SMS is Key to Business Communication in a ‘Mobile First’ World

By Ian Barker, BetaNews

The switch to mobile devices has brought about a change in the way people communicate and consume media, moving away from the desktop PC and TV. This shift toward ‘mobile first’ or in some cases ‘mobile only’ needs to be reflected in how businesses expand their communication services.

This is one of the key findings of a new report by mobile engagement specialist OpenMarket and UK market research firm Portio Research. The report highlights that of the 7.3 billion people worldwide, 6.1 billion use an SMS-enabled phone, which amounts to 84 percent of the global population.

“With more people owning a mobile phone than a toothbrush, it’s clear that ‘mobile first’ is much more than just a buzzword,” says Karl Whitfield, managing director of Portio Research. “The way we interact has evolved in such a way that our mobile phones represent a conduit to the world around us, as we use them to communicate, shop for goods and consume content. This means that companies should not just incorporate mobile messaging into their communications strategy, but rather build their strategy around it”.

The traditional ‘broadcast’ nature of enterprise communication doesn’t work for the time-starved modern consumer and the use of social media highlights the need for personalized communication. The report suggests that because of its familiarity and ubiquity, SMS is the optimal channel for enterprise communication in the mobile first age.

“The shift towards a consumer-centric marketplace has meant that enterprise brands, regardless of the goods or services they are providing, have had to reassess their communications strategies,” says Jay Emmet, general manager of OpenMarket. “SMS offers a unique blend of reach, flexibility and personalization to make it the most effective tool for businesses looking to engage more with their customers. What’s important is that companies avoid the temptation to treat mobile messaging as just another tool for broadcasting information. They should implement it as a meaningful, two-way channel for individual customer interaction”.

The full report is available to download from the OpenMarket website and there’ll be a webinar to discuss the findings on 29 October.