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CTIA offers short codes for brands to engage consumers across Latin America

With the recent launch of the Latin America common short code initiative, enterprises, small businesses and brand marketers can now reach more than 500 million mobile subscribers in that region via SMS.

This new initiative, conceived and administered by CTIA-The Wireless Association, uses Syniverse Technologies as the power behind the Web-based registry platform, which is fully supported by the major regional wireless carriers. Registration applications are now being accepted for both standard and custom short codes capable of connecting their owners to nearly all mobile subscribers in almost two dozen Latin American countries.

Mobile Marketer?s Dan Butcher interviewed Janet Roberts, senior vice president of marketing at Syniverse, Atlanta. Here is what she had to say:

What is the strategy behind the partnership between Syniverse and CTIA for the launch of Latin American short codes?
Common short codes, or CSCs, were developed to provide an easier way for brands to take advantage of the growing popularity of text messaging to connect to and communicate directly with consumers, without the hassle of having separate agreements with each wireless operator in every country.

Based on CTIA?s experience launching a CSC program in the United States roughly three years ago, the organization decided to roll out a similar initiative in Latin America.

Syniverse?s connectivity, expertise and local presence in Latin America made our company the ideal partner for such an undertaking.

What opportunities exist for North American companies via text messaging in this newly ?opened? region?
Prior to the implementation of the CSC initiative, a company anywhere in the world that wished to communicate with its stakeholders in the Latin America region via SMS would have to undergo the tedious process of making management of separate short code agreements with each mobile operator in every country, making the management a comprehensive campaign in the region a very costly and time consuming process.

The CSC registry allows these companies to simply visit the Web site to register a single code that will cost effectively reach the more than 500 million subscribers of participating Latin American operators.

As a result, brands are able to establish a more personal connection with key stakeholders in the region.

How can SMS be leveraged to enhance a multichannel or traditional advertising/marketing campaign?
By adding a mobile component to an existing campaign, marketers can reach consumers through the same channel they choose to communicate and chat with each other in, adding personalization to a mass-targeted campaign.

SMS is the perfect vehicle for this type of engagement because 96 percent of all mobile phones in the region support SMS?a much higher reach than mobile Web-based marketing tactics or applications that require participants to have a smartphone.

The ability to cost-effectively reach large numbers of consumers also can help significantly improve advertising return on investment.

What are some best practices for formulating a short code-based call to action?
Optimal engagement between an enterprise brand and its consumers is best achieved by facilitating two-way communications.

In other words, brands must not only send messages, but they also must allow consumers to reach out to them, effectively joining the conversation with their brands of choice.

Brands that allow mobile users to connect with them proactively are able to target their marketing resources directly to the consumers who are most interested in their messages.

Moreover, communicating with users who have opted in allows enterprises to tailor communications to individuals based on their interests and preferences.

Having an extremely easy-to-use interface such as SMS also helps increase response rates. 

According to industry sources, mobile marketing enjoys a 15 percent response rate, compared to 2.6 percent for traditional direct marketing vehicles.

Some examples of multiple successful CSC use cases in the United States that could be easily replicated in Latin America include instant voting contests for television shows, couponing and daily deal alerts, food delivery orders, information, alerts and the option to download content for political campaigns, crime tip reporting, access to telephone directory information, movie information specific to a ZIP code, sports fan alerts such as score updates and search results.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Marketer