Tips For Choosing an SMS Mobile Vendor

Josh GordonYou are choosing a mobile marketing vendor (kindly referred to as an Application Service Provider - ASP - in Forrester Research’s recent Market Overview of SMS Mobile Campaign Vendors). It is a confusing process because there are a bunch of different companies with a bunch of different - and sometimes overlapping - capabilities. Try not to get frustrated and overwhelmed, although that is tempting. Instead, a simple breakdown of the landscape can help you not only choose the right SMS mobile partner, but it can also help you define and refine your own campaign goals.

The industry is roughly divided into three categories: agencies, software vendors, and aggregators. Some companies are a combination of those categories. While I’m biased, I also honestly believe the most effective combination in a mobile company is one that has agency capabilities and the software to deliver on agency promises.

The agency element is important, and an agency that fully understands mobile marketing is even more important. Asking a brand or media agency to cover mobile marketing is a recipe for wasted money. A strategy is what is necessary, and a mobile marketing agency can take insights gathered from many data sources (or their own data sources) and distill them into a meaningful strategy.

Here is where it is important for a mobile agency to also have its own mobile marketing software platform. Not only do they leverage insights into consumers and how mobile is a good fit, but they are also able to incorporate their own knowledge of delivery and measurability when making recommendations… two very important elements to prove ROI in a still developing marketing channel

Aggregator relationships are important, but their software sweet spot for buyers is based primarily on volume. That means message relevance, hyper-segmentation, and targeting all take a back seat to blasts. It is simply a question of how aggregators make money. An agency knows that the quickest way to turn off consumers who are subscribing to your SMS campaigns is to hit them with irrelevant and annoying communications in blast form. Mobile SMS is personal, and companies must treat the channel with its due respect. Agencies with their own mobile marketing software platform – one they built, not outsource to – understand this in both theory and practice.

Knotice is a bit unique if thinking about us as just a mobile SMS ASP in that capabilities span all of direct digital marketing… which extends to the email and Web site channels as well. The interesting thing about other companies like Knotice is to review their email capabilities as a means of advising their mobile capabilities, since the two channels share a lot in common. The greater emphasis a company has on email deliverability – and the better the scores – the more likely that same underlying emphasis can be found within the mobile execution as well.

What questions do you have about choosing the right mobile marketing partner or ASP?

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  1. Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    So which company would you recommend in the UK?

    • Posted May 12, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      The great thing about mobile marketing software is that the right partner is not necessarily in any given country. Provided the company understands the principles required for effective mobile marketing within the UK – like they are in the MMA, grasp the customs of marketing within the country, etc. – the software can be anywhere. Provided the overall goals of the mobile marketing initiative are clearly outlined, and an understanding of how mobile marketing companies are differentiated is in place, making the right vendor selection is straightforward.

  2. Posted November 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I have been looking at several text programs and the one that makes most sense was with the short code of 90210.
    I feel that number is easy to remember compared to the others. I found it at any thoughts on that.

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  1. […] Some common topics that these brands (and others) continue to debate: 1. App vs Mobile Web 2. Designing experiences for a smaller screen 3. How to make sense of a vast vendor landscape […]

  2. […] to make these tasks manageable, affordable and functional is a proper support structure. That means a mobile-savvy partner, a solid mobile strategy, and a purpose-built technology platform to support those optimized […]

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