sure. But it is more important to first stage the conversation, and then push relevant offers after that customer has shown that a) they want to be contacted and uphold a dialog via SMS and b) are actively participating in a conversation around the type of product or service that you are about to send an offer around.
The biggest hurdle here is not really the model of “when?” and “who?” to engage, it is managing the back end from a data, process and automation perspective. Opening up the gateway of SMS (all puns intended) means your organization could potentially glean a lot of important customer insights – or be overwhelmed with bits of what become useless data.
As always, a lot of preparation and proper process and data modeling is needed to nail SMS – creating another useful arm for customer dialogs, and not creating another area where customers feel their words are being lost in a black hole.