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SMS is most direct way to connect with target audience

By Michael Foschetti

There are nearly 3 billion mobile phones worldwide, compared to 1.5 billion televisions and 1.1 billion PCs, clearly demonstrating that mobile is a much more efficient means of reaching a global audience.

And if you're trying to reach 200 people in Hempstead, N.Y., the personal, one-to-one engagement of mobile messaging is much more effective and targeted than a TV commercial.

The reach, ubiquity and efficiency of mobile messaging combine to make it the killer app.

More than 350 billion text messages were sent in 2007 and over two-thirds of those messages were sent by adults 25 or older, proving that the stereotype that text messaging only applies to adolescents is not entirely accurate.

The mobile channel gives brands the ability to have a conversation with their customers, while a broadcast television commercial speaks to the customer and is easily tuned out or skipped with DVR.

Mobile allows the consumer to interact with the brand, building that often desired, but rarely found, two-way relationship.

Mobile messaging is the most direct way to connect with a target audience.

The combination of consumers choosing to opt-in, the personal nature of the mobile channel and relevant messages have led to higher engagement rates, response, and ROI compared to other advertising categories.

Average response rates for mobile campaigns reach up to 15 percent compared to a meager one percent or less for traditional direct marketing.

Mobile has also found success with integration into traditional media.

A simple print ad with a phone number and URL in the footer often becomes significantly more enticing to customers when it also requests a text message to a short code.

In this way, mobile has given the consumer another avenue to interact with a brand, when it's more convenient for them.

The single greatest benefit of mobile messaging, however, is simply its immediacy.

There is little or no delay between a company's published message and its audience receiving it.

On-the-go services are in high demand, and alerts and time-sensitive mobile coupons capitalize on this.

The ability to distribute an ad to customers and immediately influence their actions has never been available before.

Another advantage of the mobile channel is highly specific data about a brand's customers.

What region or city did your mobile campaign do particularly well in?

What advanced campaigns can you run in those mobile-friendly areas?

What engagement rate did you succeed in obtaining?

The direct response element of the mobile environment allows these questions to be answered faster than ever before.

Data and analytics can place relevant offers in front of particularly receptive consumers.

There is no greater mobile mechanism available today to marketers than simple messaging.

Michael Foschetti is managing director of mobile marketing agency Mobisix, Charlotte, NC. Reach him at