If proof were needed that Americans are addicted to their cellphones, look no further than the results of a survey carried out by Pew Research.
The survey revealed that some 67 percent of cell owners checked their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. Around 44 percent of cell owners slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night.
Pew also discovered that Americans check their cell phones, on average, 150 times per day to see if they have received any text messages. That is probably the reason that 29 percent described their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.”
From a business viewpoint, a more interesting statistic is that 96 percent of people who own a cell phone can receive text messages, and most respond to them within three to five minutes.
Companies are learning that they can utilize the Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Message Service (MMS) platforms for marketing their products or services. Response rates from consumers of up to 10 percent have been recorded, proving that these forms of promotion are most effective in driving consumer behavior. This is also one of the best ways to build brand loyalty.
Sanjay Govil is the founder and chairman of Infinite Computer Solutions, a provider of Business Process Platformization™ solutions and Next-Generation mobility products.
He says: “It just makes sense to be using text message and MMS marketing. It is how everyone is communicating these days, everyone has a cell phone and every one’s cell phone has the ability to send/receive mobile messages.”
One of the reasons that text messaging marketing is so successful is that only 3 percent of all participants ever opt out of mobile messaging campaigns that they have subscribed to. For the client, such outreach only costs pennies, while other more traditional forms of marketing, like direct mail and email marketing campaigns, are much more expensive, and less effective.
David Wachs, senior VP of mobile at the digital marketing firm ePrize, wrote on the Venturebeat website that there are huge opportunities for those companies which embrace this new technology as a way of reaching customers.
He gave the following five reasons.
1. SMS/MMS marketing is more effective
The open rate of text promotions/offers is a whopping 98 percent compared to the 22 percent open rate of emails. Emails can just sit in an inbox all day, but a text is read within minutes.
2. It reaches a highly engaged audience
Consumers opt in to mobile programs which differs from email campaigns, where they subscribe to brands in which they only have a short term interest.
3. It builds your brand conversation
Email communication is a one-way street. With SMS or MMS promotion people can actually engage with the brand through two-way dialog.
4. You can sell more and drive awareness
Unlike email, which tends to drive online sales, text promotions drive engagement to bring consumers in-store. SMS gets your consumer in the store and opens their eyes to additional offerings they might not have known about.
5. It helps measure your ad value
Brands can easily track where users are texting in to join (via in-store advertising, print advertising, etc.) and measure the relative effectiveness of that advertisement
Marketers know that in order to stay relevant, they have to be where their consumers are. And consumers are mobile! SMS practices are the most relevant way to engage with them, build brand trust, and even track the effectiveness of advertising.
Chantal Tode gave an example on the Mobile Marketer website of a well known company which embarked on an SMS based campaign.
That company was none other than Starbucks, which sent opted-in users an SMS trivia contest offering a chance to win a prize and encouraging them to sign up to receive summer alerts. Starbucks could then determine the kind of device users have so it could follow up with a MMS message containing a short video and information about an in-store Happy Hour special offer.
“Starbucks planned ahead and hit me with a 1-2-3 mobile punch,” said Zach Zimmerman, account manager for mobile at ePrize, Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. “By teasing with a trivia question, the brand reminded subscribers they were part of the mobile program.”
He added, “In short, they integrated their mobile program into their greater marketing strategy rather than viewing it as a separate, soiled channel. Starbucks is a real leader and demonstrates how mobile can be used not just to deliver coupons and offers, but to engage consumers in surprising and delightful ways.”
Sanjay Govil says that the Starbucks experience is a perfect example of a forward-looking company willing to push the envelope when it comes to marketing.
Govil explained, “In today’s marketing climate, unless you’re constantly innovating, you have no chance of keeping up. Everything moves so fast.”
Govil went on to say that businesses must choose their mobile messaging partner with great care. According to Govil, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Does the mobile messaging partner have historical data to prove that they can handle large volumes of message delivery?
2. Does the mobile messaging partner have the right analytics to determine if the campaign was successful? This include both making sure that the message was delivered and the audience took to action expected.
3. Does the mobile messaging partner have the ability to integrate mobile messaging into their application architecture, so that the business can leverage all their business data when making creating messaging campaigns?
4. Does the mobile messaging partner have the ability to protect the secure the mobile message ensuring that customer data remains private?
5. Does the mobile messaging provider have a messaging platform that includes the newest technology in the market place.
Govil says, “SMS and MMS marketing is available to all companies and its ubiquity provides a great way for businesses to reach their target audience. When businesses combine the ease of mobile mess, the ROI associated with these campaigns and the right mobile messaging partner, they have a powerful tool with which to drive their business in the desired direction”