Alaska Airlines SMS campaign

I am a frequent business traveler and a faithful Alaska Airlines customer. They have the best mileage program, friendliest flight staff and best customer service in the industry. I am also an avid mobile media consumer, so it makes sense that I have been keeping my eye out for advancements in their mobile strategy. Lately, I have been especially interested in their SMS campaigns. Overall their approach seems well thought out. I only receive a few texts from them a month, so I don’t feel bombarded with contact from them. Typically, the text messages are promoting a fare sale. This is an interesting use-case for an SMS alert, especially if it is a flash sale. The alert creates a sense of urgency that drives consumers to buy the tickets fast before the price goes up.

Today I received a text alert from them that wasn’t executed quite as well. The SMS was promoting the re-launch of their website.  There were two things that I noticed that didn’t work well. First, the brief message included two URLs, one for Alaskaair.com and one bit.ly URL. There was no clear call to action directing me to visit one site over the other, but I assumed the bit.ly URL would take me to a remodeled mobile site.  It did in fact take me to a mobile optimized site, but there aren’t any noticeable changes to the mobile site. The other URL took me to the full site, but I don’t believe that the intention is to have people view the full site from their mobile phones, because the improvements (which are great and were much needed, by the way) aren’t apparent from a small screen.

The other error on the text message was that it finished with what appears to be a random , 15character alpha-numeric code. Unfortunately, the error takes up a full line of real estate that could have been used to make the URL call to action more clear.  My alternative copy suggestion using the same amount of characters would be AlaskaAir: Alaskaair.com was remodeled! Be sure to visit us to see the improvements. Visit http://bit.ly/kCHrv7 to view our mobile site.

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  1. #1 by cocotsai on May 4, 2011 - 10:25 pm

    My instant thoughts is that why Alaska Airline didn’t held any promotions or marketing campaigns to announce this remodeled website? Since no matter what it will spend their budget to send SMS to their members. I believe it’s maybe a good chance to catch peoples’ attentions again by some a good, relevant marketing event to their new website.

  2. #2 by Kelly McIvor on May 7, 2011 - 8:16 pm

    I think this SMS was a bad idea that was executed poorly (as you describe). I can understand sending an email to tell people about the web update but there really is no compelling reason to interrupt someone’s day with a text message that is neither urgent or valuable. This is the type of message that would make me opt-out.

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