From Brexit to Trump, Pokémon Go to the Rio Olympics, how can your business learn from 2016’s major events to generate more revenue and increase customer satisfaction next year?

It’s safe to say 2016 has been rather eventful. We’ve seen the pound plummet following Brexit, more spectators turn up to a local Sunday league footy match than the Rio Olympics, and 5.6 million big kids download the Pokémon Go app in three days.

Oh, and not forgetting businessman Donald Trump out trumping Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.

However, there are some real lessons all businesses can learn from this year’s events, and it involves an unexpected marketing channel.

  1. Anything is possible

If you take away anything from Trump’s victory last month, it’s that anything is possible. The same applies in business. Sure, your marketing budget and number of personnel might not match a giant corporate business, but with a well thought out marketing strategy and the right tools at your disposal – you could share the same success.

  1. Be adaptable

On 23rd June 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union. Regardless of what way you voted, there’s no denying there’s been some significant changes in the British economy.

To be precise, the pound has dropped in value by roughly 20% against the dollar, and almost as much against the Euro. This has naturally caused some panic amongst businesses. If we should take away one thing from this dramatic change in foreign policy and the economy, it’s to be flexible in our marketing budgets and plans. So, if 2017 throws up any more curve balls, you can adapt with a new campaign relevant to the climate.

  1. Keeping your customers waiting is a good thing

Take this with a pinch of salt. For example, making your customers wait in a queue whilst you talk to your colleague about last night’s soap isn’t a positive thing. But if the release of Pokémon Go and Mario Run as an app are anything to go by, anticipation of a product or service works.

Sending out offer campaigns on a whim can often confuse customers and even come across as spammy. Don’t wait until Black Friday to run these sort of campaigns, boost your revenue during the quieter periods in 2017 by sending teaser communications – giving your data list just enough to raise anticipation or intrigue. And if your campaign involves a pre-order option, then happy days. So, what are you waiting for? Go catch yourself more customers.

  1. Don’t settle for half-full

Back in August, we watched with pride as our GB athletes delivered a record haul of 130 medals, but how can you learn from this and strike gold in 2017? Well, oddly enough it wasn’t our athletes that caught my attention. It was the half-empty stadiums.

Putting aside the current economic climate in Brazil, there was something seriously wrong with the way the tickets were allocated or priced. Theatres and event businesses all suffer from quiet periods, or certain shows simply don’t capture the public’s interest. But that’s where a little marketing shrewdness comes in handy.

You should always consider the target audience, the location, and the time of the year when you start a marketing push to sell an event, service, or tickets. Or in the case of Rio, the pricing!

However, although there were plenty of things to learn from in 2016, there’s still one factor thousands of SMEs are missing from their marketing mix…

33 million reasons to start using SMS

Text messaging boasts a 98% open rate, with an average of 90% of these being read within the first three minutes. This blows any other marketing channel out of the water. Furthermore, it’s also the UK’s fastest growing marketing channel, with 33.67 million consumers opting in to receive SMS alerts. Shockingly, this figure is set to rise to 48 million in the next four years.

If you always believed Facebook boosting and email campaigns were the way forward, think again. The latest research by mobilesquared in our new white paper for SMEs, reveals that nearly half of the mobile users receive upwards of 21 branded or business emails per week, with 14% claiming they receive more than 50.

Facebook has around 30 million users in the UK with only 9% of them viewing the medium as a marketing channel. Yet, a staggering 50% of mobile display spend is poured into Facebook.

And the funny thing about the four lessons from 2016, is that text messaging holds the key to resolving them all.

Why SMS is the key and how it can help make 2017 your biggest year yet

In Donald Trump’s election victory, he used short numbers to communicate to millions of potential voters. In every television appearance, you’d see: Text “TRUMP” to 88022 in the shot.

Bars, restaurants, shops and even dentists can use this same method. Just pop a simple sign in the shop window, on the company van or in the reception with a keyword and short number. Just make sure you give customers or patients a reason to text in – such as an enticing offer, a competition, or interesting updates. This is not only a great way to organically build a data list, but also gives you a direct and instant way of communicating to them.

With Brexit causing issues in the economy, travel and tourism businesses can send out timely offer campaigns, SMS tickets and booking confirmations to boost sales and raise customer satisfaction before the crunch really hits.

The Pokémon Go app proves that creating anticipation with your 2017 offer campaigns can bring you great results. Simply schedule a series of text messages to be sent over a period of weeks before the release of a product or the start date of an event. This will give customers plenty of opportunities to engage and remember the date.

Finally, the lack of spectators at the Rio Olympics could have been solved with text messaging. For example, it worked with the Royal Exchange Theatre. They used bulk SMS to fill several shows aimed at students, and as a result generated the highest response rates of any previous marketing campaign, averaging at 8% to 20%. SMS delivers a simple and cheaper option to reach audiences with an offer, an MMS, or just a simple reminder.

Now, we can’t predict what happens next year, but if there’s one thing that 2016 has taught us, it’s that SMS could hold the key to a fruitful and prosperous future for many businesses.

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