SMS still essential to mobile marketing strategy
Despite the rise of mobile apps, mobile web sites and QR Codes, good old fashioned SMS technology will continue to play a key role in mobile marketing strategies, according to Tim Norman, director for SDL Web Content Management Solutions.
Although SMS is not feature-rich, 'sexy' or even visually beautiful, in a rapidly changing world of mobility and just-in-time marketing, Normal argues that SMS is still the cost-effective, instantaneous 'killer app' of mobile marketing.
It's no secret that all successful customer engagements put the customer at the centre, so marketers have to know each customer's profile as fully as possible. For example, it helps to identify and record the customer's culture, language, likes, dislikes, age, geographical location, number of children, favoured channels and touch-points, and so on.
The more relevant the relationship you have with each customer, the greater your ROE (return on engagement), which can be measured in terms of increased brand equity, customer loyalty, customer retention, and of course revenue. Of course, there's nothing new to customer-centric strategies, but in the mobile SMS environment it has never been more important and more expected.
According to a recent Forrester study, 60% of mobile consumers expect vendors to know their product likes and dislikes, whether they are a new or returning customer, and what kind of offers they prefer to receive.
This level of sophisticated targeting requires a very smart technology platform, but that is only one part of the equation: there are other SMS 'success enablers' such as interactive mobile delivery, geo-targeting, and precise or just-in-time delivery of messages and offers. This marketing mix becomes even more complicated when you add in other factors such as customer profiling, language, relevance, geography and timing.
Although mobile apps are great, they still lack many of the key benefits of SMS, which in itself makes accessible the largest addressable mobile audience in the world, enabling more prospects and customers to be reached through one platform than any other mobile technology.
When a consumer goes online with a smart phone, they tend to think about the action or task at hand first, and the fact that they are online doesn't really make much of an impact, if at all. As a result, one-off mobile marketing efforts via web sites and apps can be sidelined in favour of the somewhat 'in your face' delivery of an SMS in real time. And if that SMS provides some relevant, meaningful value - whether that's based on the consumer's current location, proximity to retail stores, or some sense of urgency - it will drive immediate emotional engagement with the brand or product.
Of course, an SMS engagement strategy still needs to be part of a wider marketing effort across multiple channels, including touch points such as web sites, email, mobile sites and apps, social media, printed materials, and digital signage. The key to SMS marketing is that, as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy, those two or three lines of text can provide an immediate push to encourage customers to take action through any of the other channels available to them.