Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SMS Marketing in 2011

How does SMS marketing fit into the mobile world in 2011

SMS will continue to be a keystone of the personal communication  mix in 2011, as it still will have the most reach and be the most used mobile service by consumers. 

The proliferation of smartphones continues, bringing more and better mobile Web and application experiences with it.  This does not diminish the importance of SMS but enhances the experience.

“The Red Cross Haiti fundraising campaign proved to the world that there is tremendous value in text marketing and fundraising and that text continues to be the key component of any mobile strategy,” said Joshua Kittner, senior marketing consultant of digital engagement at the American Red Cross, Washington.

“Our results are already having a significant positive impact in the number of short codes leased for nonprofit and for-profit organizations,” he said. “This should continue well into 2011.

“With all these new entrants we expect increased competition for donor dollars, which should increase the marketing creativity in this sector while driving costs.”

Issues, challenges and opportunities

The first challenge is awareness, according to David Berkowitz, senior director of emerging media and innovation at 360i, New York. 
 It is hard for messaging to compete with applications, HTML 5 Web sites, iAd, mobile video, mobile social media and location-based services but messaging will enhance the value of many of these services when they are tied together.

The second challenge is getting pricing right and configurations accepted and understood. 
Every sector of the economy will have a different set of values and requirements for mobile marketing.  Some markets will use only SMS and others will use SMS with a WAP link to a mobile website and still others will have steep integration requirements with other marketing resources.

The third challenge is the rise of smartphones. 
SMS calls to action will be all over traditional media.  So far, this has not slowed down SMS usage.

Applications, in particular, are a threat in two ways. 

First, some consumers are using texting applications to chat instead of text.  This can confuse the less informed users of functional similarity.   Some on-line social websites such as Facebook and Twitter have functionality that is similar too.  Online social websites should be a complimentary tool to a text message campaign.  Both the social websites and texting applications provide a different set of benefits.  Close scrutiny will reveal the differences in value.   Next, applications can directly send notifications to the device that do not rely on SMS.

According to Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA, companies including Macy’s, Arby’s and MillerCoors moved product, built databases and loyalty, and viewed text messaging as an indispensible tool in each brand’s reach strategy. 

The very fact that these brands and thousands of others have built valuable databases proves that SMS will remain in the core strategy and mobile toolbox.

Picture of growth

Expect to see more prominent calls to action that invite participation via text. 

Much like Arby’s used text in the introduction of the Roastburger on the Jimmy Kimmel show, major brands are inserting SMS calls to action to encourage trial, sales and to build loyalty. SMS calls to action will proliferate in 2011. 

“SMS has come a long way, but still suffers from the tag by creatives and others that it is the least sexy mobile execution,” Mr. Hasen said.

“That is why we continue to preach the pyramid strategy where you employ SMS for reach, then build on richer applications that deliver better brand experiences but reduce the number of people who can participate,” he said.

“SMS has to some consumer awareness and is gaining acceptance as a business tool.  In addition, many brands are willing to spend on SMS because SMS plans more frequently are unlimited so customers or prospects don't have additional cost outside their plan with a carrier.”


1. Understand business goals and target audience. If the target consumers and prospects all have one brand of smartphone, then the marketer is golden. But that is not likely.

2. Start first with reach via SMS, then see how the marketer can further engage subscribers with a WAP link, and then send offers via text or other actions that bring value to them.

3. Marketers should also seek a clear understanding before running any mobile programs.

4. Balance the portfolio. SMS is the blue-chip stock.

“Expect the integration points to be different,” 360i’s Mr. Berkowitz said. “Mobile social media presents an opportunity to allow people to interact with people, places and content in new ways from their mobile devices. SMS can facilitate deep interaction at live events, and there are fun ways to use it with digital out of-home media,” he said.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Details of a Mobile Campaign

How and why to run a mobile campaign.

Although nine out of 10 U.S. adults today use at least one mobile device and 35 percent of mobile
phone users now pay $100 a month or more for service (Experian Simmons 2010), interactive mobile
marketing is still new and unknown terrain for many advertisers.
Experienced advertisement buyers can buy radio or television time, or print or outdoor space with little effort, because these channels are routine and familiar.  But mobile is such a fresh idea that many advertising veterans are confused about how to implement and position it. As a result, many advertisers dismiss the idea entirely.
Some of the larger advertising agencies have jumped onto the bandwagon by using in-house teams of mobile strategists, but many smaller agencies still haven't figured out where mobile fits into the bigger picture. And it is all about the bigger picture.  Here are a few points to help advertisers make decisions about how and why to use a mobile campaign:
 • If you to want to establish a real-time, interactive connection to your audience, mobile marketing is the   most direct route. Consumers are not sitting in front of their television or computer 24 hours a day, nor are they always listening to the radio, reading magazines or looking at billboards. But they are connected to their mobile phones at most times.
• Mobile marketing is never a free-standing advertising system. It works in tandem with print, outdoor, broadcast or Internet advertising by offering a call to action that prompts consumers to respond by sending a text message to the advertiser.  The key is to understand mobile marketing as a piece to a larger campaign, and to find ways to fold it into standard advertising methodologies.
• The mobile component must be incorporated from the very beginning, when branding and marketing strategies are being defined. To create a synchronized, consistent statement in terms of imagery, language and overall content, mobile should be built-in at the roots of an ad campaign, rather than pieced in later.  The mobile audience is different from other audiences.  If you want to reach this audience, the entire marketing plan and everything communicated must be built with mobile in mind.
• Use unique keywords. When mobile is part of an overall marketing strategy, using different keywords for each channel – Web, print, broadcast and radio – will help your mobile component serve as a response-tracking tool.
• Remember, mobile is also a database collector, so you can look at the mobile component of your marketing strategy as a database-building campaign. When used in conjunction with an online strategy or another traditional channel, the database capability alone makes mobile an important piece of the overall plan.
• Don't forget to integrate social networking sites depending on your demographic, such as Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and MySpace, into your mobile campaigns. 
 Even though mobile marketing is still an emerging advertising channel, it is predicted that advertising spending on mobile campaigns in 2010 will increase by 80 percent, and many brands project that their mobile advertising spending will double (Mojiva 2010).