Achieving Tangible ROI withMultimedia Text Message Marketing
By Mogreet, Sept 2012
Whether it’s a theaterpatron’s marimba ring tone bringing the New York Philharmonic to a halt or theaverage consumer purchasing a Whopper® using their smartphone, the impact ofmobile is everywhere. Today’s consumeris almost always tethered to their smartphone – Pew Research Center notes that65 percent of adults sleep with their cell phone next to their bed.1And, they are using these phones to communicate with friends, stay in touchwith work, buy merchandise, order dinner, watch movies and TV, and search fordiscounts and deals.
Mobile devices have changedeverything from how individuals communicate and consume information to how theymake purchasing decisions. Text messaging, in particular, has generated newmeans of interactivity and connectivity with Americans sending more than 193billion SMS and MMS (short message service/multimedia message service) messagesin a single month.2 Marketers that take advantage of this intenseusage and integrate mobile messaging into their overall marketing mix increaseconnections within highly targeted audiences, strengthen consumer engagement,build brand loyalty and drive sales by extending marketing messages to theintent-driven device that is with consumers around the clock.
Texting - The Most Used App
Mobile devices areaction-oriented and addictive. While the “crackberry” generation is moving onto swiping on their iPhones, most mobile phone owners - smartphone or basicphones users, cannot resist the compelling alert of a new text message. Infact, the most popular application on all smartphones is text messaging. As Pew Internet notes, 31% of today’sconsumers cell phone owners would rather text, than talk .3
The Mobile MarketingAssociation notes that text messages are more likely to be opened and read – 97percent as compared to 22 percent of email messages – within three minutes ofreceipt .4 Additionally, 97% of mobile phones in use today are textenabled, allowing the user to send and receive SMS and MMS messages. This hassparked a paradigm shift in what it means to be connected, providing consumerswith other ways to use their mobile device both personally and in how theyinteract with their favorite brands.
With more advanced powercomputing, photo capturing, and video capabilities in one device, consumershave new expectations of rich media. And, with text messaging as the most usedapplication on a smartphone, savvy marketers must lead with a mobile-firstmindset. Incorporating mobile messaging as part of an integrated marketingstrategy to deliver compelling content, to effectively reach consumers,differentiate from competitors and achieve better return on investment on themarketing spend.
By taking advantage of richmedia branding capabilities offered through multimedia messaging services(MMS), and reaching consumers through technology that is part of their everydaylife, marketers have the opportunity to go beyond the unopened emails andsimple SMS text messages to fully branded marketing and digital storytelling,moving users through the marketing and purchase process and motivatingconsumers to act. Forrester Consulting notes “…rich digital media is not just atrend; it’s the future of advertising. Agencies leveraging innovative designtools and technology have proven their effectiveness in driving higherengagement online in a cluttered web environment.”5
How Mobile Marketing Compares to theTraditional Marketing Mix
With high open rates andquick read time, mobile messaging is the most powerful communication toolavailable to marketers. With 73 percent of cell phone users sending andreceiving text messages6, it is the world’s largest social network,connecting consumers with friends and brands. Other mediums such as email and apps continue to have a place in themarketing mix, but there are known limitations that inhibit their overallreturn on investment.
In email marketing, it isstandard practice for spam filters to delay delivery or prevent content frombeing visible. Users often have to return to their home or office to respond appropriatelyto an email, elongating the time between read and receipt and action. This alsoincreases the likelihood of a message being forgotten, resulting in potentiallost ROI.
Many individuals also havemultiple email accounts, increasing the odds of marketing emails being lost oroverlooked as inbox fatigue sets in. Excessive marketing messages that do notadd value with every interaction quickly become “white noise,” limiting thereturn on marketing dollar investment.
In 2010, the Direct MarketingAssociation found clickthrough rates (CTRs) and conversion rates for textmessaging was much higher than rates for e-mail. The average CTR for textmessaging is 14.06%, with an average conversion rate of 8.22%. E-mail brings inan average CTR of 6.64% and an average conversion rate of about 1.73%.7
Conversely, mobile phoneusers typically have one phone number, and tend to retain the same number evenas they switch providers or move to new cities or states, maintaining aconsistent point of contact. Mobile users must give their permission to receivecontent from message marketing and once they have opted in, they are selectiveabout which messages they care to receive on their mobile device. As a result,they’re more likely to open and read messages from those they’ve givenpermission to, opening the door for engaging marketing opportunities among brand fans.
Marketers can also choosefrom additional technologies for connecting with consumers, such asproduct-specific apps, but these too have inherent limitations. As Pew ResearchCenter found, 68 percent of smartphone users only use five or fewer apps atleast once a week.8
Apps require consumers tohave a smartphone, an operating system and access to WIFI or data to use.Currently only 50.4% of Americans own app-friendly smartphones.9 Inaddition, with Apple’s iOS and Android splitting the U.S. market share, brandsoften have to build two versions of each app to create the widest usageopportunity within this limited market.
Apps are costly because developmentrequires thousands of dollars, in addition to the marketing costs associatedwith the promotion of the app. With an average of 2,000 apps entering the marketplaceevery day10 the app marketplace is increasingly crowded, requiringadditional marketing spend to drive awareness, downloads and ongoing updates tomaintain repeat usage.
The consistent usage of allapps is unlikely for most people, with the exception of utility and social networkingapps. However, these are typically useda few times, and then ignored as consumers lose interest and move onto anotherapp, repeating the cycle. With theselimitations to apps, brands must absorb the cost of app development and promotionas well as the responsibility of setting accurate metrics and analyzing usage rates before recognizing a strong rate of return onapps.
Even as carriers adjust dataplans, such as the 2012 introduction of Verizon’s “Share Everything” andAT&T’s Mobile Share plans, SMS/MMS marketing programs are positivelyaffected. Why? All carriers categorize SMS/MMS content asmessaging – regardless of rich media MMS or plain text SMS, which means thatconsumers receiving content via MMS and/or standard text messaging do not incurdata charges for this usage.
In the past, consumerstraditionally reduced cell phone services to save money on their monthlystatement, but most of the new plans are designed to accommodate unlimitedvoice minutes and text messaging – a boon for marketers that interact withmobile-enabled customers via text message marketing.
Redefining the Mobile Messaging Experience withMultimedia
SMS text messaging is used by73 percent of American cell phone users and is accessible across all types ofmobile phones.11 As mentioned earlier, with new rich mediaexpectations possible with video, images and audio, consumers are craving morethan a flat, text-based experience. Multimedia text messaging (MMS), is redefiningthe text message experience, enabling marketers to take advantage of a widerange of rich media tools to meet marketing goals and extend customerrelationships.
MMS messaging is enabled onvirtually all of the same phones that have SMS enabled as well, but MMS is ableto offer a combination of video, graphics, audio, and text to activate thesenses and deliver a more visual, highly branded and compelling experience. Inaddition to fostering deeper engagement through appealing content and consumerfirst offers, MMS provides the ability for brands to showcase their creativeassets through high-resolution images, videos, audio, flipbooks and more.
National fashion retailer,Charlotte Russe, successfully uses MMS to show off the brand’s latest clothingand accessory line and drive immediate sales and more in store traffic.
Hundreds of thousands ofshoppers have opted-in to receive the retailer’s promotions such as mobilecoupons redeemable at the point of purchase (in-store and online). The companynotes that using MMS, as opposed to their basic SMS campaigns, resulted in 300percent higher participation.
One reason why MMS has moremarketing power than traditional SMS is because SMS is limited to 160characters of plain text, and 30 percent of that is needed for required legalstatements (i.e. Reply HELP for Help, STOP to stop). This results in less “realestate” for branding and creative.
MMS, on the other hand,offers what today’s customers want and expect, a richer experience featuringhigh quality video or imagery coupled with descriptive text. By using these tools,brands instantly provide their audience with a better customer experienceby giving them a way to connectdirectly with the product or brand offering.
Additionally, with characterlimitations, marketers frequently have to sacrifice proper punctuation andspelling when creating SMS message campaigns. These limitations weaken brandimage and marketing impact as well as diminish the essence of the message.
Text messaging shorthandmight be fine for letting the kids know you’ll pick them up at school, but formarketers, it appears sloppy and disjointed from an otherwise carefullycultivated image. MMS messaging has broader capabilities and allowsalphanumeric characters, proper punctuation as well as international textcharacters in addition to video and image capabilities. The combination of textand imagery allows customers to connect to a product and they are more likelyto act upon a purchase or to learn more.
MMS is the mobile marketingtool that generates more opens, inbound mobile web traffic, and sales comparedto any other communication medium used today. Organizations that have not yetexplored text messaging, as part of their marketing initiatives shouldintegrate mobile messaging into their multichannel marketing plans and takeadvantage of more creative, compelling content and to drive a better return onmarketing investment.
Why MMS Messaging
The future is certainlybright for mobile and for marketers who deliver image-based campaigns toconsumers. After all, if visual content weren’t so compelling, the entire Weband mobile experience would remain text-based.
So how does multimediamessage marketing increase engagement, build brand awareness, drive sales andoptimize marketing investments?
MMS Messaging empowers socialsharing –Marketers that deliver compelling offers incentivizing users to opt-in for atext message marketing campaign will obtain subscribers who want to receivevaluable and relevant content. As a result, they are more likely to share thesepromotions with their friends through word of mouth, forwarding of messages andsocial sharing. Including multimedia at the start of a program increases theappeal to target audiences to drive higher database growth, equating topotentially higher actions by participants. When a hit television show gearedto teens launched a MMS campaign promising weekly video sneak peeks of theshow, the company built a six-figure database and increased show audienceengagement by 10 percent.
MMS content is the mostaccessible for consumers – Neither SMS nor MMS require a user to download an app. It is aubiquitous medium, a feature available on 97% of all U.S. cell phones thatconsumers are already using in their daily lives. Anyone, from teens toseniors, who is sending or receiving photos or videos via their mobile phone,is already using MMS technology. This eliminates the need for a consumerlearning curve or more importantly, behavior modification. And, as carriers donot distinguish between SMS and MMS, so there are no additional charges for endusers with messaging plans to receive a fully-branded, multimedia-rich textmessage marketing message unless they click a link within the message or goover their monthly allotment of messages.
MMS delivers content all atonce – With MMS, marketersdeliver a complete package – information and multimedia, allowing consumers toconsider or act upon the information sent without additional clicks to a thirdparty website. This is key for marketerswho may not have a strong mobile website or for consumers who may live withinregions where wireless coverage is less than ideal. MMS eliminates the need forconsumers to take multiple steps to finalize an action, another boon formarketers who see drop off in conversion increasing with every new step theconsumer is forced to take.
MMS increasesredemption/response rates – Delivering timely content via MMS that resonates with the buyingaudience such as a promotional coupon featuring a product, service orinteractive contest is more likely to elicit a response. Think about the consumer experience and useincentives to activate your audience. A successful campaign may request anaction from the consumers (such as take and text in a photo of themselves andyour product, using the device always at their side), driving participation atthe convenience of consumer.
MMS leverages a target-richenvironment – PerCTIA and MMA guidelines13 , SMS and MMS require a permissions-basedapproach, which ensures the audience is receptive to receiving marketingmessages. The subscribers are fans and because of being opt-in campaigns,marketers can ask additional information to gain better insight into the targetconsumer allowing them to deliver content that is relevant and valuable. Already featuring a higher clickthrough andconversion rate, text message marketing boasts 98% open rate14,compared to a 20.1% open rate for email.15
MMS creates a completelybranded experience –Whether it’s a logo or video featuring a spokesperson, MMS can deliver a fullybranded mobile experience. Including a retailer’s look book of upcomingclothing lines or interviews with designers that discuss how you can wear thelook while also sending a coupon drives sales. Through storytelling, a brandbecomes more valuable to the consumer, increasing the likelihood of purchaseand deepening the consumer’s relationship with the brand.
MMS engages in two-waycommunication –Multimedia messaging can be out-bound (MT – mobile terminated), with brands pushingcontent to consumers, but they can also be in-bound (MO – mobile originated),where consumers can participate and send in content. Trivia contests and inbound photo campaignsare a perfect example of MO interactions. By using MMS, marketers enableconsumers to play a role in marketing activities and participate in the brand experience.The participation continues to deepen the consumer’s brand loyalty.
MMS builds a valuabledatabase – Formobile marketers, promotion is key to driving database opt-ins. Inclusion inadvertising, press releases, blog posts, promotion across social channels,website registration and on-site signage drives mobile database subscriptions.The size of the database and quality of the subscribers allows marketers tocommunicate and retarget their database knowing that the subscribers expressedthe interest.
MMS maximizes an existingdatabase –Companies already using SMS can easily activate their database, upgrade offeringsand market more compelling content to its subscribers with MMS. While SMS andMMS are both permission-based communication17 marketers do not need addedauthority to upgrade messaging content from SMS to MMS, they can simplyincluding multimedia within each sent message. Because mobile databases must bebuilt – not bought – this provides a competitive advantage for organizationsthat can re-energize their currentsubscriber base for new opportunities.
MMS messaging drives results – As mobile marketing evolves into the mainpoint of interaction between a brand and customer, it is important formarketers to understand how mobile messaging drives current and potentialcustomers through the marketing funnel.
Through programs that engagethe customer using a tool that is has become indispensible to the end user,mobile marketers are in the unique position of being able to drive immediateaction, driving the customer through the marketing funnel.
The Customer Journey Through the MarketingFunnel via MMS Marketing
When designing your mobilemarketing strategy, be mindful of the customer’s position within the stagesknown as the “marketing funnel”:
For many marketers, the firststep of the customer journey through the marketing funnel is raising awarenessabout a brand or product within core and secondary target audiences. For mobile marketers, on-site signagefeaturing a compelling offer to drive subscriptions combined with multimediarich response messages utilizing video, photos and slideshows that highlightthe brand’s offer and products, are often the first step to raising awareness.
A key step for marketers,this is the phase in which the consumer is aware of a product or service, and is considering purchase. Formobile marketers, this stage is often the determining factor of whether acustomer is going to continue to engage with a brand via mobile messaging ornot. Mobile marketers must be creative in this phase of the engagement andprovide compelling reasons for recipients to want to continue to learn more abouttheir products or services. Marketers should incorporate videos, images andbranded content to enhance the customer’s brand and/or product considerationexperience.
Mobile messaging is a highlyresponsive medium. A crucial step for every marketer is designing andmaximizing the engagement portion of the program. Whether it is growing opt-insto the mobile database or encouraging immediate online/in-store sales with atime sensitive offer combined with a mobile coupon, engagement is aboutencouraging the consumer to take a desired action. Metrics obtained from MMSmessaging provides a wide range of data to help marketers initiate heightenedengagement through customized offerings. For example, mobile databases can be segmented by geographic region,handset and/or by carrier, allowing customization of content and offerings, providingmarketers the ability to customize content and offerings for each consumer.
Mobile marketers ultimatelystrive for customer advocacy. A compelling offer or engagement program can beforwarded and shared with friends and family. A MMS campaign with socialintegration allows brand fans to share the text message offer across theirsocial channels, increasing awareness, participation and viral impressions.Mobile marketers that empower its audience to become brand advocates will onlyincrease their reach by participating in the world’s largest network.
One of the most importantpieces of any marketing program is fan retention, critical for remarketing andadditional sales. Through effective engagement, including a compelling “reward”for actions taken, a brand can maintain their customers for future retargeting efforts.Often these rewards feature exclusive content or customized content based onpreviously gathered data.
4 Best Practices in Implementing MMS to get youstarted
For marketers with a CRMapproach for text message marketing, similar to the process growing emaildatabases, building a mobile messaging subscriber list is an evolutionaryprocess.
How can you create abest-in-class integrated marketing program?
1. Be meaningful - Delivering meaningful and valuable content isthe cornerstone of a long-lasting customer relationship, so organizationsshould be mindful of content quality and frequency. Mobile devices are personaland successful marketers need to be careful not to abuse the relationship. Whenit comes to mobile messaging, a lighter touch helps retain the customer base.Retailers who share creative messaging and offers with their customers every7-10 days receive higher engagement and lower opt-out messaging than retailerssharing offers every day. While a strategic plan for messaging frequency isimportant, content is king in mobile marketing. Even though mobile can be usedto distribute existing content, invest in creating customized content forconsumers, rather than repurposing something that could be found on the companywebsite or other social channels.
2. Be Specific - Utilize clear call to actions to attract and activate customers.Terminology such as: “Receive an exclusive mobile offer by texting in…” and theinclusion of links to purchase or to a social sharing page, drives immediateaction on mobile phones.
3. Create a personal experience - Using MMS allows marketers to collect valuabledata. With access to better data, marketers can use information to create acustomized experience to produce higher ROI. Select a partner who can capturethe required data and act upon it, optimizing video content for each uniquehandset the mobile subscriber is using. The data captured using MMS is reportedwith the subscribers’ mobile phone model, carrier, operating system, socialmedia clickthroughs and area code. By asking customers for additional data,such as zip codes, brands are able to match the mobile database with otherinternal databases, providing an even better experience. With datacollaboration and careful analysis, companies should utilize this data totailor upcoming mobile messaging and marketing campaigns to match all orsegments of a database, expanding relationships and driving loyalty among brandconsumers.
Knowing where customers are located allows brands to geo-targettheir marketing efforts, making it possible for marketers to deliver location-basedmessaging such as a local store offering a special on merchandise. For example,by knowing which operating system customers are using, marketers can promoteapps built for a specific operating system whether it’s Android or iOS.Information about the carrier can create opportunities for additional revenueby including carrier-specific advertising as part of content delivery.
4. Define metrics - To truly be successful in text messagemarketing there must be clearly defined success metrics set at the beginning ofthe program and a commitment to refine campaigns and adjust creative or copy toimprove results. Traditional text message marketing metrics include databasegrowth, campaign promotion, opt-in and opt-out rates, redemption and click-throughrates as well as social media impressions. Companies that assign unique textmessage-specific codes to campaigns can accurately track campaigns and gainvisibility into response rates, allowing them to make adjustments to furthercampaign success.
Whenanalyzing a campaigns’ metrics to determine if modifications are needed,several common questions should be asked: What content and offers produce thehighest response from one’s subscribers? Is there a particular day or timerange that drives the most responses? Once there is enough statistical data tomake overall program changes, marketers can easily change out copy and creativewithin a matter of minutes.
Empowering the consumer to bean active participant in the brand experience delivers rich returns onmarketing spend. Using mobile to promote company offers increases subscribers’participation, building excitement and a relationship with the products andbrand. Through MMS, videos and messages are given a longer shelf life,especially when recipients forward MMS messages to their friends and acrosssocial media channels.
Selecting the right messagingprovider who understands how to build an MMS subscriber list and best practicesin various industries is crucial. Companies and marketers should seek aprovider who offers scalability in both SMS and MMS delivery as well as arecord of successful MMS programs. It iscritical that the vendor has the expertise and technology in-house to deliverhigh quality video across all types of phones and carriers to communicate withthe highest number of consumers.
One of the key requirements for a strong MMSprogram is a partner who is able to transcode multimedia optimized for everyphone and carrier. Video quality, forexample, differs greatly across all carriers. Verizon customers see a differentversion of video than Sprint users. Smart marketers will find a vendor who thinks of the customer experiencefirst, owns the technology necessary to showcase a brand’s creative at thehighest quality available.
Go Mobile or Go Home
MMS text messaging keeps marketersin touch with consumers and ensure each customer receive value with every textmessage sent. A successful MMS marketing plan can produce a variety of resultsincluding increased customer loyalty, brand awareness and in-store/web traffic(and sales).
Savvy marketers arecapitalizing on the widespread use of multimedia on mobile phones to reachconsumers in innovative and effective ways. By adding content rich MMS mobilemessaging into the marketing mix, companies can give their marketing plan anedge, engages their targeted audience and optimize relationships.
Today’s consumers are moreaccustomed to marketing and advertising within their daily lives, so they havestarted ignoring traditional marketing and only accepting marketing contentthat is relevant, convenient, and valuable. MMS text messaging exceeds thoseexpectations while also delivering a competitive advantage through higher andmeasurable ROI and the best customer experience possible.
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Founded in 2006, Mogreet is the leading text (SMS/MMS)messaging platform for the delivery of rich media and video to mobile phones, deliveringover 70% of all commercial MMS messages in the United States. The company workswith leading marketers in retail, entertainment, media and consumer products aswell as empowering developers with Mogreet mobile APIs. Currently supported inover 175 countries, Mogreet’s platform can reach 2 billion consumers globally.The company has raised $14.1 million in venture capital from Ascend VentureGroup, Black Diamond Ventures, Bryant Park Ventures and DFJ Frontier. Mogreetis headquartered in Venice, California.
Contact us at [email protected] or 310.566.0713with any inquiries