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Buffalo Bills NFL Football and Papa John’s Pizza – How Not To Use SMS Services

Posted by on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 with 0 Comments

It seemed like a good idea at the time. The Buffalo Bills NFL football team seized on the rising popularity of cellphones and social media to better engage their fans. The strategy was simple: by connecting with fans using SMS services on game day, the team could highlight promotions and events that would enhance the fan experience. Or so the team thought. In reality, the zealous use of text messaging by the team to connect with fans extended past the limits of the law and resulted in a $3 million dollar settlement after a class action suit. The team stated that it would send no more than five text messages to opt-in subscribers of the service. When one recipient received 13 messages in a two week period, a class action suit was filed, and the team was ordered to pay out $3 million in damages.

This isn’t the only example of text message marketing being perceived as a nuisance and doing more harm than good over time. For example, Papa John’s Pizza paid out an unbelievable $16.335 million dollar settlement as the result of sending too many text messages offering pizza promotions. Not abiding by rules and regulations regarding SMS marketing can damage a company’s reputation and cost significant financial loss. Customers, clients, and fans that opt-in to promotions and news alerts do so with the expectation that the text messages they receive will be reasonable in volume. As with the Buffalo Bills, subscribers were promised a specific number of messages each week. When that limit wasn’t adhered to, trouble began.

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A New Era of Communication: SMS Services and the 2014 NFL Draft

Posted by on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 with 2 Comments

At this year’s NFL draft, text messaging proved itself to be a key player. “Come get me” read Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s text message to the Philadelphia Eagles the night before the draft. Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player eligible for the draft, received a congratulatory text message from supporter Jason Collins after being selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round. And for fans, text message notifications kept everyone in the loop.

In recent years, text messaging has moved beyond the realm of personal communication and become integral to communication in professional settings, a fact that was prominently on display at the 2014 NFL draft. From Clinton-Dix’s text message to a team he hoped to play for to the alerts provided to fans who subscribed for updates whenever a draft selection was made, text messages delivered millions of updates and messages to fans, players, and teams this past weekend.

NFL draft

The NFL draft is big business and communicating with fans is key.
Image courtesy of Wiki Commons

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Rules of Engagement: Compliant SMS Marketing Prevents Costly Fees

Posted by on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 with 2 Comments

Did you know that sending an unauthorized text message to someone can cost your business up to $500 in penalties? That’s not a one-time fee, either, but rather the cost per instance of sending a text message to anyone after they have opted out of receiving the messages.

A number of lawsuits in recent years have shown just how costly it is to brands when they cross the line from responsible and acceptable brand promotion to spam. In 2012, the largest Jiffy Lube oil change franchisee in the United States shelled out $47,000,000 to settle a class action lawsuit surrounding their use of text messages to market to unwilling consumers. More amazing than the settlement amount is the fact that if the franchisee had been charged the full $500 for each instance of text spam, the bill would have actually exceeded one BILLION dollars.

SMS data graphic

Text message spam effects more than two-thirds of Americans.
Image courtesy of Tatango via Social Times

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Is Mesh Networking the Future of Internet Connectivity?

Posted by on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 with 0 Comments

Do you remember what is was like to plug a phone cord into the back of your computer and click an icon to start the process of connecting to a “dial-up” connection? Connection speeds were a fraction of what they are now, but that didn’t matter at the time: you were connected to the internet! Sending and receiving messages with friends and colleagues… Researching information that previously might only be available in a library… The ability to be connected changed so many things about your day. From work to play and all points in between, connectivity to information, people, and data has had a profound impact on not just our daily lives, but how we view the world around us.

mesh networking graphic

Mesh networking counts on each “node” to connect.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

So it may come as a surprise that internet connectivity is coming full circle and might soon require virtually no hardwired connections. How is that possible? Simple: mesh networking. In its more basic sense, mesh networking means that nodes similar to wireless access points link together to provide access to the internet at large. And as long as one point or “node” on the network has a hardwired connection to the backbone of the internet, all of the devices in the network can provide robust network access.

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A Smarter Use of Smart Phones: SMS Best Practices in the Enterprise

Posted by on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 with 5 Comments

In just a few short years, the ubiquity of cell phones has forced text messaging front and center in corporate communications. It wasn’t long ago that SMS text messages were seen as far too casual and informal to have a meaningful role in business communication. My, how times have changed! With team members, customers, and partners on the move, text messaging means quick communication between people without having to be tied to a computer or desk. From quick communications like, “I’m running five minutes late for our meeting but I’ll be there shortly,” to promotional offers like, “Show this message to the clerk for 10% off your order,” SMS text messaging is being used in a variety of ways by businesses both large and small.

A crowd of text messaging phones

Text messaging is now a vital part of business communication.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Highways Agency

Forward-thinking organizations realize that SMS messaging is here to stay. As a result, these organizations understand that best practices and policies surrounding text messages are every bit as important as those regarding email or handwritten communications. If you’ve never thought of SMS messaging as needing set policies or if you simply haven’t found the time to integrate text messages into your communications guidelines, these five considerations should help you manage your team’s use of text messages without limiting the awesome power of this emerging medium.

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