by Jay on Nov 15, 2008 at 4:00 PM

People have attributed much of President-Elect Obama's success to how his campaign embraced technology in new ways. However, technology isn't that new to political marketing. Political campaigns have used email for at least the last 2 campaign cycles. For almost a decade now we have seen emails circulating that either endorse or distort issues and records of politicians.

However, Obama may have taken it to a new level. NPR recently reported that the Obama campaign amassed a list of 10 million emails from supporters, mostly under the age of 30. Obama also amassed a considerable amount of cell phone numbers along with email addresses to send instant text-message communications to his supporters. This was indeed a ground breaking use of technology. 

Barack Text Message example of business text messagingOk, I will admit, I was one of those people who received these text messages. The Obama campaign said they would announce their Vice Presidential pick to supporters first via text message before they announced it to the general media. So, out of curiosity I was enticed to give my cell phone number in order to receive a text message notification of the announcement. I must say that I was a bit annoyed when I received this message at 3:09am. Getting woke up in the middle of the night takes the luster off of the fact of knowing first.

However this wasn't the last text message that I received from Obama. I got what seemed to be one text message a week reminding me that voter registration in my state ended in 1 week. I got a message reminding me it was the last day to register. I got text messages reminding me to tune in and watch before each of the four debates, and of course I got a text message reminding me to vote on November 4th and a thank you message.

This constant contact through personalized text messages indeed may have played a role in the decision of voters. In a way, it almost felt like I was personally involved in the campaign, a key voter and a critical part of the team. As an online marketing consultant, it reinforces the need for business owners to embrace this technology to market their business as politicians have through their campaigns

Building Customer Relationships Through Text Messaging

Social networking isn't limited to myspace and nor is text message marketing limited to political campaigns. Business owners can and should be using this medium to form intimate relationships with their customers the way Obama used it to build a brand with a key constituency. This two-way dialogue between business and consumer has the potential to drastically increase customer retention and loyalty.

Just think of the many times you have wanted to get the word out about a sale you were having. Wouldn't you like to blast a text message this coming "Black Friday" that you have hot Christmas gift items on sale that may not be found anywhere else? There are times throughout the year that you may want to remind customers of discounts, new store items in stock, and promotions that you may run. A personal text message can inspire a consumer to go out of their way on their drive home to pick up something they may or may not need. Just reminding consumers period will show that you care, as long as you don't wake them up in the middle of the night!

To get started, you need to begin collecting your customers information, like yesterday. You can capture information at the point of sale or on your website. An incentive will help, like how Obama used the VP announcement to get people to sign up. You may consider giving customers a discount for signing up, or send promotion codes via text messages to those who sign up.

If you have questions about how to use your website to collect customer information or need help setting up and executing a text message campaign, give us a call and we can help you get started.



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