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SMS essential to increase customer loyalty, drive brand awareness: mBlox

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October 11, 2010

The mBlox booth at CTIA

The mBlox booth at CTIA

Aggregator and mobile transaction network mBlox Inc.’s consumer research revealed almost 90 percent of consumers prefer multichannel options for interacting with businesses, with SMS topping the list.

The survey shows that businesses should include SMS and other communication methods to reach consumers in regards to appointment reminders, payment reminders and coupons to improve customer loyalty and drive brand awareness.

Looking specifically at the role of SMS for business communications, 59 percent of British and 17 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed stated SMS as their preferred choice when being contacted about appointment reminders.

For payment reminders, such as credit card and utility bills, the consumer research showed that more than one in three consumers chose SMS as their preferred communication channel in Britain. But just one in 10 chose SMS in the U.S.

More than three-quarters of all consumers surveyed use coupons when shopping, with 29 percent of British and 15 percent of U.S. consumers having already used a mobile coupon.

Furthermore, the survey results revealed 71 percent of British and 42 percent of U.S. mobile users said they would be interested in receiving mobile coupons while they are shopping in a store to alert them to a special offer or promotion, indicating a pent up demand for these services.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Brian Johnson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at mBlox, Sunnyvale, CA. Here is what he had to say:

What is the key finding of the study?
Consumers want more choices on how they interact with businesses. Consumers want to select their preferred method of communications which increasingly includes text messaging, an option that many businesses have not made available as of yet.

Adoption of mobile services in the U.S. has lagged behind Britain and the rest of Europe in the past, and the results of this study show how SMS is more accepted by consumers in Britain, perhaps because it is already in use by many businesses.

What is the most surprising finding, and why?
For payment reminders, only one in 10 in the U.S. have selected text-message alerts as their preferred method of communication.

In Britain, this number is more than three times higher.

This is surprising, because text messaging is ideally suited for payment reminders because of the timing and relevance.

Text messages are a non-intrusive communication that is often read much more rapidly than emails, and they do not tend to get lost in the clutter of email inboxes.

Perhaps the reason that only one in 10 consumers want to use text messaging is because payment reminders are not as popular in the U.S. as of yet.

What is driving growth in the use of SMS to increase consumer loyalty and brand awareness?
In my view, the growth is being driven by success. We hear about companies that are only now beginning to experiment with SMS programs, and they are impressed with the results. Success begets success.

Furthermore, marketers are realizing that if they are able to supplement mobile applications with SMS, they can reach a far greater audience and improve the results of those who use their application with push notifications that increase loyalty and brand awareness.

What advice can you give to mobile marketers based on your findings?
The advice is simple: Let consumers choose how they want to interact with businesses, and include text messaging as one of those choices, because increasingly consumers like to use SMS.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at dan@mobilemarketer.com.

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