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The humble text message: Perfectly designed for mobile marketing

Mobile technology continues to find great acceptance in South Africa with the country now an impressive number six in the world when it comes to adoption of the mobile web. If one considers there are a whopping 195 countries in the world today, it's quite an achievement for the world's 25th biggest economy to be up there in the mobile top 10!
Once again, sheer numbers tell us that mobile marketing is where brands need to be. If your organisation hasn't jumped on the mobile marketing bus, you better get on now - it'll be standing room only soon.

Let's rewind a little as the concept of 'mobile marketing' might need to be clarified. Mobile marketing involves communicating with the consumer via a cellular handset. The mobile marketer will typically either send a simple marketing message, introduce mobile users to a new audience participation-based campaign or allow them to visit a mobile website.

While it is important not to equate mobile marketing only with the humble 160-character text message, the SMS is indeed one of the foundation tools of the trade. It was the first bits and bytes-driven method of mobile advertising to be explored by marketers.

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Experian, a marketing services provider in the US, estimates that the number of worldwide SMS users (approximately 1.8 billion at present) is twice that of active email users. Certainly, that's 1.8 billion good reasons to embark on a mobile marketing campaign - here's another good reason: Text messages are generally read within 15 minutes and responded to within the hour. Now compare that to email communication which could go unread for days.

In addition, SMS is an effective method of bulk one-to-many communication with one overseas study finding that in excess of 94% of all text messages are actually read by the recipients. And with almost 7 billion text messages being sent around the world daily, mobile marketers are also benefitting from economies of scale that make SMS a very reasonably-priced marketing tool.

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The interesting thing about text messages is also that they have the curious advantage of being characterised as a 'bulk' method of advertising communication, when in fact it is a very personal method of communication because it reaches people on that most personal of communication devices.

In terms of the response methods that cellular users employ, SMS also performs well here. Research indicates that, after viewing a particular ad, 25% of mobile ad respondents sent an SMS message, while 13% sent an MMS (picture SMS), 11% sent an email, 9% visited a web or mobile site and 7% responded to click-to-call.

In conclusion, not only should the text message continue to be explored by marketers, they should go to the next level by rediscovering the text message with a mobile advertising partner that can propose interesting new ways of approaching an old favourite.
 
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About Mike Laws

Michael is the CEO of Imaginatrix.mobi. He has over 23 years' experience in the ICT industry, has worked in multiple mobile network operators across Africa. These include Econet Wireless and Vodacom South Africa where he was instrumental in establishing the mobile advertising division. Michael was responsible for commercialising the successful Please Call Me service, as well as the tagged-on advertising messaging propositions.
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