Chapter 6

Hipcricket’s First Customers

Braiker ran first to Gus Swanson, who was a one-man marketing department at the leading Top 40 station in Seattle, KUBE 93. The idea was to give listeners an ability to communicate with the station via a short code—a five-digit number tied to text messaging that was designated for KUBE and promoted on the station. Campaigns to push additional listening and advertisers’ products and services were constructed and had accompanying keywords such as pizza for a pizza sponsor.

The most pedestrian campaigns were among the most successful. Swanson’s disc jockeys would call upon listeners to text in the word pizza for a discount. Those who did received a text message back that they could show to the cashier at the pizza house. It was all permission-based, following the rules of the carriers and Mobile Marketing Association that prohibit spam.

“We’ve always been out of the box with our marketing and ways to interact with our listeners,” Swanson says. “We are always trying to give the audience another way to communicate with the station. The texting scenario we thought was pretty perfect.

“The KUBE 93 listener is an active adult so the ability to do the quick enter to win a contest and some of the polls we would do on the air and even requests when we had that stigma of being ‘I tried to call but the line is busy’ . . . this kind of overcame that.”

Swanson took a swing at mobile without finding bravery pills.

“With any new technology, there’s a little ...

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