The common adage, “Out with the old and in with the new” definitely rings true for SMS message marketing in 2013. This has been a year of significant changes in regulations and procedures for mobile marketers who use texts as part of their efforts. Unfortunately, many marketers have employed illegal tactics while marketing their products and services by sending unsolicited SPAM texts to consumers. Obviously, this can cause great distress to consumers as it is clearly a breach of their privacy.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act has been updated and now contains new guidelines for more ethical marketing practices that ban the use of such spam. These new regulations will require marketers to first obtain written consent in order to advertise goods and services via text messaging. The marketers’ non-compliance with the new laws will inevitably result in legal repercussions, so it is extremely important for trust to be built with the consumer and for privacy to be respected at all times.
On a similar note, US carriers have decided to kill premium sms service, consumers are now exempt from unwanted messages and charges from “premium” messaging services offered by service providers. An example of this new regulation is outlined on the official site at Verizon.com. According to Verizon’s guidelines, third party messages will no longer be recognized or billed. Only political organizations and charities will be eligible for inclusion in Verizon’s premium billing system. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also continued its war on text message or SMS spamming. The FTC’s official site reports of a recent case where 42.5 million bogus texts were delivered to consumers. These texts falsely gathered personal information from consumers by promising free gift cards to new subscribers. Thankfully, the FTC successfully handled the case by bringing justice to those affected.
The year 2013 also introduced a messaging trend that eliminates the need for standard SMS messaging services. Other chat applications have essentially caused traditional SMS messaging to become obsolete. In 2012 these new applications hosted a total of 19 billion messages per day according to SmartPlanet. Parmy Olson, staff contributor at Forbes, explains that major messaging platform applications, such as WhatsApp, are harming cell phone carriers since these messaging services are offered free of charge. This eliminates the need for the SMS messaging fees required by cellular service providers, which could greatly impact the revenue of wireless carriers.
As for other notable news, the massive corporation, Velti, has sold out and is now bankrupt. Jim Edwards of BusinessInsider explores the reasons for the company’s abrupt demise. He cites risky investments and lack of proper collection procedures as huge factors that contributed to Velti’s rapid financial deterioration. Velti is living proof that, regardless of a corporation’s financial capital, extreme caution should be taken with every investment opportunity.
The year 2013 also marked the 10th anniversary of picture messaging. As reported on News.com.au, picture messaging has dramatically increased in popularity since its introduction in 2003, and people have learned to appreciate the value of attaching a visual representation to their texts. This is excellent news for marketers since consumers are able to effectively share products with one another through a more memorable method of advertising.
After all, as they say, a picture is, indeed, “worth a thousand words.”
Finally, there is yet another media marketing tool that has experienced enormous growth in popularity this year — mobile coupons. eMarketer reports that in 2012 approximately 92.5 million individuals in the U.S. had used electronic coupons. eMarketer attributes this success to the suppressed economy and the growing popularity of accessing coupons through a mobile device. Coupons typically carry a positive connotation as opposed to hundreds of marketing emails and text messages.
Hopefully, people will continue to realize the financial perks of such a money-saving method, and marketers can therefore better serve their consumers by offering something of tangible value.
Indeed, 2013 was a pivotal year for SMS marketers, and it is truly shocking to witness such rapid technological advancement. However, SMS messaging can remain a successful marketing method as long as marketers continue to compete by effectively meeting the needs of a changing population.