SMS Marketing Largely Ignored

November 18, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Mobile Phone | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media | Telecom

etailing-mobile-and-social-marketing-tools-nov11.gifSMS marketing tactics are far less likely to be used by marketers than other mobile capabilities such as mobile commerce sites and mobile applications, according to [pdf] a November 2011 report from the e-tailing group, sponsored by Bronto. Data from “Surviving the Current Marketing Mania with a Solid 2012 Plan” indicates that just 14% of marketers currently collect SMS opt-in from customers in all channels, while only 7% text to send out marketing messages, and 6% text to send out transactional support messages such as confirmations and order status. Between one-quarter and one-third of respondents plan to employ these capabilities in the next 12 months. According to a study released in November by Econsultancy in association with Foviance, just 9% of companies say that SMS/MMS touch points are very integrated into their overall customer experience.

SMS marketing may be losing relevance due to the increasing penetration of smartphones: 29% of respondents say they currently use a mobile commerce site, with a further 42% planning to employ one in the next year. Meanwhile, 19% currently employ a mobile application, with 27% more planning use in the next year.

Call Center Tactics Take Center Stage

e-tailing-sms-capture.jpgAlthough only a small percentage of merchants currently use SMS marketing tactics, these marketers do appear to be employing a variety of methods to grow their SMS files. For those collecting mobile numbers, 28% say capturing phone numbers during call center transactions is either critical (13%) or very important (15%), while 26% say capturing them during online transactions is at least very important. Other relevant tactics include capturing phone numbers during retail transactions (15%), executing email marketing campaigns with SMS opt-in objectives (14%), and executing traditional marketing or advertising campaigns with SMS opt-in objectives (10%).

Social Capabilities Near Saturation

While SMS capabilities remain largely ignored, social capabilities are far more entrenched among marketers: Facebook is the most popular current social capability, with 87% of marketers employing a Facebook fan page and/or shopping, and a further 8% planning use of the social network in the next 12 months. Twitter publishing (monitoring, responding to, and posting tweets) closely follows, employed by 82% of respondents, with a further 8% expecting use in the next year.

Meanwhile, 38% of marketers currently employ bar codes or QR codes at retail, via catalog, or in traditional advertising, with another 31% planning to expand that capability in the next year. According to an October survey from Russell Herder, 72% of US consumers say they have seen a QR code, but nearly 30% do not know what it is.

Data Access Concerns Remain

Marketers clearly see room for improvement when it comes to accessing the right data to successfully market to consumers and prospects. Less than half say that their existing data allows them to effectively segment their customers, while only about 4 in 10 say that current data is delivered in a digestible format or that their data is very digestible for both associates and senior management. Just 28% say they currently receive a 360-degree view of their customer’s engagement with them, with only 4% strongly agreeing with that statement.

About the Data: The e-tailing group surveyed 110 merchants in Q3 2011. 24% had annual sales of $1-5 million, while 21% had annual sales of $501 million or greater. For 46% of those surveyed, online sales account for more than half of their overall business, while for one-quarter, online sales account for 3-10% of overall business.

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