SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

SMS or Die … FAIL

Posted by Admin on January 10, 2009

I recently mentioned a whitepaper called ‘SMS or Die’. I’ve had a chance to read it now and I thought I’d pass on my view of it.

I’ll start by summarising what is said in the whitepaper by taking extracts directly from it:

– the effectiveness of email has started to diminish thanks to a torrent of spam and the sheer volume of messages through which the average consumer has to wade.
– Like email a decade ago, SMS… is a powerful new way to attract consumers. Why? Because consumers are
using SMS like never before.
– SMS offers companies personalization, relevancy, and immediacy with their marketing campaigns. In
the near future, this will be expanded to include location-based services, giving mobile marketers the ability
to reach consumers with specific offers tied to their current whereabouts. In addition, SMS allows for a
two-way dialogue, making it possible for companies to gather important demographic and psychographic
information from willing consumers.
– Secure Computing, an Internet security company, estimated in August 2007 that 88 percent of all email was spam.
– According to a release from the firm ABI Research, “Mobile marketing has the same potential to change the
advertising and marketing space in the same way that the emergence of the Internet did a decade ago.”
– SMS is the savvy marketer’s choice for two reasons. First of all, text messages reach a lot more people than do email messages, since many more people have cell phones than they do computers… Secondly, widespread phone use coincides with increasingly wider SMS usage
– Besides drawing new customers and adding them to a marketing database, SMS offers additional revenue
– Companies of all sizes can integrate SMS into their own marketing strategies, if they have the right tools.
– marketers who choose to continue to ignore SMS will do so at their own peril.

So that’s what they say.

My view is that the whitepaper is far too simplistic and it falls down due to that. It really only talks about sending out big blasts of text messages. It heavily criticised email spam, which of course is only untargeted and unwanted messages – if I want to increase my penis size, or help out that poor Nigerian widow who has an extra £26m, then those messages are perfect for me. Then in the next breath seemed to advocate SMS to do the same kind of random blast, which will produce the same poor results and anger in consumers.

Where mobile marketing really comes into its own is in the fact that it can use the native elements of the handset and how people interact with it to create new ways to reach out to people. Whether that is contextual ads in a text message; displaying an ad as the phone rings; or using your mobile camera to intereact with an offline ad. However, if advertisers only consider the mobile phone as another way to receive the messages they want to send, then it will FAIL as an advertising tool.


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