In an attempt to increase foot traffic, outdoor gear brand The North Face will now send text messages to customers when they are within walking distance of its stores.
The proactive marketing strategy launches this month and implements a new technique called “geo-fencing” – which really isn’t as confining as the name sounds. In fact, the campaign is designed to inform people, not incarcerate them. Consumers sign up for notifications and, after doing so, are notified via text messages of branded updates whenever they enter into a virtually targeted area.
Paul Gelb, Razorfish’s national manager of emerging media, thinks that The North Face is on the right track to luring in nearby customers. “To be that close to the actual sale or physical location is such a value for marketers, and something they’ve been looking for out of mobile for a long time,” he said.[more]
The North Face’s strategy is to start small, with text updates about deals such as free giveaways with purchases and announcements concerning the latest additions to its lines – which are seasonal and fit well into a sales campaign that targets the tech devices of customers who often shop according to the weather and their outdoor hobbies. In fact, the brand hopes to increase the variety of its texts to include weather alerts and outdoor sports statistics. For iPhone users, there is already a The North Face Snow Report application.
However, The North Face – and other brands that adopt similarly advertising strategies – face the challenge of balancing their marketing efforts with the personal space of their customers. Though customers may appreciate knowing that their favorite brand of jacket is on sale just days before a big ski trip, there is the risk such updates could be treated like spam. The North Face plans on conquering that challenge, one step at a time.