Business: Are Brands Still Texting?


The advent of digital advertising has literally caused a stir in the approach brands take in communicating with their customers. Social media has taken center stage threatening to take a stab at traditional methods with most marketers’ quick to assume grave digging roles and ready to bury them. In the context of this narrative, Social media plays Cinderella and all other channels can be equated to the less than fairer sisters who are deemed to be insistent and aggressive in trying to claim the prince (customers). But are they?

The other week I was in an upscale restaurant in the CBD having a meal with a colleague. As we dug into our meal, I couldn’t help but notice that a number of young customers were flashing their screens at the waitresses before settling their bills. At peaked curiosity, I went online to look for the brand’s footprints. There was not much to find as their social media page had not been updated in weeks and their website was nonexistent. On inquiring, a waitress notified me that they were showcasing their promotional messages for a 2 for 1 offer on Tuesdays. What I observed from that experience led me to the realization that SMS marketing still has a potent role in delivering marketing messages especially to younger audiences.

The Plus-One Effect.

The two for one deal is a good way to ensure that someone brings along a friend or a partner for the meal. It’s a pretty good deal for a millennial target especially if they are on limited budgets (which is mostly the case) and also a sure way of bringing in consumers who may have been reluctant to try out the restaurant.

Right Messaging, Right Time, Right Person.

Admittedly, branded messages should not be done haphazardly or in a spray and pray fashion. A brief chat with the manager revealed this. In a brief chat, he gave some brief details about their marketing strategy. I found out that they do not simply send out marketing messages to everyone, just those who have paid for meals via Mpesa. They then send the promotional message on the day of the promotion to their accumulated list.

The Takeaway

While a lot of people value their privacy, most of them would willingly give their number to a business in order to receive a valuable discount. This was more evident when I passed when I visited the same place on another ordinary weekday to find that it wasn’t as populated as it was when we had visited it previously. It only goes to show that a compelling offer will get the attention of people who most of the time are carrying their handsets. A major con social media has is that a specific customer may not see a brand’s content as opposes to SMS marketing which is a good way to target specific subsets of customers with messages they are bound to read.

Is your favorite brand still texting? Let me know in the comments below.

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Ken is a marketing strategist working with various brands online. He is passionate about helping businesses build relationships by providing actionable insights on online marketing and advertising trends.