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Category: Mobile Insight

Quick service restaurants (QSRs) are projected to grow at CAGR 3.11% in terms of revenue between 2014 to 2019 (Technavio). With the increase in revenue comes an increase of competition among individual restaurants. An effective way to stand out as a QSR is bettering digital marketing strategies with SMS. SMS is being utilized by QSRs in a variety of different ways from protecting against coupon fraud or receiving customer feedback. However, the primary function of SMS for most restaurants is increasing customer database.

Opt-In QSR Customer Database for Opportunity

Virtually every QSR has some sort of mailing list to alert customers of new specials, menu additions, and other in-store promotions. For customers, a lot of these promotions can get lost among the plethora of promotional emails and direct marketing materials.However, the most difficult hurdle to overcome is getting customers to opt-in.

Using SMS provide an easy way to attract opt-ins for a QSR customer database. With a near-perfect open rate, text messages can’t be lost in the sea of competitors’ marketing materials.By establishing an SMS campaign, QSRs can implement a cost effective way to grow and maintain their database. Not only is opting-in via text convenient for customers, it also alleviates the burden on businesses as well. SMS can be integrated in a variety of different CRMs and is extremely cost efficient since messages only cost a few cents each.

Pita Pit Use Case

Recently, True Dialog had the opportunity to work with Pita Pit to help increase the customer database of certain franchisees. In addition to being an effective way to prevent coupon fraud, our coupon campaign allowed Pita Pit to create a unique coupon that was valid 24 hours after receipt. The success of this campaign was astronomical; the franchisees database grew from 2,000 to 9,000 members in just 6 months.

qsr customer database, qsr marketing, quick service restaurant marketing, sms marketing, mobile coupons, sms coupons, customer database

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Reducing Coupon Fraud With SMS

Coupon usage is big and is projected to get even bigger. About 96% of American shoppers are coupon users and numbers continue to climb thanks to the popularity of digital coupons (RetailMeNot). However, with such high volumes of coupons being redeemed each year, the potential for coupon fraud increases as well. Fortunately, incorporating mobile coupons into a cohesive digital marketing strategy can both increase redemption and reduce coupon fraud.

The Power of Mobile Couponsmobile coupons, coupon fraud, sms coupons, sms marketing

Mobile coupons are digital coupons that are received and redeemed with a mobile device. These coupons are typically redeemed either by a code directly in the text itself or, a QR/bar code on a landing page. Despite their simplistic nature, mobile coupons have been very successful and have had a massive impact for a variety of industries. According to Juniper Research, 45% of mobile users will use mobile coupons this year with mobile coupon’s global usage projected to surpass 1 billion by 2019 .

SMS vs. Coupon Fraud

It is easy to understand how mobile coupons are beneficial to businesses but, how do they stop fraud? To explain this concept, let’s look at a recent example that we had here at True Dialog. A quick service restaurant wanted to have a targeted coupon promotion for a particular region of their restaurants. However, incorporating a 3rd party coupon into their POS system wasn’t a feasible option. This meant that coupons would have to be entered manually which would increase the chances of both human error and coupon fraud. By using True Dialog’s Coupon Campaign builder, landing pages were automatically created that allowed end-users to both receive coupons by texting in a keyword to a short code. These coupons were then redeemed at participating stores. Since these coupons were single use only and were being redeemed at the register, any chances of customers posting on coupon sharing sites were eliminated which allowed franchises to control market spend.

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SMS for universities is becoming a lot more commonplace. This is due in part to increased competition in higher education marketing and rising popularity of education technology (EdTech). This Thursday, May 5th, we will be hosting a webinar discussing the different ways SMS improves higher education experience for students, alumni, professors, and administration. Here are 4 reasons why you should attend.

1. Increase Enrollment

With approximately 5,300 colleges and universities in the U.S, competition to convert applicants into enrolled students is high. Learn who the new enrolling students are and how to use SMS to foster a relationship that leads to enrollment.

2. Improve In-Classroom Experience

Among college students, 86% own a smartphone and 52% own a tablet (Pearson Education).These devices can often be a distraction for students and a nuisance for professors during lecture. However, professors can learn how to utilize this mobile technology for their advantage to better in-class participation and communication.

3. Help Students Engage

One of the best aspects of student life is growing both a social and professional network of peers. However, many college elligible students miss this opportunity due to summer melt – a phenomena in which enrolled students fail to make it to school in the fall because they “melt” away during the summer. We’re going to be discussing ways in which SMS can help these prospective students stay engaged and college ready.

4. Keep Students Updated With Important Notifications

In the chaos of getting ready for college, it is common for important dates and alerts to slip through the cracks. Enrollment deadlines, orientation, and campus events updates are just a few things many incoming students have to remember. Having SMS for universities provides a cohesive notification system for instantaneous communications that keep students in the loop.


In addition to covering these topics in depth, we will also have a Q&A session at the end for any additional questions. Based on the great dialogue we had in our last webinar about EdTech, attendees of this Thursday’s webinar sure to receive a lot of insightful information. We hope to see you there!

Details and registration can be found here

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There are currently about 5,300 colleges and universities throughout the United States. With so much competition to attract new students, higher education marketing needs to be smarter than ever. However, as Generation Y (Millennials) continues to graduate and enter the workforce, Generation Z (those born between the late 90’s and early 2000’s) are rapidly taking their place. Gen Z now accounts for 40% of undergraduates and more than a quarter of the U.S population. As the new generation of undergrads prepare to enter college, many institutions are looking to alter the way they market to prospective students. Here are the top 4 reasons why universities need to adjust their marketing strategies.


higher education marketing, sms marketing, gen z marketing, university marketing, SMS for universities1. Gen Z is a Unique Kind of Student


Gen Z has never known a world without modern technology. Smartphones, computers, and the internet are not only prevalent in their personal lives, but it shapes their education as well. This is the generation of “self-educators” who expect constant, instantaneous access to information. They are generally more budget conscious and tend to put forth a lot more research before making decisions.


2. Higher Education Marketing Needs a Makeover


As of 2013, non-profit colleges and universities spend over $1.24 billion dollars in paid advertising each year – that’s almost on-par with their for-profit counterparts (Educational Marketing Group). However, these large advertising budgets aren’t translating into higher enrollment numbers. Enrollment has been on a steady decline over the past few years. This is due to several factors including the extremely budget conscious Gen Z students who already have access to a wealth of knowledge at their finger tips – the internet. It takes more convincing to justify the high costs of college to them. This means that university marketers should allocate some of the marketing budget towards more effective means of communication.


3. Personalized Digital Marketing Increases Reach and Effectiveness


Most of higher education marketing involves bombarding students with as many catalogs, pamphlets, and emails as possible. Due to the high volume of these communications, it’s easy for many schools to get lost in the decision pile. One simple way to reach prospective Gen Z students is through multi-channel marketing with a heavy emphasis on the digital communications. While many colleges have dedicated social media pages that work concurrently with their direct marketing components, social media is also a place of “shouting” a message. It makes sense to play on the same field as the students that you’re trying to attract, and there is no better field than their most precious tool – mobile phones.


4. SMS Improves Higher Ed Communications


A rising trend in higher education marketing is the use of mobile marketing – specifically SMS communications. Gen Z spends approximately 15+ hours each week using their mobile devices – that’s about an hour more than their Millennial counterparts (Vision Critical). Since this new generation of students is so mobile, it’s crucial for higher education marketers to recognize that trend. SMS allows colleges and universities to provide a personal and instantaneous communication experience that is desired by many prospective and current students.


Sources: Washington Post, neaToday, Faculty Enlight, CBS News


Want More of This? Sign Up for the SMS for University Comms Webinar. Check It Out



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Mobile + EdTech Panel Webinar

A Recap of Our EdTech Panel Webinar


True Dialog hosted an EdTech panel webinar on April 8th with guests from Civitas Learning and EdTech Austin, and it was an incredible conversation. For those of you who did not make it to this webinar, I’m very sorry. You may have missed out on one of the most open and honest conversations I’ve ever heard about education and technology from a group of minds who really understand what’s happening with education – both inside and outside the classroom.


The EdTech Panel Speakers

Let’s start with the main attraction to most webinars and presentations: the speakers. We had 3 great speakers for the edtech panel who came from different backgrounds, but all shared a mutual respect for what each one brought to the conversation. Kathleen Denyer Hall is the manager of user experience for Civitas Learning. She focuses in on how higher education is impacted by technology, especially predictive analytics and supporting those in education institutions to understand the insights from their data. Sean Duffy is the marketing and community manager for Hack Reactor (formerly known as MakerSquare) as well as the founder of EdTech Austin. Sean has deep experience as a classroom teacher, a marketer, and a lover of Education and Technology. He is particularly focused in on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in schools and supporting K-12 adoption of technology. The moderator and third speaker was True Dialog’s own CEO, John Wright, who has worked closely with many universities and colleges leveraging SMS technology for improving their systems.

learning management systems, LMS, EdTech, education CRM, education technology, EdTech Panel

Conversation Highlights

This was a fervent conversation that ran for about 30 minutes with a lot of back and forth among the speakers. These are just a few highlights of the conversation points that I recall:

  • Predictive analytics are seriously helping higher education institutions to make smart decisions for the development of programs.
  • Looking at the metrics through the rearview window verses the windshield: getting real-time information is important for education institutions.
  • How are schools defining success? Each institution is unique – job related success, holistic understanding of the world, income-driven success, and many other approaches.
  • Many students are consuming rich media using a LMS while in class. It works well for group discussions, connecting with classmates, and continued learning activities / challenges.
  • Keeping students engaged is difficult. More programs are popping up with student engagement counselors who are using technology and in-person meetings to check-in with students.
  • Leveraging the technology (mobile devices especially) is a great way to keep students engaged and there are many software programs out there that connect with those mobile devices to grab students’ attention on their favorite device.
  • Technology has been great for education in that we’re reaching new kinds of people who want to learn, such as working moms and international students with limited resources.
  • Many legacy systems / LMS are still using email to communicate with students, but it’s becoming less effective each year because many digital natives aren’t high email users. SMS (texting) is working well for the new generations of Millennials and Generation Z, because they are more comfortable with that medium.
  • In many ways, SMS is the last frontier of spam-free communications.
  • Social media is being used as a communications tool for students, however there are more security risks and privacy issues with platforms such as Facebook than what many institutions want to deal with.


Where education technology seems to have the greatest impact is in school-to-student communications and ongoing education. Whether it is between the teachers and the students or the administrators and students, it seems that education is flourishing most when schools begin adapting to the technology needs and expectations of students.


There’s another opportunity for you to jump into the conversation. On May 5, we’re talking specifically about Universities Using SMS for Enrollment and Student Engagement.

Check Out the Details. 

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Make Your CRM System More Effective

Customer relationship management systems (CRM) are a key component for many businesses today. Using a CRM is a major priority, but it can also be difficult to execute. Thankfully, there are many CRM platforms with features that make customer relationship management a less daunting task. There’s been a sharp rise in mobile device ownership in the U.S., and so SMS integration has become an important feature to include in your CRM system.


Does SMS Fit Into CRM Strategy?

CRM systems, customer relations management, sms integration, crm integration

CRMs provide a simple, all-in-one place for businesses to manage their contacts and conduct customer communications. Since texting is the most frequently used applicationlication on a cell phone – 97% of Americans report that they text at least once a day – SMS has become a valuable addition to a business communications strategy, especially when integrated into a CRM. Texting provides a means for keeping in touch with customers in real-time while simplifying the process of relationship management for users. Many businesses use basic SMS alerts triggered from their CRM, such as banks notifying customers about account balances or schools contacting parents about a child’s progress.


How to Integrate SMS Into Your CRM System

Not only is SMS proven to be an effective communications tool, but it’s also easy to integrate into any software platform, especially a CRM. That’s why many CRM platforms have made mobile and SMS integration a fixture in their offerings. Integrating SMS into a your CRM system can be done in a couple of ways. One method uses an application or third party extension that plugs into your CRM platform with a few steps, which is great if that is an available offering. Many of the more robust CRMs have a whole marketplace of third party plugins. A more customized approach uses an API to connect the SMS platform to your CRM. At True Dialog, many customers use our RESTful API to integrate specific parts of their CRM system with our SMS platform. The two platforms can send and receive information back and forth such as new customer sign-ups, activity, and contact information updates.

CRM systems, customer relations management, sms integration, crm integration

As technology progresses, the emphasis on customer relationship management continues to grow as key component of success. Today’s fast-paced world can make it difficult to both attain and retain customers. With the power of a CRM system coupled with SMS integration, businesses can be better prepared to reach and stay connected with their contacts.


Sources: TechTarget,


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Technology Integration Overview

As the sophistication of technology progresses, the more it is incorporated into daily life. Technology integration is everything from a cohesive digital marketing strategy that allows businesses to reach customers on multiple devices to schools using a learning management systems for seamless integration in classrooms. So, what exactly is it and why does it matter?


What is Technology Integration?

Technology integration is defined as the use of technological resources – devices, applications, networks, etc – in daily practice and management. Simply put, it is the seamless connection between the different software and platforms that we use in business. It is about how various technologies integrate with each other. As of 2015, 68% of U.S adults own a smartphone, which is a sharp increase from the 35% in 2011. Tablet ownership has also increased from 3% in 2010 to 45% in 2015. All while ownership of the humble desktop/laptop has only increased 2% since 2004. So what do these numbers mean for technology integration? Simple, the usage of mobile devices continues to increase and so the need for integration among all of your devices (phone, tablet, and computer) and different types of applications and software increase as well.

Operations text messages, text CRM, Open Restful API, Integrate Text Messages

Integration Across Industries

Technology has become such a crucial part of our everyday lives so it’s no surprise that it plays a large part in our work. It’s difficult to find an industry that doesn’t utilize some form of technology integration in how they run. However, some of the largest growth of integration lies in 2 places: service businesses and education.

technology integration, mobile integration, EdTech, mobile solutions,


Technology and Business Services Goes Hand-in-Hand

In the world of business, the increase of technology is a no-brainer. Integration is vital for for millions of businesses across the country both internally and externally who are delivering a service to their customers – especially a digital service. These service-based businesses are making the process of reaching customers, clients, and audiences more effective by having their CRM connected with their email platform and text messaging platform. The ease and effectiveness of having different systems talk to each other has helped many businesses grow by leaps. Internally, technology integration makes collaboration and communication among staff stronger and better. Employees, like the 37% telecommuters, rely heavily on technology to support and maintain operations.

Integration Betters Education

For education, technology integration has become a necessary tool. Many schools are implementing technology initiatives to both aid in the process of teaching as well as better prepare students for the technological landscape. Technology integration key for the success of education technology, or EdTech, to be successful – both inside and outside of classrooms. Teachers need their LMS to speak with any communication platforms such as Email or SMS to keep information up to date for students and the teachers.


Sources: Edutopia, Pew Research


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As the adoption of learning management systems (LMS) grows in educational settings, the need to integrate mobile becomes increasingly important. Among undergraduates, 86% of them own a smartphone and 47% own a tablet. With such high numbers of mobile device ownership, many students and professors are learning new ways to incorporate mobile into education. Fifty percent of students reported that they do school work on smartphones or tablets. One of the biggest attributes of mobile incorporation into an LMS is the SMS conversations.  

Improve Classrooms with SMS Conversations

About 30% of university instructors incorporate mobile technology into assignments. While that number is still rather low, it shows the growth in mobile device adoption. One perk to using learning management systems with mobile integrated is that the centralized platform makes a cohesive educational experience. Coupling this centralization with SMS allows professors to conduct classroom interactions in real time. A number of university LMS and other technology tools allow professors to conduct in-class surveys, polls, and personalize discussions related to the learning material. These classroom interactions not only make the lecture engaging for students, but they also help students get a better grasp of the material.


SMS Conversations, learning management systems, LMS, mobile integration, EdTech, education technology, mobile educationTake the Conversation Outside the Classroom

Today’s students are constantly on the go. Texting is one of the few forms of communication that manages to keep up with busy students. Having SMS conversations integrated into the university’s LMS makes it easier to keep up classroom communications outside the classroom.  In addition to standard announcements, professors can utilize the university LMS to conduct homework assignments. And all of this can be done in a secure way that prevents abuse of the technology.

Using texting capability built into the LMS, a professor can message students a series of questions every evening to spread out the learning process. This same professor can also foster a true dialog between groups of students by hosting a weekly chat via SMS. This could be seamlessly integrated into the course materials and syllabus thanks to a powerful learning management system.

Millennial and Gen-Z students are the biggest mobile users in the US. It’s no surprise that LMSs have integrated mobile technology. It’s important to have real-time communication with students and SMS conversations work. SMS provides a medium that can fully support the seamless learning experience while adapting to the new generations preferences.

 Sources: Educause

Join us Friday, April 8th for a free EdTech webinar! Register here.


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