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TMCNet:  SMS - the new kid on the block

[December 25, 2013]

SMS - the new kid on the block

(Slogan (Pakistan) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) With the spread of mobile devices, novel means of advertising are also finding a place in the advertising/marketing toolbox. Among these, Short Messaging Service (SMS) advertising has become the newest advertising tool.

Pakistan happens to be one of the world’s top five countries in terms of text messaging. This leads Pakistani advertisers to adopt ‘texting’ for a greater cause. Now all kinds of businessmen, solicitors, service providers and vendors are turning to SMS advertising as they have discovered the great consumer response that this new age advertising tool offers. Some have even found it to be more effective than TV, radio, billboards, newspaper and pamphlets, but of course SMS cannot replace all these media.

For a lot of advertisers it is easier to penetrate through the target market as SMSs are mostly sent to people who are willing to accept such a service. For example, a tax manager would use a list of phone numbers and send his sales pitch directly to them as he knows well that if they are running a business, they would be paying taxes and would, in turn, need a manager to organize these taxes.

The SMS recipient takes more time to read a text message than watching a TV commercial with as much concentration or stopping to glance at a billboard and this is what makes the difference. In fact, SMSing is a lot like telemarketing as most of the time you hit the target and sometimes if you don’t, it is a part of the game. In any event, SMS is so cheap that you don’t mind a few irritated customers.

You can utilise the SMS as an advertising tool in so many different ways. You can, for example, outsource the SMS advertising campaign to an advertising agency, or even attach your sim card with a computer and the advertising takes care of itself.

For the second option, you would need a special software which automatically sends SMSs to specific markets. Such software is available for somewhere between Rs 1500 and Rs 2000. Through these SMS bundles, you can send thousands of messages at one time. A large number of SMS bundles are being offered by cellular service providers. For as low as Rs 125, one can simultaneously send messages to more than 9,000 cell phone users.

In due time, SMS bundles will gain immense popularity since the method is very consumer-friendly. SMS is also very personal and SMS recipients have a great chance of calling the number back for further information. This wouldn’t be possible in immediate terms in the case of TV and radio commercials, hoardings, newspaper ads or flyers No wonder then that that SMS marketing has multiplied at such a fast pace.

According to international research in the growth of SMS services, Pakistan occupies top slot in the Asia-Pacific region and it is expected that the volume will be doubled in the coming two years. A report issued by the PTA on SMS traffic trends in local and global markets says that a total of 151.6385 billion text messages were exchanged by cellular subscribers in fiscal year 2009-10, generating a revenue of Rs 40.76 billion. This figure translates into 1532 SMSes per subscriber in a year or 128 SMSes per subscriber in one month. The average price of one SMS is said to be 27 paisas, making SMS advertising one of the most inexpensive marketing tools today.

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