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Get the message


Do you like receiving marketing via text message? I don’t. When my BlackBerry rings like a bicycle bell, I get a warm feeling inside knowing that I’m being contacted by someone I know. So I do get a bit peeved when I see it’s my AFL club telling me about their kids fete on the weekend. Or, worse still, it’s from the dance school where I participated in a couple of beginner’s lessons, telling me about yet another dance night. Even though I’ve texted back ‘STOP’ several times. And I opt out of text message reminders a lot.

To me, my mobile phone is the last junk-mail-free vestige. My physical brick letter box gets it. My PO Box gets it. And my inbox certainly gets it (no, I really don’t want any Viagra, but thanks for asking). That said, it is handy when I get a text message from my beauty spa reminding me about my facial (the important things in life) and it seems pretty clever that I’ll get a text message to remind me about the direct debit facility I filled in today.

Yet, it’s not just blatant marketing text messages that turn me off. I’m also not all that impressed when I head to a website, particularly news sites, and accidentally ‘wave’ my mouse over an ad that pops out without invitation. They spring in your face, interrupt what you’re doing, and then force you to take time out to rid your screen of the ad and carry on your now less merry way. While businesses may think this form of advertising is going to notch up more sales (and, hey, maybe it does for some advertisers), many consumers would be on the same page as me – consigning the brand to the ‘annoying’ bin. What’s wrong with a banner ad, anyway? I’ve got eyes, I can see the ad without it having to engage in a hostile takeover of my monitor.

And let’s hope that marketing text messages don’t go the way of these web ads. Imagine being on a call when you’re interrupted by a promo text: ‘We interrupt this important business call for an annoying and totally unsolicited message…’

So, my advice? Think carefully about whether the relatively low cost of text message marketing will undo the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. Or will that pop-out ad irritate your potential customers more than inspire sales? Consider, will consumers be turned off by such in-your-face and on-your-mobile tactics, like many Tweeters on Twitter when they receive a DM that’s blatantly selling to them?

Oh, please excuse me, there’s goes my BlackBerry again. Is it my best friend? Is it my Mum? Nope, it’s my osteopath reminding me about my appointment next Tuesday. Just in time, really. Those other messages and web ads really are beginning to be a pain in the neck.

Jennifer Kiely is the founder of Kiely Media.