StarStar Numbers

Adage’s B.L. Ochman wrote an interesting article, “Why Apple, Ford and Zappos Have All Invested in Branded Mobile Codes,” in which Ochman discusses that these companies, plus a few others, are at the leading edge of the next mobile marketing trend.

Why you ask? They all have branded StarStar Numbers, or vanity short codes, which enable consumers to connect and interact with a brand by linking to games, contests, videos, registering, making mobile payments, amongst numerous other applications.

What is it? StarStar Numbers are simply common short codes (CSC), which are customized five- or six-digit numbers that people request information from by sending a text message.

Ochman continues by arguing that these CSC’s will become very common in mobile marketing campaigns over the next two years and that all mobile campaigns should include the following:

1.       Messaging Strategy

2.       Mobile Website

3.       Mobile App

Unfortunately, these StarStar Numbers can be quite costly, ranging from $1,500 to $7,500 per month.

The following quotes Ochman’s top eight reasons, explaining why mobile campaigns should include a CSC:

  1. Both inherently offer the holy grail of marketing: precisely measurable ROI statistics including consumer participation per the dollar spent.
  2. Branded vanity codes and StarStar codes are easy for consumers to use and understand.
  3. Texting is mainstream. I think vanity text codes will become the dominant marketing technology. In fact, according to a January 2011 Nielsen study, text message use continues to grow while mobile phone calls (remember them) have been relatively static for the past five years.
  4. Mobile marketing is here to stay. Today, people not only have text-enabled phones, but in the U.S. and Western Europe, 90% of mobile subscribers have an internet-ready phone. Gartner last year predicted that in 2011, over 85% of handsets shipped globally will include some form of web browser.
  5. “Text messaging is the key communication tool of the modern era,” said Neil Strother, practice director at ABI Research in Oyster Bay, NY. “It is a great place for marketers to communicate with consumers.”
  6. Both technologies are brilliant ways to unify internet, print, TV, and billboard ads, making them more interesting and actionable for the consumer.
  7. An advantage of a dedicated vanity short code is that you have unlimited keywords and you maintain control over routing inbound and outbound messages. Since you own the code and all of the data captured, you can map directly into your existing database without having to input information from a different source. (A keyword is the first “word” that is sent in a text message, for example “Go” or “Join.”)
  8. Both technologies are cost-effective. They include web-based content management system that brands can use to upload their digital assets for their campaigns, and they provide metrics on call volume, etc. Because consumers want and request brands’ information, engagement is generally exponentially higher than with more traditional forms of advertising and marketing.

To learn more about how to attain a StarStar Number, continue reading here: