The future of mobile messaging is doomed (again)


Greg Brophy, MD of MEF Member iTouch Messaging Services discusses the future of mobile messaging services, concluding that with an innovative approach, there’s still plenty of life left in the humble SMS.

The future of mobile messaging is doomed! A bold statement that reaches our shores every single year without fail, but alas we stand strong and the mobile messaging industry continues to show significant growth. I attended the 2016 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona recently; a well-represented conference frequented by giant mobile players from around the globe. Here we saw the exact same trend we are experiencing in South Africa and Africa reiterated by these industry leaders. Thus, iTouch took the liberty of compiling a list of trends that puts this long time myth to rest and proves to the world that mobile messaging has a bright future ahead!

Growth can directly be measured by Adoption Rates

A trend seems to exist amongst leading companies that have for so many years provided targeted reach for the business and retail sectors. Growth can be attributed to the increased number of industries that have embraced messaging as a key business tool.

The early years of messaging were largely the reserve of the marketing sector. However, recently the services sector have realised the value of the targeting capabilities of this medium, making it not only a great way to communicate with customers directly but also an indispensable component of their CRM toolset.

Growth of these services is also attributed to cleanup of fraudulent service providers in the messaging sector. The clean-up is still one of the main focus areas and we see an increase in collaboration efforts between legitimate service providers and operator networks.

Lack of Innovation will stunt growth

While growth is not proving to be an issue at present, for this trend to continue postively we believe that innovation will play a key role. The more the consumer is exposed to plain-text communication, the more challenging it will become to captivate him/her on an on-going basis (using the exact same tools). Some sectors have reportedly shown a decline in responses to their SMS marketing In campaigns, a clear indication that the market is becoming dismissive to the same style of campaigning.

The good news is that technologies do exist that can enhance the customer experience via rich media messaging. The only blocker we foresee is that ease of access remains a challenge for marketers utilising this medium. Traditionally to fully make use of rich media messaging services, marketers usually require the added services of a digital advertising agency. This delays turn-around-times and does not have the same advantages and immediacy as sending out a quick SMS.

To solve this issue, licensed platforms that assist in creating a rich media message campaign, better known as MEMS (multimedia embedded message services) have been introduced into the Mobile Messaging world. These self-provisioning platforms allow the marketer to create a MEMS campaign within minutes. This technology utilizes current advertising assets that will automatically be adapted to render on any web-enabled mobile device; both smart and feature phones included.

Thus MEMS allows its users to take advantage of every marketing opportunity by providing and easy-to-use platform to create campaigns and send it to their client’s customer database within minutes. The message contains a URL which points to a landing page/s, created within the platform, making use of various forms of creative content such as video, voice, text, graphics, and can also be directed to the company’s social media links such as FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Thus providing a more exciting effective campaign product than a simple plain-text message.

In addition MEMS systems allow to a target recipient through a dedicated unique URL, thus providing increased security and increased capabilities as these platforms can also be used to for invoicing, statements, salary advice slips, etc. These URLs are archived for that recipient promoting easy reference and retrieval of past communication.

Since MEMS make use the SMS platform, it remains cost effective and is therefore a cheaper direct messaging solution in comparison to a MMS ; which has not seen the expected growth in the industry due to cost and other limitations. Thus in terms of the value proposition, MEMS have no real barrier, you simple get an easy-to-use platform for marketers and a great user experience for your targeted audience.