SMS: Your Gateway for Mobile Engagement

OpenMarket – September 17, 2014

Enterprises are becoming more and more sophisticated in how they are enabling mobile engagement.  A new book from Forrester Research defines this form of engagement as delivering mobile moments.  “A mobile moment is the point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.”  Mobile apps, the mobile web and messaging are increasingly capable of delivering us these mobile moments.  With many businesses taking advantage of this opportunity to improve customer communications and create competitive differentiation, some industry leaders are establishing a new trend: using SMS as an initial gateway for broader customer engagement.

Here are three reasons why SMS is so popular today as an entry point for mobile engagement:

First, there are many opportunities to present a call-to-action and everyone knows how to use SMS-based text messaging.  This means I have numerous opportunities to present my audience with some new value and they can easily participate without having to learn something new.  You can see these initial calls-to-action in many places.

711_sms   alaska-airlines   starbucks_sms

Secondly, SMS offers a very low commitment level.  If I am beginning my mobile ‘relationship’ with you, then I very likely want to see what kind of value and service you offer before we move to the next level.  SMS is not only easy to opt-in to, but it’s equally easy to opt-out of.  It doesn’t require me to find, download and learn a mobile application.  I personally experienced this recently with Alaska Airlines.  They make it very easy to sign-up for SMS flight updates when you book air travel (see above example). The service was so easy and valuable to me, that I was compelled to see what else they could offer!

The third reason is that SMS provides easy opportunities to upsell.  Companies offering a valuable service or information via SMS can build trust and compel their users to take advantage of even more functionality or a richer experience.  By including links to mobile web or to download mobile apps, these companies are leading their audience to broader mobile engagement and even stickier services.  The image below shows a perfect example.  When I make a purchase online at Walmart, but want to take advantage of in-store pick up, I get the text message below which has a link for me to directly download their mobile app.


For the reasons above, you can see why SMS appeals to so many companies today and why it’s increasingly being used as the entry point for valuable mobile engagement.


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