MMA Best Practices for Mobile

Dave LawsonThese days, most brands and verticals are finding ways to truly transform the way they communicate with their consumer-base and operate their business with mobility and mobile marketing
While this is a relatively new endeavor for most, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and its member companies have consistently made efforts over the years to define and maximize the effects mobile marketing for consumers and brands that need to reach out to them.
In March, the MMA Consumer Best Practices Committee released its most recent version of its guidelines for cross-carrier mobile content services (aka mobile marketing to most of the US mobile subscribers brands desire). This document can speed results for practitioners wishing to access the benefits of mobile conversations with consumers. It will also help to navigate the often confusing landscape of all-important carrier regulations and requirements.

This release represents a step forward in clarity in what can be a confusing landscape to navigate. But for many marketers, it can still be easy to get tripped up on the “dos and don’ts” of the mobile space. Depending on the business you are in, there are specific degrees of compliance you should be looking to deliver. For example, your local taqueria delivering a coupon for a free churro is subject to the same rules as the pharmaceutical company that is supporting your adherence to the diabetes treatment (the one that allows you to eat that free churro). However, due to industry-specific precedent, the pharma company should have spent 10-20 times more consideration in planning for the implications of the SMS communications they deliver to each participant on a weekly basis. With ROI goals that scale accordingly, time spent planning for SMS campaign compliance is certainly a worthy investment for both enterprises – likely with great ROI and great consumer experiences from each program, but for much different purposes.

One of the more interesting updates to be made involves the migration of program participants from one code to another. What is even more clear is that the novice desire to “buy a list” to blast SMS messages to is not an accepted practice. Don’t do that. There is a clear protocol for changing the short code or long code that a consumer receives messaging from. This doesn’t mean numbers can be bought and sold, but it does facilitate lower “switching costs” for early SMS participants who continue to define the market but are stuck with an approach they realize now doesn’t meet their enterprise needs for sophistication and ROI across their multiple touch points.

For those in mobile marketing, much of the basics of the original charter for the consumer best practices still hold true. Use them as a solid base to begin any thinking within the mobile marketing space.

  1. Allow your consumer base to make an informed decision about participating in your mobile experience.
  2. Facilitate opt-ins in whatever way is most appropriate. This doesn’t mean just choosing between single vs. double opt-ins. It also refers to the mechanics of the process (including email, IVR, in-person, worksheets, web forms, etc.). Always make opting out an option.
  3. It is your responsibility as a mobile marketer to thoughtfully and respectfully use the best technology, strategy, and customer information you collect from interactions to provide value and a compelling experience for the end-user.
  4. Similarly, as a service provider or brand, you need to protect that customer information on many levels, including your process, your technology (both virtual and physical environment) and your administration/handling of that data.
  5. Own and respect the mobile experience to raise the collective value of mobile marketing. We’re all in an ecosystem here and, good or bad, we’re creating a market.

Adopting these as core values – digging deeper into carrier- and industry-specific rules and regulations (plus choosing a partner committed to staying on top of the fast-changing landscape – should keep you well on the worry-free path to mobile success.

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