American Marketer


SMS bridges online and offline worlds

June 29, 2012

Kalin Kassabov is cofounder/CEO of ProTexting


By Kalin Kassabov
How do we connect the Internet with the real world? Every day marketers ask themselves this question. Sometimes it seems as though the online world and the real world are two separate places and two separate states of mind.
There has to be a bridge between what you see online and in your everyday life. Marketers are in the perfect position to help their clients get the best of both worlds: online and offline.

We have all heard that everyone is moving to mobile. Everything is going mobile: mobile payments, everything in the cloud, and rich media. More than ever, people will access the Internet through a smartphone.

Numbers speak volumes

Morgan Stanley research estimates sales of smartphones will exceed those of PCs in 2012. Gartner expects more than 500 million smartphones to sell in 2012.

Whether the analysts are precisely on target is not the point. One thing is certain: The number of consumers using smartphones will increase and this presents a powerful call to action for marketers to add SMS to their overall marketing mix.

We have also heard that a mobile phone is constantly used by its owner to access the Internet and social sites.

Mobile social networking is surging. So it is not surprising at all to learn that a majority of mobile users are spending vast amounts of time accessing their social media.

According to comScore MobiLens, 55 percent of all Twitter traffic and 45 percent of all Facebook traffic is from mobile users.

Data from comScore also predicts that smartphones will play an even larger role in people’s lives. It is not only that smartphone users are accessing their social sites – more than one half are doing so on a daily basis, and these numbers are likely to increase.

Let us never forget the power of texting. People are texting more than ever regardless of what type of phone they have. And even with smartphones, texting is still the No. 1 activity because of its easy user interface.

Many mobile marketing platforms give you the ability to do much more than to send group text messages. You can create mobile contests, voting campaigns, coupon programs and much more.

Clip of growth

A major trend right now in mobile couponing requires active customer engagement.

Mobile coupons are one of the most used mobile marketing tactics to drive sales and push participation, from application downloads and traffic to mobile Web sources. QR codes, in particular, have reported growth at 63 percent during the past year.

Smartphones are now our most trusted and loyal shopping companions. Engaging consumers through mobile coupons continues to be undergoing major growth.

In terms of how large the coupon marketing space is, estimates for total market sales vary around $8 billion, according to Juniper Research.

Other than pure SMS coupons, the trend now is integration with point-of-sale systems, and other redemption methods online via mobile Web.

The rise of the mobile Web means marketers must constantly reinvent new ways to get people to the Web by first engaging them on the phone.

Marketers need to develop good messages that are in direct response to a consumer’s primary needs and interests.

It is important for marketers to know that the text messages they are sending must clearly communicate the very essence of the brand and they must be sent at the right time. The consumer must instantly recognize the brand, its message and its value.

The hottest topic now is the mobile wallet, and I am sure that there will be a very convenient integration with mobile coupons and immediate payment through the mobile wallet which will be heaven for brands and marketers.

In terms of being a booming business, mobile marketing is here to stay and is growing. How are you integrating SMS into your overall marketing mix for your own business and for your clients?

I SPEND A LOT of time staying current on best practice and on the latest mobile trends, technology, people, ideas and innovations. I find that the changes taking place on a daily basis are exciting to manage and I often envision what is around the next corner.

Consumers are changing the way they communicate, share information and, ultimately, the manner and method in which they buy and consume products.

Of one thing I am certain: you need to be thinking about creating the right SMS fit for your customers and clients so they gain easy access to this essential bridge between the online and offline world.

Kalin Kassabov is cofounder/CEO of ProTexting, New York. Reach him at