Chapter 15

Texting with the Phone to the Ear?

Around the time when Hipcricket expanded its senior management ranks, Gay Gabrilska joined the company. She first saw what mobile and Hipcricket could muster when she was a promotions and marketing manager in Dallas at Susquehanna Radio Corporation. She admits during Hipcricket’s first demo that she naïvely texted and put the phone to her ear while awaiting a response. But she picked up the platform and Hipcricket advantage early, seeing quick success with a Lasik center that offered a free procedure to a lucky texter who was prompted in a spot. The doctor received 100 leads for a procedure that cost between $7,000 and $8,000.

Gabrilska, now Hipcricket’s vice president of mobile solutions, likely was won over by mobile when she saw the power of the medium in the days leading to the landfall of Hurricane Rita. Houston radio station KRBE, part of the Susquehanna Radio Corporation, offered to deliver hurricane alerts via text messaging across cell phones to listeners, enabling information to be delivered regardless of whether a person was near a radio or a computer.

Overnight, KRBE and Hipcricket developed and deployed a custom service that sent in excess of 80,000 messages to Houston residents who opted in to receive hurricane alerts from KRBE.

Programs with public service alerts are now commonplace within Hipcricket’s client roster, delivering such vital information as routes away from fires and school closures.

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