SMS even more important for business - Clickatell, Top Marketer survey

Ubiquitous availability, immediacy and ease of use feature high up in the list of reasons why Short Messaging Services (SMS) are so important for businesses to get right. The findings come from a report by global mobile message carrier Clickatell, and by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. Their strategic text messaging survey highlights corporate messaging trends across new devices, gateways and applications.

Key Findings

The survey findings indicate that Short Message Service (SMS) mobile text messaging has blossomed into a critical mechanism enabling enterprises and governments to instantly send urgent alerts and notifications to support customer service, marketing, emergency management, and other time-critical business functions. Further, half of the companies surveyed expect to increase their usage of SMS in the coming year due to the immediacy, mobility, and affordability that the medium offers.

Four hundred and fifty professionals worldwide responded to Clickatell's commissioned study, which was conducted by the CMO Council (a global affinity group of senior marketing executives and brand decision makers) and the Forum for the Advancement of the Mobile Experience (FAME). Respondents, who include a mix of Clickatell customers and non-customers with job functions from operations to marketing to IT, represent a wide range of industries and global regions interested in the advancement of text messaging.

Key findings may be summarised:

  • An overwhelming majority consider text messaging to be a key means to send alerts and notifications (83%);
  • More than seven out of ten respondents said they have used text messaging for business purposes;
  • Of these, more than a third said they used it primarily for customer service and support. Marketing and emergency management uses followed closely behind; and
  • More than a third of respondents (36%) said they would increase their usage from the previous year.

"The survey reinforces market intelligence indicating that text messaging has become a critical means for enterprises and government organisations to quickly connect with targeted local, regional and even global audiences," said Pieter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell. "Real-time delivery, wide geographic coverage, ease of use and a robust, secure and reliable message delivery gateway are helping enterprises and government organisations to instantly reach people on the move through the use of relevant, well-timed and targeted alerts and notifications."

The industries that respondents said would derive the most value from text messaging include: Telecommunications (58%); Information Technology (56%); Media & Entertainment (48%); Emergency Services (45%); Financial Services (42%); Travel & Lodging (40%); Healthcare (35%); and Transportation (33%). Respondents stated that since these industries depend on real-time communication, a text message sent to a mobile device is often sufficient to communicate required information either in the form of an alert, notification or message.

Alerting the masses - instantly

Respondents also said the top three things they like best about text messaging are its immediacy (79%), ability to communicate to people on the move (66%), and low cost (60%).

The most practical uses for incorporating text messaging into business practices included notification of essential services (65%) and emergency services (56%).

Global differences in connecting with customers

Professionals from Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America all consistently ranked customer service and support as the top business function that can benefit most from the use of text messaging. In Europe and North America participants said that business continuity was the next business function that stood to gain the most from expanded use of text messaging, while respondents in Asia-Pacific selected marketing programmes.

In both Europe and North America respondents agreed that the greatest value and ROI of using text messaging was the creation of more satisfied and loyal customers, whereas in Asia, operational efficiencies were cited as bringing the greatest value and ROI to the enterprise.

In all three markets, respondents viewed the integration of text messaging as a way for enterprises to communicate with customers about monthly billing, prices, product, availability, repairs, services, and other functional alerts.

* Clickatell is a mobile messaging provider on the Web, with over 6,000 customers in over 180 countries. Clickatell's corporate messaging solutions offer businesses end-to-end and multimodal messaging platforms.

For more information or a copy of the full survey report, visit:

These findings are consistent with other industry data that shows how rapidly growing text messaging is: it is expected to be a US$50 billion market by 2010, according to Portio Research. IDC reports that text messaging traffic will blaze the wireless messaging trail for the United States and will soar to 47 billion messages per year globally by 2008.

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