As the use of mobile technology becomes more pervasive among American consumers, mobile marketing is expanding its reach. While consumers have become more accustomed to using their mobile devices for researching and purchasing products, opportunities to manage lifestyle and personal health are cropping up as well.
A recent article in Mobile Commerce Daily reports on Walgreens success using SMS to assist in prescription refills. Building on an already-successful mobile prescription program that enrolls millions of people, Walgreen has begun offering prescription refill reminders to consumers by text. The service is free to pharmacy customers, who can sign up in-store or online to receive a text alert when it is time to refill a prescription; the customer can then text back “refill” to execute the order.
Walgreens recognizes that the convenience of being able to fill and refill prescriptions from mobile devices, as well as reminders of when to do so, can help keep patients healthier; the pharmacy also realizes that SMS campaigns can reach virtually any mobile phone—not just smartphones—and can therefore have even broader compass than the mobile application.
Mobile Commerce Daily also reports on the launch of an SMS appointment reminder program by Barnes-Jewish Hospital, a top U.S. hospital located in St. Louis, Missouri. In an attempt to reduce the number of missed appointments and bring down the costs associated with them, the hospital is turning to the convenience and efficiency of SMS for mobile communication with patients. The new SMS program gives patients the chance to opt into a text-based reminder program in which they receive a text message in advance of a scheduled appointment, and they can then cancel or change the appointment from their mobile phones. The service is currently being used by the hospital’s OB/GYN department, with plans to expand it to other departments in the near future.
The magazine Self, a lifestyle publication devoted to healthy eating and exercising, has also harnessed the power of SMS to reach large numbers of people anywhere they happen to be to offer tips for healthier eating and living. Mobile Marketer reports on a fee-based SMS program run by Self magazine whereby people can sign up to receive daily texts that remind them to exercise and eat healthfully. Some messages also contain tips, recipes with nutritional information, and weight-loss help. Ideally, the SMS program will help draw readers to the magazine’s site for more information about healthy living.