By Heidi Tolliver Nigro
Is Text Messaging One of Your Channels?
ne of the best practices for any 1:1 printing program is integrat- • Event alerts • Fraud alert • Inventory updates
ing multiple channels, communicating with people when they • Sweepstakes • Travel updates • VIP access
want to be communicated with, how they want to be commu-
nicated with, and using the channels they prefer. Increasingly, that Earlier this year, organizers for the New York City Tea Party put these
means text messaging. Consider the following data: concepts into action. Working with JFM Concepts, they created a
campaign to generate a usable database of grass roots supporters
➜ According to ZNet Research, text messages sent to and from and volunteers and provide a simple registration platform. The cam-
mobile phones will more than double over the next five years to 2.3 paign used radio ads to drive traffic to a custom-designed landing
trillion messages by 2010. Compare this to the “mere” 936 billion page that provided information and links about the program. These
messages sent in 2005, according to Gartner. radio spots then generated hundreds of opt-ins for both the event
and e-mail, phone, SMS-text alerts regarding this event and upcom-
➜ A new Verisign report puts SMS traffic even higher. It predicts ing efforts. The data became immediately available to organizers for
that SMS traffic will reach 5.5 trillion over the next four years. It also follow-up contact.
reports that messaging from businesses increased by 115 percent
last year. One of my favorite examples comes from vROAM, an Australian
communications company that “hires out” cell phone SIM cards for
➜ According to Neilsen Wire, during the second quarter of 2008, a continued on page 12
typical U.S. mobile subscriber placed or received 204 phone calls
each month. In comparison, this same customer sent or received
357 text messages, a 450 percent increase over the number circu-
lated monthly during the same period in 2006.
➜ Not only are text messages ubiquitous and growing, but they are
read more quickly than other media. MobileStorm reports that, on
average, text messages are read within four minutes.
Of course, the importance of SMS to your 1:1 campaign will depend
on your target audience. In the 13-17 age group, the Neilsen data
indicates, the number of texts more than quadruples. It’s why, on col-
lege campuses, critical information alerts are often sent by SMS, not
by e-mail, so that they will reach the largest number of students pos-
sible. Particularly if your clients are marketing to this demographic,
SMS channels is a must.
But even among other age groups, texting is an important, even criti-
cal, component of business and marketing communication. Accord-
ing to InfoTrends, on average, consumers between the ages of 18-64
are sending anywhere from 200 to 400 text messages per month.
That’s a medium that marketers cannot afford to ignore, and they
aren’t. In some cases, in fact, SMS is expected to carry the market-
ing burden. When Fitch Ratings, a credit research firm, reported that
PRINTING NEWS, MONDAY, November 2, 2009
casino revenue has dropped 2.5 percent with no recovery in sight for
several years, mobileStorm, which offers a multichannel marketing
platform that includes text messaging, fought back. It promoted its
own research that casinos that implement mobile programs are see-
ing returns on their investment up to nearly 30 percent. Earlier this
year, it began offering a white paper on how casinos can “cash in”
on SMS text messaging in their own marketing.
Is SMS in Your Future?
SMS has become big business. If you aren’t considering it as one of
the channel options for your next 1:1 print campaign, you are over-
looking an elephant in the room. How can you use SMS text mes-
saging? In its 2008 study “Multi-Channel Communications Measure-
ment & Benchmarking,” InfoTrends cites a number of good examples
of current uses of SMS text messaging as part of a multichannel
marketing or customer loyalty program:
• Account activity alerts • Appointment reminders
• Bidding updates • Conﬁrmation • Daily news headlines
Torben Rysgaard, telecommunications Signs Now President Steve White was
vice president of and GPA’s local and appointed chief development officer.
the ECRM Polyester national distribu- White will be responsible for managing
CTP Division since tion centers. franchise development efforts for Allegra
May 2006, retired Network’s print and sign divisions. He