When the internet appeared on the scene of people's daily life, the connection became possible from an infrastructure that was based on wiring. For this reason, many places where it was very expensive to bring such infrastructure became isolated and lagged behind in digital development. This was the case in many developing countries, especially in rural areas.
A few years later, when wireless technology evolved, a very interesting phenomenon occurred: more than 4 billion people made the leap to digital connection without going through the era of the landline and connecting to the Internet through of a modem. We could say that it was the biggest technological leap in history!
Naturally, access to mobile technology has exploded in the last decade. It is estimated that today 7 out of 10 inhabitants of the planet have a cell phone. This results in 5.3 billion users worldwide.
The first observation that we can make in the face of these numbers is that the technological gap that existed in the days of cable has been closing in this new wireless era.
Evolution of the cell phone, as a communication device
If we look at the evolution of cell phones over time, we notice an interesting trend. At a certain point, manufacturers began to go to great lengths to create smaller and more portable devices. With the appearance of the iPhone, a turning point was marked, from which the screen became the main protagonist when using the cell phone. This is how the size of the cell phone increased again, until it reached the devices currently known as phablets, a word that combines “phone” and “tablet”.
Thanks to the technology incorporated in cell phones, a number of devices began to be displaced little by little, such as the flashlight, radio, alarm clock, calculator, etc. Today, a smartphone is much more powerful computer equipment than the computers we had at home when we were children.
A next-generation cell phone is much more than a telephone. It is an entertainment center, a personal assistant, a real-time work and communication tool and, most importantly for the purpose of our course, a source of permanent content consumption.
Importance of the cell phone in marketing
The best example to understand the importance of the cell phone in marketing for the digital world is that you measure the distance your cell phone is from your hand at this moment. In fact, you are possibly reading this on your phone!
Consumers are using 3 screens most of the time: the computer, the television and the cell phone. But, unlike the other two screens, we take the cell phone with us everywhere. This is precisely where its importance lies: it is a means of communication that we know is at all times within the reach of the consumer.
Think about it for a moment: no other means of communication travels in the customer's pocket, it is on, 24 hours a day and connected to the internet, it is interactive and allows the user
to make payments instantly. Your client's cell phone is the place to be!
Some golden rules of mobile marketing
Before starting to develop the different options that Mobile Marketing presents for the implementation of your digital strategy on your users' cell phones, let's make the rules of the game clear. The following are the foundations on which you must build any marketing action oriented to mobile devices:
- Option to opt-in: that is, the user must have the option of approving the interaction of your brand with their device voluntarily and consciously.
- Option to opt-out: that is, you must allow the user who has control to disable notifications or any type of interaction you have with their device at any time.
- Relevant content: this is the golden rule that governs every form of digital marketing strategy. You must offer your users quality content, which meets the information or entertainment criteria.
Remember that, as in other marketing scenarios, the actions should not be push but pull. In other words, make sure that the user is the one who starts the interaction. And one of the best ways to achieve this is to understand that the cell phone is a tool that is used around very specific micro-moments of everyday life.
SMS as a communication tool
With all the amazing things we can do on our cell phones, we sometimes forget that a tool as basic as texting is still as prevalent today as it was in the early era of mobile communications. Just to give you something to think about, today around 8.3 trillion text messages are still sent a year.
A large number of companies use this means of communication to reach their users. For example, in the banking sector SMS notifications of bank transactions and movements have become popular. Or in the transportation sector, especially airlines, they use text messages to confirm flight schedules and itineraries.
The point is definitely SMS is far from obsolete. But, going into the matter, how can text messages are used within a Mobile Marketing strategy? Here are a few examples of how SMS can be used as a marketing tool, beyond its obvious use as a means of communication.
How to use SMS in a Mobile Marketing strategy
Let's start with a very simple example. McDonald’s ran a campaign inviting people buying a drink to register the code on the glass to participate for discounts and prizes. Users had to send the code in a text message and by the same means received the instructions to redeem the prizes. There were 1.5 million participants in the 5 weeks that the campaign lasted.
For the launch of a new product in the Philippines, Pond’s offered home delivery at no additional cost for people who sent a text message with their personal details. The response was massive: 300,000 SMS were received in one month.
In this case, as in the previous one, the main benefit for the brand is the information of the users, which becomes a database for future communications and activities within the marketing strategy.
A very creative example of using SMS to interact with the target audience is an activity carried out by the BBC with a digital billboard located in New York City. The billboard proposed a survey on different topics of debate, such as intervention in the Middle East or political relations with China. Users could participate in the poll by sending the option they voted for in a text message, and the billboard was showing the results of the poll in real time.
All these examples show how texting is a valid tool that allows you to effectively reach your audience. Also, as we saw in the previous lesson, being on your users' cell phone is equivalent to being with them everywhere.
Using SMS is taking advantage of a trend that continues to grow
Although text messages do not require advanced technology in the user's cell phone, in fact any device with mobile network coverage can receive SMS, its traceability and simplicity are a good starting point to shorten the distances between your brand and your users.
Completing a little panorama of growth in the use of cell phones that we highlighted above, it is worth mentioning that it is expected that by 2022 more than 70% of users of mobile devices will have a smartphone. This equates to around 2.5 billion people.
If we add to this trend to the decrease in the acquisition costs of smartphones, which has reached the point of having a cell phone of $25 USD on the market, we can see the growth of users with this type of device. The same manufacturers point out that the penetration of smartphones is increasing.