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Why Gartner Focuses On SMS As A Marketing Channel Severely Underrated

by | Nov 6, 2018

Gartner Group Inc. is one of the most reliable sources for analysis, trends, and predictions backed by extensive data and information gathered on the market. Founded close to 4 decades ago, Gartner is an established company that provides market analysis for businesses. According to a recent research they conducted, SMS as a marketing channel was repeatedly emphasized upon, as a powerful tactic that could have a lasting impact on customers, however, it is greatly underused in today’s world.

How the SMS gained momentum and fell?

The SMS came into existence only a few decades ago, however, by 2011, the messaging system gained momentum and saw a rapid spike in usage across the globe. With high C2C engagement, businesses also took the opportunity to reach out to customers to keep them engaged, sell products and services, and attract more customers. B2C SMSs saw a steady incline for a few years, but with the rise of social media and other marketing tactics, SMS receded to the background.

Though many businesses engage in SMS, there are ample that continue to ignore the power of an SMS.

Why the SMS works Globally

Data has proven that SMSs have a 98% read rate. This implies that only 2% of the SMSs sent goes unread. With the SMS constricted by character limit, the content to be read by the receiver is very minimal and to the point. Therefore, many receivers open messages knowing that it’s a quick read. In comparison to the email, the content within the message reaches more customers. Emails see an average of 29% read globally. This can be attributed to the inundation of inboxes with spam and marketing emails, and also the fact that every email has lengthy content.

Though the number of smartphone buyers is increasing at incredible speeds all over the world, one cannot ignore the fact that in many underdeveloped nations, many people don’t have access to smartphones, they may not be able to afford it, or have just not caught up with the need/want of a smartphone. For businesses that have targeted consumers in such areas, the SMS is a powerful tool that reaches just about anyone with a regular phone – no data pack required.

Why Gartner suggests the SMS is a good marketing tactic

As the world progresses and businesses expand, there are more and more options available in the market to reach out to new and existing customers. The SMS serves as a tried-and-tested method to reach out to existing customers. Keeping existing customers engaged and coming back for more is a lot cheaper than acquiring new ones. This is why the SMS should be used in tandem with other methods such as the email, in-app notifications, and social media. The SMS works best when used as a complementary tool rather than the only marketing strategy.

The Power of the SMS

One-step enrollment – It is important to take consent from customers to opt in or out of SMS subscriptions. Respecting the privacy norms of SMS marketing is crucial. The process is extremely simple wherein a customer needs to send “Y” or “N” to a prescribed number.

Reach the world – A large segment of the world’s population is left out of the realm of smartphones and the internet. The SMS, however, can still reach them, provided they have a regular phone. In the US alone, 95% of the population owns a mobile phone, however, only 77% of these own a smart device. This leaves out a significant chunk of people. The reach of the SMS is incomparable in such a situation.

Active response  – Emails take 90 minutes on average to be opened and read, while only 28% of all emails are even opened. The SMS, on the other hand, takes a meager 3 minutes to be opened. Customers need only a few seconds to read the content sent.

Increased engagement – A study by Cellit took into consideration 1,180 campaigns carried out by national retailers. The analysis revealed that when the marketing campaigns were used for redemption, data collection, and brand awareness, the SMS created 6-8 times more engagement than email marketing.

Though the use of the SMS has decreased over the years, businesses are still going back to it, as it has proven to hold good even till today. With the ever-increasing number of mobile users, all aspects of mobile marketing should be given adequate attention. If used tactically, the SMS has a number of benefits to deliver. 

Sakshee Sunil Sarrawgi

Sakshee Sunil Sarrawgi