Need to engage with your target audience? Quit asking them to call you or visit your website.

Everyday in the offline world, we are literally bombarded with thousands of advertisements – usually asking us to do the same thing: remember this URL (and use it when you are in front of a computer) or call us for more information. How often do any of us do that? Seriously, do you remember the last time you ate some chips and then went online or phoned in to enter the chip trivia contest?

Mobile phone penetration in North America is now well over the 80% marker. So fine, the “please call me” approach should work, right? The masses say no. In fact, we now text-message more than we call . I imagine that’s not so surprising. Calling is time-consuming, awkward and costly. When you consume advertising content and you are compelled to engage, you probably want to at that moment. At the same time, advertisers want to be able to let you do that. Given that many of us are veteran or emerging textophiles, why not utilize this simple medium to fulfill that engagement issue?

Across the border and overseas, increasing numbers of marketers are starting to leverage mobile for ever more effective direct marketing techniques to solve that very problem.

Little Caesars Pizza recently ran a mobile sweepstakes campaign. The contest was advertised across their television ads and asked people to text in to participate. The purpose of the campaign was to build a database of names and the prize for the sweepstakes winner was a Nintendo Wii and a coupon for free Crazy Bread. The campaign was hugely successful clocking an opt-in rate of 62% in 18 days.

Jiffy Lube ran a similar campaign across radio. The call to action of the campaign was to text in to take advantage of a special offer. Five offers were advertised across 70 radio spots in two weeks. Much like Little Caesars Pizza, the results were excellent. Of respondents to the campaign, almost 50% of them were from new households (the campaign targeted a specific region).  In press interviews, Jiffy Lube’s GM noted that former campaigns without mobile, on average, netted in just a 20% increase in outreach to new households.

These are just a few examples of how mobile is a supremely effective tool in enabling cost effective consumer engagement. Though, it shouldn’t just end at one-off isolated campaigns. Integrating direct marketing across all aspects of a brands media mix should be considered essential. Whether it is business cards or television commercials, enabling target consumers to access your company information or details of a promotion, whilst on their mobile, should be common practice.  Today, you wouldn’t advertise a business without including its website URL. Why should it be any different for mobile?