Hello Santa, Here's All My Data In A Text -- Can You Predict Next Year's Trends?

What if you could aggregate millions of text-message communications to Santa and Mrs. Claus that could drive performance through product development and changes in consumer behavior based on geographic region?

At the beginning of the year when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, I’m sure many thought that by Christmas the world would not still be reeling from this crisis.

One thing is certain -- I’ll never take another shopping mall Santa Claus for granted.

Just when you thought the kids would need to go through the holidays without talking with Santa, some innovative thinker comes up with texting technology to connect with Santa through a text message.

The texting technology was actually created last year, but it likely didn’t gain as much traction then as it will this year.

SlickText -- the name of the company -- has launched a text Santa campaign. And just as the name suggests, the service enables people to send and receive text messages from Santa.

When signing up for the text messages, the person receives holiday trivia, mad libs, quizzes to discover their inner holiday character, and more from either Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus leading up to December 25.

This year the company partnered with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Those texting Santa can receive text updates tracking Santa's location leading up to the Christmas holiday.

The best part is that people can text Santa with all of their holiday wishes, which led me to think about the massive data repository this company is creating, filled with phone numbers and product requests from millions of texts requesting to talk with the jolly man in the North Pole.

SlickText manages responses via a workflow feature that automates the sequence of events based on behavior to personalize the experience.

For example, when someone signs up to text Santa, they might select an option to receive texts from Santa intended for children, adults or both. More than 6,000 people signed up to receive texts from Santa last year.

Based on these responses, the texting technology will direct the person down a particular path of texts that continue to evolve, learn and automate responses as he or she engages via texts with Santa or Mrs. Claus.

When kids interact with Santa in a mall, there is no way to aggregate the list of what they want -- but an interactive texting technology changes the dynamics and the ability to aggregate responses, requests and behavior from millions of mobile phones.

The company claims more than 10,000 businesses as customers across North America -- including ESPN, the American Cancer Society, and FedEx -- use the technology. It's also worked with Arizona State University, ESPN, Universal and others. More than 60 million texts are sent using SlickText each month.

Since 2012, SlickText has been helping its extensive customer base to send texts daily. A company spokesperson ensured me that the company has the capacity to handle millions of texts simultaneously.

What can be done with that data to predict trends on toys and products, as well as to determine a change in consumer behavior?

SlickText can compile all of the data internally, and gathered data has the potential to report on the most-requested toys and gifts, most-preferred holiday movies, and other behavioral changes. It doesn't use any of the data for itself.

To respect the privacy of participants, all data gathered through the Text Santa campaign will remain internal and confidential.

SlickText business customers can use engagement analytics to inform future SMS marketing decisions.

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