Selling Via Text: WhatsApp An Emerging Marketing Tool

Change is the only thing that is constant in the world of marketing innovation. We are currently experiencing the transition from traditional means of marketing to digital and more engaging means. Within the realm of digital, innovations in marketing are rising in sync with the quick rise in technological innovations. Branded communications are getting more targeted and personal day-by-day, and what better way to target a personalized message to a consumer, than through the use of instant messaging applications?whatsapp

We are all well aware of the smartphone phenomenon that has gripped the nation by storm. The main reason for this is the level of connectivity that smartphones provide, through a plethora of instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Hike, Snapchat, etc. Amongst all the popular instant messaging applications in use, WhatsApp comfortably leads the line in India, with more than 65 million active users, which constitutes a massive 10% of its entire global base!

The unprecedented emergence of WhatsApp, coupled with the increasing need of engaging consumers through personalized messages means only one thing – WhatsApp is THE next big thing for brands to capitalize on for improving their marketing efforts. A recent trend noticed is that an increasing number of people are skipping television commercials, choosing advertisement-free satellite radio and downloading browser extensions to block online advertisements. The mobile handset, used innovatively, is an avenue that marketers can ensure that they’ll be able to reach their audience.

How does WhatsApp marketing turn beneficial?

The use of WhatsApp messenger to disseminate news, information and media through the application is how text marketing works. People spend more time on WhatsApp than their personal social media profiles. With such a latent market, there is a potential for brands to connect to a large number of customers. It will also help in creating in sustainable relationships with customers, as online grievances can be handled in near real-time.

The support of multi-media content also doesn’t restrict the communications of the brands, thus paving more room for creativity and innovations. Many brands today have jumped onto the bandwagon but using WhatsApp similar to how they use SMS Marketing which results in spam. The strategic route that ensures success stays the same – creating a opt in facility versus pushing messages to a consumer who doesn’t wish to receive the information.

In India, for the first time, a brand used WhatsApp in its 360 degree marketing campaign. Considering the strong penetration WhatsApp has in India, we at MindShift Interactive innovatively used the instant messaging application to promote HomeShop18’s recent campaign – #ShoppingMakesMeHappy. WhatsApp, as a medium, was used to spread happiness to people on-the-go via amusing memes and jokes of the father-son duo of Billy and Sunny (mascots of HomeShop18), whilst providing offers to consumers as well. The interactive HomeShop18 microsite provided the customers the option of subscribing to entertaining memes, updates on the daily offers (called Caturday sales) and exciting offers weekly via WhatsApp. The campaign was a huge hit, with over 200,000 WhatsApp users subscribed to various contents from the microsite.

An addition to the data list was made on a weekly basis as the concept gained popularity and users enjoyed the fun messages from Bill & Sunny. HomeShop18 received traction in the range of 2X-3X. Transactions by customers that subscribed to the feeds was tracked as 15 -18 percent higher as compared to the SMS-medium.

The industry is breaking the advertising clutter by using tools that provides instant feedback. Although SMS has become relatively cheaper, switching onto a messenger that provides free message dissemination works in the favor of the brand. Instant messaging tools are fast becoming crucial for small retail businesses and brands, which want to build mass awareness, but don’t have the budgets to do so.

Working with the right mix of digital marketing with a deep data analysis can provide a better perspective of selling products to the right kind of people. Text messaging is a form of personal interaction which can provide a benefit of learningabout your customers on a closer level. By exploring the new digital marketing angle of text selling, MindShift Interactive provided a new perspective of looking at engaging brand marketing.

[Guest article by Zafar Rais,  CEO MindShift Interactive,]

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