SMS: The Unsung Hero of Mobile Marketing

Filed in Messaging / SMS / MMS by on February 1, 2014 0 Comments

With an increasingly fragmented number of channels to reach consumers, marketing decision makers have been forced to carefully evaluate their strategies and demonstrate their value through results. Technological advances like the rise of mobile marketing have enabled marketers to implement efficient, cost-effective and impeccably targeted campaigns.

Mobile has become a critical part of the average consumer’s daily life. The scale of mobile’s proliferation opens a wealth of opportunities for businesses looking for better consumer engagement, and today’s mobile networks are primed for advanced, multidimensional mobile marketing campaigns.

Syniverse collaborated with market strategy consulting firm iGR to conduct a global survey of leaders at Fortune 1000 companies. The results showed that more than 90 percent of respondents believed that having a mobile strategy was either “very important” or “important.” Yet adoption levels still vary greatly.

Not surprisingly, the retail industry is leading the way in customer-centric mobile marketing. Syniverse’s research revealed 83 percent of retailers currently have a customer-centric mobile strategy. In addition, 86 percent of retailers claimed to be investing in new technologies like HTML5. While businesses recognize the evolving mobile ecosystem and are determining how they can utilize the channel to keep up with consumer preferences, our research indicates brands could be doing more with the original mobile marketing tool: SMS.

Text messaging is compatible with essentially every mobile device on the planet. It’s pervasive and recognized as a viable, trusted way to communicate en masse. Without the question of interoperability, it’s a fail-safe way for enterprises to ensure coveted, ubiquitous reach. Additionally, consumers are almost unanimously familiar with SMS and comfortable using it.

With the introduction of newer, flashier technologies, Syniverse’s research illustrates that SMS is being overlooked and underutilized. The data revealed that no more than a third of respondents from the retail, financial services, and travel and hospitality industries saw potential in offering new services and upselling offers via SMS. By limiting their communication in this way, brands are potentially sacrificing significant revenue opportunities from new and returning customers.

In a time when it seems like everyone and their neighbor (literally) has a smartphone, the fact is that there are still large segments of mobile users that do not own smartphones. In reality, sales of smartphones only surpassed that of feature phones for the first time in 2013. Feature-phone users are unable to access Web-based communication tools and therefore must be reached via simpler channels on the move. In order for brands to reach these consumers in a direct and timely manner, SMS is the best option.

Most importantly, SMS enables organizations to look beyond a traditional one-way direct marketing approach and provides them with the opportunity to start a two-way communication with their consumers.

An interesting campaign that demonstrated this approach particularly well was that of U.K.-based potato-chip maker Walkers. Through a promotional SMS campaign, Walkers gave away an iPod every hour to users who sent a text with a winning code from their potato-chip package. Rather than just sending the winners their prizes and ignoring other entrants, Walkers also replied to the not-so-lucky consumers and encouraged further entries. One of those responses called out the flavor from which the majority of winners had taken their code, resulting in a 75 percent increase in entrants from that flavor the following day. Walkers turned its campaign into a clever and friendly conversation, making it seem less like a way to sell more products and more like a dialogue to encourage consumers to continue to vie for more prizes.

With a limitless number of potential use cases, SMS provides brands a simple solution to grow relationships with customers. Trust can be built upon by creating a conversation and upselling new offers specific to each customer, which can potentially lead to less churn and more revenue. SMS may not be considered a trendy mobile marketing tool, but its value and place in the marketing mix should not be underestimated.

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About the Author ()

John Wick serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Service Provider Group, and is responsible for the management and growth of Syniverse's next-generation networking solutions. He also leads product development across this line of business, which includes Syniverse’s Connected LTE, IPX, IMS, SS7 and Turnkey product lines. Mr. Wick joined Syniverse in 1993 and was initially responsible for managing the network operations department. Over his tenure, he has held management positions in the operations, research and development, technology, business development, and product management groups. Prior to joining Syniverse, Mr. Wick was a systems integrator with Verizon and, earlier, an electronic communications and switching systems technician for the U.S. Air Force. Mr. Wick earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in business from Nova Southeastern University. He also holds an associate's degree in electronic engineering technology from the Community College of the Air Force, and he is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

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