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Mobile Phone Marketing and Short Message Service

Short Message Service is a universally available service that has become a key part of people's lives from both personal and business perspectives. Since its global launch at the end of 90’s, it has grown steadily before registering a huge increase during the last two years. This unprecedented growth is expected to jump to even higher levels especially with businesses starting to realize the strategic importance of SMS as a medium for direct marketing.


SMS History, Facts and Data

When the Short Message Service emerged worldwide as an accidental success in 1999, few believed that it would turn into the easiest, quickest and most cost-effective form of one-to-one communication just a few years later. The history of this social phenomenon is short, but record-breaking. Its usage growth rate has soared about 800 percent for a period of six years!!! And experts predict that this upward growth of SMS use will accelerate to even greater levels, reaching almost 4 trillion messages sent annually within the upcoming five years.

Table 1: Upward growth in text messaging use worldwide (annually)

  2000 2001 2004 2006
Number of text messages sent per year 160 billion 250 billion 500 billion 1 200 billion
Average number of text messages per mobile user in the world per year 390 430 460 560
Average number of text messages per person in the world per year 25 40 100 190

Today we have about 2 billion users of SMS text messaging worldwide who are actually potential target audiences for mobile marketing campaigns. Compare this reach with the reach of a web site for instance. If you use the web to promote your services you will be able to reach up to 1 billion people. Through the power of SMS, however, your audiences are twice as many and furthermore - you can reach them instantly, since you contact them on the most personal of devices - the mobile phone!

Table 2: Upward growth in text messaging use worldwide (monthly)

  2000 2001 2004 2006
Average number of messages sent per month worldwide 13 billion 20 billion 41 billion 100 billion

The extremely powerful and progressive Short Messaging Service is the principal reason behind the efficiency of SMS Marketing.  Thanks to the digital cellular network technology, SMS makes possible the so popular today text message exchange between people, thus penetrating deeply into the day-to-day activities worldwide. This is namely the reason why with the SMS Marketing system in action marketing approach to business is now more personalized than ever.

The text messaging technology enables the instant transmission of short text and numeric messages between digital cell phones, cell phones and e-mail addresses, as well as cell phones and public SMS messaging Internet gateways. Its speed and flexibility allows the delivery of a wide variety of SMS information content packets such as stock quotes, sports scores and news at regularly scheduled intervals.

The global use of the Short Messaging Service notches up strikingly high levels. Currently, there are approximately 30 billion SMS messages sent globally each month, with the majority of that traffic occurring in Western Europe and Asia. In North America text messaging is gaining momentum due to the diversification of services offered by this means of communication.

The Short Message Service (SMS), as defined within the GSM digital mobile phone standard, bases its success on a good deal of unique features most of which SMS Marketing takes advantage of in the best way possible:

A single short message text, which can be represented by words, numbers or an alphanumeric combination, can contain maximum 160 characters in length.

Text messaging is a store-and-forward service, which means that the short messages pass through an SMS Center before they reach the recipient. All mobile telephone networks that support SMS utilize one or more SMS centers that process the messages and direct them to their destination.

The Short Message Service includes message delivery confirmation, which allows the short message sender to receive a return message notifying them of the delivery or non-delivery of their message. It is a very useful service that lets senders know what happens to the message after they send it.

The SMS technology allows a multiple short message delivery. This capability enables text message senders to dispatch multiple messages simultaneously on the basis of SMS compression (the technology that allows more than 160 characters of information within a single short message) and SMS concatenation (the technology that stringes several short messages together).

Mobile messaging is compatible with GSM voice, Data and Fax calls, which means that short messages use the signalling paths of the radio channel occupied by the voice, Data and the Fax calls, thus avoiding any interweaving. This minimizes the possibility of getting a busy or engaged signal, typical of the peak network usage times.