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December 19, 2019

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Businesses Are Missing Out on the SMS Advantage

Blog  |  Product

It may be said that businesses are engaged chiefly in the eternal pursuit of advantage for the purpose of generating revenue. Whether by the development of some superior product or service, the acquisition of seasoned talent, the economizing of a particular operational process, or the broadening or narrowing of market segmentation, companies seek leverage wherever it may be obtained.

Nevertheless, advantage is not so easily manufactured. Nor is it something that is wont to arise organically. It is hard earned; no matter how facile the method of obtainment may seem.

I contend that one of the great follies in the pursuit of advantage is to “think big.” Indeed, perhaps intoxicated by the promise of online virality, many organizations seem far more intent on setting new trends and identifying the next Baby YodaPokemon Go, or fidget spinner than listening to what their customers are actually asking for.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place for grandiose, big-picture thinking. And it is certainly in the best interest of organizations to keep a finger on the pulse of culture. However, while the visibility earned by successfully latching on to a viral meme, or otherwise creating such a wave, is not completely illusory, it is, at any rate, transient. Any advantage won on the back of an OK Boomer moment is bound to evaporate.

Thus, a word of caution: do not miss the forest for the trees!

There appears to be a growing disconnect between businesses and their consumers as it relates to short message service (SMS) marketing. A recent report from the company EZ Texting found that, while a whopping 54% of consumers say they would like to receive promotions via text messages, only a paltry 11% of businesses oblige.

The report – Text Communication: The Next Generation of Business Communication – found that some 69% of consumers across all age groups, as well as a staggering 75% under the age of 44, want the ability to contact businesses via SMS. Moreover, 54% of the study’s participants admitted that they become frustrated when they are unable to reach a business via text and must instead reach out through email and voice calls.

And how’s this for ‘missing the forest for the trees?’ While 64% of small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) can receive texts from their customers, only 13% of SMBs use text messages to communicate with their clients at all.

In case you were wondering: The blind spot for SMS cannot be justified by poor results. Indeed, 86% of small business owners that deploy SMS marketing say it provides higher engagement rates than email marketing. EZ Texting’s survey found that companies that leverage text messaging are more likely to receive a response from recipients than businesses that opt instead to use other traditional outreach mediums.

“Our research confirms that text messaging is not only the primary way that consumers communicate with one another, but it is also increasingly the way consumers would prefer to interact with businesses,” writes EZ Texting, “They are also much more likely to engage with organizations that allow for two-way, conversational texting. Yet, despite the opportunity to build direct, personalized connections with their customers, many businesses are unaware of the channel’s importance and have yet to adopt texting as a communication medium.”

For what it’s worth, we at Pareteum offer a fully programmable B2C A2P/SMS messaging service. It enables our clients to deliver messages to their customers across multiple channels, including SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and other popular messaging apps, Voice, and USSD push. Message delivery is optimized to ensure every customer is effectively engaged by using real-time delivery analysis to track the progress of each message.

Other key takeaways from EZ Texting’s study, which you can read here, were as follows:

  1. It’s not just millennials anymore. People of all ages are text obsessed. 50% of consumers check their phones five or more times per hour. While folks over 45 use texting a bit less than their younger counterparts, most are still checking their phones at least three times an hour.
  2. Your competitors are already texting your customers. 84% of consumers have received some sort of text message from a business and/or organization.
  3. Consumers want to contact businesses via text. 69% of consumers across all age groups would like to be able to contact a business via text, and 54% are frustrated when they are unable to do so.
  4. Texting gets results. Most consumers read text messages within five minutes of receiving them and reply to messages within three minutes of reading them. 86% of small business owners who utilize text messaging indicate that texting offers higher engagement than email communication.
  5. Businesses are not taking full advantage of text messaging. Businesses are more than three times more likely to rely on email as a primary communication method, despite the fact that consumers are 4.5 times more likely to reply to a text message.

The failure to leverage SMS to champion products, promotions, and other general customer communications could mean missing out on generating leads, making sales, and growing business. If that’s startling – and it should be – you can at least take solace in the notion that, in all likelihood, your competitors are also missing out on this opportunity.

Still, I wouldn’t put it off for too long. Such discrepancies and the great advantage that they offer are unlikely to go unnoticed.