Mobile and SMS Marketing 2010: History, Software, Tactics, Tips
Mobile marketing was redefined in 2009 – literally. In November, the Mobile Marketing Association updated the definition to “a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.”
Describing mobile marketing as a set of practices reflects how it has changed in 2009 and where it is headed in 2010. To understand, it helps to consider the following few trends.
Mobile is multichannel
In 2010, brands and agencies increasingly will use mobile to enhance other channels, both traditional and new media.
This trend has been underway for a couple of years, and it is not hard to see why: With high penetration even in developing countries, mobile is widely recognized as a convenient, cost-effective way for marketers to reach the mass market, including in ways they cannot with other media.
For example, a growing number of marketing campaigns use mobile-enhanced billboard, print and broadcast media to promote an opt-in for text alert programs, wallpapers, games and ringtones to maintain awareness of a product, such as a new car model or album.
These programs support engagements long after exposure to the initial traditional marketing.
This stickiness of mobile is one reason why brands and agencies will spend in 2010 and include a mobile component throughout all their mobile marketing programs at every state of the customer lifecycle.
Another benefit drives that trend.
Brands and agencies increasingly recognize that mobile is a powerful, cost-effective way to maintain a relationship with customers.
For example, when customers respond to, say, a short code in a print ad, that initial communication is an opportunity to invite them to opt in to future campaigns and promotions, such as SMS-delivered alerts and e-coupons for secret sales.
Richer analytics are here
In 2010, mobile analytics tools will grow in both selection and features so that brands and agencies have richer, more actionable insights into their mobile campaigns, such as how consumers are interacting with them.
This level of hard metrics benefits both the campaigns and the mobile marketing industry by illustrating the value that mobile brings to a campaign.
Mobile analytics tools also increasingly will be integrated with analytics tools for other media.
For example, a multichannel campaign spanning broadcast and mobile will be able to use a single dashboard for viewing data for SMS usage alongside Nielsen and Arbitron metrics. That is a key component enabling the overall marketing trend toward integrated campaigns.
SMS’ value skyrockets
SMS is one of the oldest wireless technologies still in use, and for good reason: It is nearly ubiquitous in terms of device and network support, enjoys wide consumer awareness across all demographics and is relatively inexpensive for consumers, brands and marketers.
All of those benefits make SMS a highly effective way for a mobile marketing campaign (SMS Marketing Campaign) to reach the mass market – far more than, say, smartphone applications, which have a rapidly growing yet still small addressable market.
That is why in 2010, SMS increasingly will serve as the glue that cements multichannel campaigns.
More campaigns that span print, direct mail, digital signage and broadcast will use SMS to enable calls-to-action, e-coupons and metrics such as the number of people who view an advertisement.
One example is Atomic SMS Sender, which helps local businesses and national chains to create and execute campaigns that feature short codes in direct mailers.
After texting the short code, consumers receive an e-coupon on their phone that they redeem by showing to the merchant’s sales associate.
Participating Atomic SMS Sender merchants are reporting a coupon-redemption lift averaging 3.5:1.
Just as important, SMS also is giving these merchants an opportunity to build an opt-in list to enable future campaigns.
SMS Marketing also provides brands and agencies with a less expensive, faster and farther-reaching alternative to smartphone applications, which a growing number of campaigns use.
Although smartphone adoption skyrocketed in 2009, smartphone applications are not an ideal fit for every campaign because, by various analyst estimates, upward of 80 percent of mobile users have a feature phone.
That is not to say that brands and agencies should not consider smartphone applications. Just the opposite: They are a powerful new option for campaigns and an example of why “interactive” is part of mobile marketing’s new definition.
But at the same time, it is important to understand how applications fit in – or do not – with the product being marketed and its target audience.
In that regard, SMS’ ubiquity fits another part of mobile marketing’s new definition: “any mobile device or network.”