A text messaging program by California’s Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) that helped save tens of thousands of dollars earned one of the nation’s top marketing honors Wednesday from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).
Powered by interactive marketing solutions provider ExactTarget, the public transportation agency earned the honor for its Text4Next program, an interactive campaign that has reduced operating costs by giving passengers the ability to request bus schedule information via text messaging rather than calling the agency’s customer support center.
“We were facing a serious revenue shortfall due to the recent economic downturn, and we needed a way to help reduce costs,” said Stella Lin, marketing manager for OCTA. “Sending schedule information via text is a great way for OCTA to provide passengers with the most up-to-date information, in a very cost-effective way.”
The award-winning Text4Next allows passengers to text a bus stop number and route number to “OCTAGO” to receive arrival times of the next three buses for that stop, giving customers the added flexibility to confirm bus schedules on the go. The program has reduced incoming customer calls to the agency’s call center (CIC) by more than 40 percent, which is a great savings for OCTA with SMS costing 10 cents per message versus a passenger calling the CIC at $2 per call, Lin said.
The news of OCTA’s award-winning mobile efforts comes less than two months after ExactTarget unveiled its enhanced ExactTarget MobileTM application in London. The new application provides marketers an easy-to-use application to build, launch, manage and analyze mobile marketing programs ranging from SMS alerts and promotional messages to mobile couponing and text-to-win campaigns.