SMS Still Relevant For Marketers

By Ben Frederick, MediaPost

SMS messages turn 23 today. Although extremely popular in its day, peer-to-peer messaging hit its peak about three or four years ago as over-the-top messenger services likes Whatsapp and Skype began to eat into their market share. Today, many marketers view SMS messages as a relic of the past.

Not so, says Steve French, VP of product management and marketing at Amdocs’ OpenMarket division, an enterprise messaging company. French says SMS plays an integral part in the marketing mix, and has appeal for potential customers based on the channel’s “ubiquity, timeliness, and familiarity.”

The vast majority of brand apps are not used very often, and do not have long-term engagement. Text messages need far less investment in time from users or marketers. According to a white paper from Oxygen8, the open rate for SMS is 98%, and 90% of messages are opened within three minutes. The average time is 90 seconds.

As customers become more reluctant to place calls, companies that ensure they’ve got text-based support can catch some of the 400,000 text messages that are sent to land lines. That develops a solid customer service relationship they may have previously missed.

In the enterprise sector, French says, many companies are starting to do away with voicemail and have begun communicating with their employees through text messages.

According to a recent study from Portio Research, the mobile-first mindset that has overtaken many consumers — along with the vast reach of the channel and an emphasis on content personalization — will drive enterprise to personalize SMS communication in the next decade. (SMS can be used to reach 84% of the human race, or about 6.1 billion people.)

Communication is constantly being disrupted, and the balance of the marketing mix shifts almost daily, but SMS, and most every channel, should remain relevant for years to come.