SMS wrks: A shrt 'n swt strategy

While new business will certainly be created in wireless space, under the present arrangements, the most obvious area in which SMS may be useful to a wide range of companies is in marketing and promotion.

Studies conducted have discovered a very ready acceptance of advertising and promotion making use of the mobile. Reviewing the findings, found that although advertising in this medium was expected to have the same effect as direct mail, it already has a much higher response rate at a much lower cost per head. This high success rate is due to a combination of attractive qualities that text messaging posseses for its audiences.

Immersive: SMS messaging has an interactive quality that younger users find particularly attractive. Personalized SMS messages, particularly those that are delivered in response to a SMS request, involve users in an interactive experience familiar to and desired by those with a knowledge of the online world.
Freedom from clutter: For the moment, clutter has not particularly afflicted this area. Advertising messages tend to be less common than in other media and importantly tend to remain highly pertinent to the mobile experience, alerting users to such things as new rates or other offers of particular and immediate relevance.
High recognition: High ad recall
WOW factor: As a spin-off from the lack of clutter in this area, messages maintain a degree of surprise. Not yet inured to being communicated with in this manner, users have a higher degree of acceptance.
Viral marketing: Due to a combination of the two factors above, the proliferation of messages through viral means is an appreciable contributor to the effectiveness of campaigns. As mobiles are habitually used for social communication, the possibility of enhancing the effectiveness of messages via communities of interest remains strong. Users often interact with their mobiles
while with groups of friends 'showing off' any attractive new content.
Communication at point of purchase (with GPS): The fact that advertising is received on mobile personal devices means that the audience can, in theory, be located right next to sales points.

All of these factors play particularly well for the youth, where the mobility and social interaction around technology are highly desirable.

Downside of SMS is realisation per subscriber has actually dropped average revenue per user (ARPU)

The Golden Rules of SMS advertising

To ensure attitudes to text advertising and promotions remain positive, those marketing in the wireless space must ensure that:

» Messages include value-added elements: Among an age group that has become used to interactivity, successful messages will be those that invite participation and response.
» Information received is highly accurately targeted: The high level of acceptance of text advertising and promotion relates intimately to the relevance of products and services promoted.
» Facilitate easy opt-out: Maintaining control of the flow of messages to a mobile device is perceived as highly important by users.

An Eye on the Future?

Such services as General Packet Radio System (GPRS) will not include SMS facility, though they will include more sophisticated messaging services. But that does not mean that SMS will be disappearing in the short-term. SMS services are likely to remain popular, if they continues to grow at the present rate.
But even given the obvious end-point for SMS as we know it, it is still essential for businesses to enter the fray, since those who have come to understand the possibilities of mobile, non-voice communication will be the best place to lead developments in forthcoming GPRS, Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) and other imminent mobile technologies.
Perhaps, the most important aspect of the rise of SMS technology to recall is the way in which the developers of the technology were not necessarily best placed to say exactly how it will be used. As we move more and more towards providing tools for creating entertainment rather than creating content, it seems increasingly necessary to follow the consumers demand very carefully. And the best way to do this, right now, is from within the SMS space.

On the other hand, mobile games have huge advantages associated with being portable. Given the restrictions, mobile games must create what one game firm has dubbed 'immersion by imagination'. In some territories, branded gaming has emerged, its novelty proving more than enough compensation for the low-bandwidth styles.



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