SMS is a killer app. It’s so simple. There’s no app to download. There’s no unexpected crashing. You don’t have to have a smartphone. In a world with a lot of complicated technology, I love to see companies still finding creative, useful ways to use SMS. (Yes, I’ve beaten this drum before.)
Like this one: Birds Eye has partnered with a couple of health-related nonprofits to help end childhood obesity in the U.S. The program is called Dinner Made Easy. Text a shortcode to subscribe, and you get a couple of text messages each with recipies, nutritional information and tips about making healthy food choices.
At London’s Charing Cross underground station, the police have a new campaign that solicits information about non-emergency incidents—by text. You simply send a text to a shortcode. The police gather more information this way, and can probably save time on typing up reports with the old copy-and-paste.
Another at Charing Cross: Brook Street recruitment firm is using SMS as a simple and immediate call-to-action to managers looking to attract and retain new staff. SMS makes for an ideal CTA, as you can quickly fire off a text. Very unlikely you would stop and send an email on your way through the station, let alone download an app.
Bank of Queensland customers find the nearest ATMs and branches by texting their location (as city and state or postcode) to a shortcode. The bank will return an SMS with the location of up to four ATMs or branches.
Earlier this year, Citi introduced a super-advanced ATM that extends how much banking you can do outside of a branch. It has biometric identity authentication, an online banking connection, video conferencing and—SMS! SMS still provides the universal mobile service to Citi account holders, which the bank uses for sending information, alerts, dispute resolution notices and one-time-pin for online banking.
And one more train station example: Colgate has been running a promotion for its new electric toothbrushes at London’s Waterloo Station. In addition to the electronic billboard ads, radio spots and newspaper inserts, Colgate used SMS so you could set a reminder to go to the station at the right time. Although by the huge queues I saw that day, perhaps it was a little too successful!