MYSBUX: Training your Customers

Starbucks launched it's own short code today. (See Seattle Times story.)

It allows cell phone users to send their zip code to MYSBUX. (I'm not sure it's up and running yet. I just tried it and nothing happened.)

There are other SMS services offered by Google, Tellme, et. al. that provide the same service, but they aren't branded.

One could debate how useful the application is at the zip code level. If you live in a city, there could be
a number of Starbuck's in your zip code, and it won't necessarily give you the closest one.

I really like the idea though. I think it's a great time to be training your customers to use both a technology and an address (MYSBUX) to interact with your brand. Sure, it's only Starbucks listings today, but it could be a lot more in the future. The short code can support other key words going forward to promote special offers, music, new authors books, new product launches, etc. Advertisers have been posting their URL everywhere to drive traffic online - why not begin teaching them your short code?

May help them to avoid paying search providers for the same service in the future.

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Cross-Carrier Promotions Fall Short on American Idol

Ok, it's, what, Season 7 of American Idol? Voting is still limited to Cingular customers. I don't have a phone with Cingular service.

I do have a cell phone though, and I have been watching some American Idol. Each time there is a chance to participate with my cell phone I do.

Yesterday, I sent "Play" to 5005. Nothing happened.

Last week, I sent "B" to 51555.

I figured, well okay, maybe it is just for Cingular customers.

This evening ... 24 hours later ... I receive the following "free" text message from my wireless carrier:

(I have no idea at this point what my carrier has to do with any of this)

"U may have rec'd multiple conf. msgs 4 American Idol Challenge. You will only be charged $0.99 for each valid entry. Thxs 4 ur entry."

Okay, first, I have to read it three times before I understand what it says. I practically have to read it out loud to get that "ur" is "your."

Now I know my carrier is involved because it is their billing system.

The thing is ... I haven't received ANY confirmation codes. My messages have disappeared into a black hole for all I know.

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