As an e-marketing strategist, I can’t help but recognize the up and coming SMS (short message system) marketing as a potentially effective marketing medium. I recently came across a white paper, presented by mobileStorm, explaining the history and nature of SMS marketing, entitled SMS or Die. This document provided me with a general overview of the history, current uses, and possibilities of the SMS technology in regards to marketing.
As a self-taught expert in email marketing, I saw many similarities between email and SMS marketing. It seems SMS is simply the “second generation” of email marketing, in the sense that their very similar in regards to their beginnings. However, SMS compared to email marketing today differ drastically.
It can be argued (by others, not me) that email marketing is ineffective today, because of sites such as Mailonator, which offer disposable email addresses to those who do not wish to give their “real” information. However, if the email marketer is promoting relevant, interesting content, the subscriber will WANT to give the marketer their real information because they will want to get the information or value that the marketer is providing.
Same with SMS…a marketer advertises a special value that subscribers can receive by texting a short code (usually a word relevant to the campaign) to a four digit number. As a reward for their action, marketers will give the subscriber a ‘free’ piece of information, coupon, ring tone, or other incentive. However, this is where email and SMS differ…individuals don’t have “disposable” cell phone numbers they can give out to simply receive this free gift and not be available for future contact.
So, as you can probably tell by this unorganized jumble of thoughts on SMS and email marketing, I’m undecided about the newer technology.
The reason why I’m leaning towards a hatred for it is the two text messages I received at 7:28 and 7:33 am one morning before work from a firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “charts” and “applicant.” Yes, I’m aware that these messages are either: a failed attempt on the technology side of delivering me a marketing message that I did NOT opt in for, or a weak attempt at spam. I brushed it aside thinking it was some kind of error, until I got a few more messages, this time at 2:30 and 2:35 am, waking me up in the middle of the night. These were still weak, but still spammy marketing messages that made more sense “Claim your free best buy gift card…”
I don’t give my cell phone number to anybody, I just use my land line when somebody asks for my number. So, I’m a little bit scared. If SMS marketing does for cell phones what email marketing did for email addresses (created a mass amount of spam being sent out), am I going to have to shut off my phone when I go to sleep?
I know there will be ways around this (cell phone provider creating spam filters), but right now, I don’t appreciate having my dreams interrupted so ten zeros @simms can tell me that I can get a free best buy card. So, until there is a way to get rid of text message spam, I fear I may remain reluctant to adopt this texting technology.
If you’re interested in SMS marketing, check out Mobile Marketing: Achieving Competitive Advantage Through Wireless Technology, a great book I found, about different ways cell phones, smart phones, and PDAs are being used as marketing tools in today’s world of new media. Although fairly old (Published in April 2006, the book is surprisingly still very relevant today. To learn more about SMS and other Mobile Marketing techniques, order this book through Amazon as soon as possible!
Also be sure to check out my other Recommended Web 2.0 Reads!