By David Metter
The multiple ways businesses can communicate with customers are constantly expanding - from telephone, to e-mail, to text messaging. With today’s technology, communication methods continue to evolve at unprecedented speeds. As smartphones have gotten smarter, the rise in the development of apps has introduced yet another way to communicate: push messaging. In fact, according to Openmind Networks’ CEO Alex Duncan, push messages represent an opportunity for mobile network providers to the tune of $10.9 billion. The reason? Consumers respond to push notifications at a higher rate than any other type of B2C communication, and they also prefer them. According to the study, 55 percent of consumers stated that they responded to push notifications versus 10-20 percent that responded to text messages, and 3.2 percent to e-mail. In addition, 23 percent ranked push notifications as their preferred mode of mobile communications for brands and organizations. See more information about the study here.
However, just as in any unprompted communication with a consumer, the message needs to be relevant and deliver value. Today’s phones are tracking everything customers do - from their heartbeat and health activities, to the places they visit - and our phones don’t forget! Have you ever been near a business you frequently visit and received a push message with an offer or prompt to stop in? The food industry does an excellent job of this. Walk past a Starbucks and chances are, at the very least, your phone will have your Starbucks card on its home screen in anticipation that you will be needing it soon.
Dealerships can take advantage of this exact same technology. Mobile network operators know where their customers are at all times. The fact that it is now being reported as a multi-billion dollar opportunity suggests that direct to consumer push messaging through mobile operators is on the horizon.
If over half of consumers respond to relevant push messaging, imagine the possibilities of having the ability to push out messages to consumers that are at your dealership. Or, better yet, on a competitor’s lot. With all other forms of communication, a dealership requires some piece of information - a phone number or e-mail address. With push messages - especially if done in cooperation with mobile network operators - dealerships don’t have to have any consumer information whatsoever. They can simply geo-fence their dealership (or a specified area) and push a message directly to THAT consumer’s phone - the one standing on their lot, or shopping across the road, at the competition. Rather than blasting messages via e-mail or text messaging, or attempting to guess when a consumer is in-market, push messages allow you to send messages to people that are confirmed as being in market - and better yet, that are actively shopping for a vehicle at that very moment!
Smartphone mobile apps have taken communication and information sharing to a whole new level. The ability to push messages and relevant offers to consumers who actually prefer to receive communications in that very manner, and will respond to them, is marketing gold. Don’t end up being the dealership whose customers are receiving push messages from your competitors.