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JCPenney touts price comparison campaign via SMS

JCPennney sent out a SMS message on Feb. 7 that prompted users to click-through to a link to learn more about the company’s low prices compared to its competitors. The SMS effort is part of a bigger multichannel marketing campaign that the brand is running.

“Mobile continues to be a key component of our integrated marketing campaigns,” said Kate Coultas, spokeswoman for JCPenney, Plano, TX.

“Our current ‘compare’ marketing campaign aims to educate customers on the great every day value that can be found at JCPenney,” she said.

Compare on mobile
The JCPenney SMS message sent to users read, “We’re making it easier to see the value with simple comparisons that show our price vs. elsewhere.” A link in the message encouraged users to shop.

When users click on the link, they are directed to a campaign-specific landing page on JCPenney’s mobile site.

The page uses rich media to let consumers swipe through content that highlights the department store’s promise to offer the lowest prices.

For example, one page features a women’s t-shirt that is $6 at JCPenney. The company claims that the same item at another store is $19.

Another page shows a men’s shirt that is $5 at JCPenney and $15 at a competitor’s store.

Buttons at the bottom of the page let users shop the looks featured from JCPenney.

In addition to mobile, television is playing a big role in JCPenney’s current marketing campaign. Consumers can click on a button that is featured on the landing page to watch the TV spots, all of which are 15 seconds long and short enough to be watched via a mobile device.

Multichannel push
JCPenney has made a strong push into mobile in the past year.

In July JCPenney announced that it would be replacing all cash registers with mobile devices to help consumers check-out and improve customer satisfaction (see story).

Additionally, during the holidays the brand drove consumers to stores with location-based ads that promoted an in-store campaign. Consumers who shopped at JCPenney could receive buttons in-store with a seven-digit code that could be entered online to win prizes (see story).

In this case, a SMS message is a great way to educate consumers about a bigger marketing campaign and ultimately drive sales.

“While Twitter, Facebook and email are becoming more mobile  – and in-turn a viable option for capturing attention on a consumers mobile phone – SMS is pure mobile,” said Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango, Seattle.

Mr. Johnson is not affiliated with JCPenney. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

“This makes SMS messaging the premier choice for an announcement such as this, as 90 percent of text messages are read within three minutes,” he said.

“If a brand has the resources to create mobile landing pages for each campaign, there is nothing better. A highly targeted, highly relevant call-to-action on a mobile landing page can be the difference between success and failure for a campaign, so why risk sending consumers to a generic mobile site, and possibly lossing both their interest and engagement in the campaign?”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York