By Kristina Knight, Biz Report
The mobile space is exploding with activity from both consumers and marketers, and is expected by many to have a big impact on the holiday season as well as back to school shopping. One expert weighs in with his thoughts on how mobile is shaping the online space.
Kristina: What trends are you seeing in the mobile space currently?
Steve French, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, OpenMarket: More and more companies are actively using SMS as a primary communications channel. In fact, a recent Forrester study reported that 86% of surveyed businesses plan to use SMS in 2014. Although the mobile app ‘love affair’ is still hot, executives are realizing the importance of selecting the right mobile channel to meet their goals. For example, apps can be highly effective for power users needing a rich experience, whereas SMS provides ubiquitous reach and immediacy. The trend we see is less about ‘I’ve got to have an app’ and more about using the most effective mobile engagement channel to accomplish your business objectives and deliver value to your audience.
Kristina: You recently released a tool to offer ‘long codes’ for mobile marketers. What are these codes and why are they important?
Steve: Just to clarify, we are offering US long codes for operational use cases only, as they can only be used for non-marketing purposes in this country. If you plan to send advertisements, coupons, information about sales, or other promotional messaging, you must use a US short code. While short code SMS messages represent a majority of business mobile messaging interactions today, long code SMS functionality is being driven by enterprise customers looking for a common provider for their mobile messaging needs. Additionally, long codes offer fewer costs, faster program provisioning, and less regulatory overhead than US short codes. We are seeing US long codes being used for a handful of non-marketing use cases – including customer service inquiries, appointment reminders and two-factor authentication. Additionally, OpenMarket is the first mobile messaging provider to offer US standard rate SMS with short codes, long codes and Free-to-End-User (FTEU) messaging, global SMS, MMS, and push notifications through one enterprise-grade service, making our platform one of the most robust options available.
Kristina: Looking ahead through the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, how important is it for brands to have a solid mobile strategy in place?
Steve: Mobile has become a critical engagement channel for companies of all sizes and across nearly every industry. Developing a solid mobile strategy is important and there are a few guidelines to help accomplish this. First, identify your business objectives or the outcome you desire (i.e. decrease operational costs, improve customer experience, drive revenue). Next, find your “mobile moments ” or the opportunities you have to leverage mobile with customer touch points or processes. You’ll then need to evaluate the mobile channel that is the best fit for your goals and customer needs. This could be mobile messaging, mobile apps, or both depending on your objectives. Lastly, you’ll need to decide on the approach to your mobile engagement strategy – will you build in-house or look for a partnered solution? Considering some of the guidance above will help lay the groundwork for your mobile strategy going forward.