Want a Simple Messaging Solution to Enhance Business Results? Look No Further Than SMS

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This is a podcast episode titled, Want a Simple Messaging Solution to Enhance Business Results? Look No Further Than SMS. The summary for this episode is: <p>Adoption of SMS continues to grow and there is a reason why - it drives tangible results for organizations! In this session, Andy Gladwin, Head of Mobile at Cheetah Digital, provides insights on how organizations are successfully growing their customer base and better understanding, informing and inspiring their customers through the utilization of SMS, resulting in a significant ROI.</p>
Introduction of 5 session topics about SMS
00:47 MIN
Why should brands build an SMS strategy?
03:49 MIN
SMS is lightweight & within reach: it requires no downloads or wifi.
01:13 MIN
80% of 18-44 year olds have their phone within arms reach for 22 hours a day.
00:35 MIN
90% of messages are read within 3 minutes - with a CTA for a response, it goes up to 45% response rates & 19% CTRs, allowing brands to deliver value in real time.
02:10 MIN
How to be incisive & interactive - but not intrusive - with SMS.
03:52 MIN
The impact of SMS is statistically proven - 2-8% conversion of promotional messaging, 15-35% reduction in missed deliveries, and 10-30% reduction in no-shows for appointments & reservations.
02:43 MIN
SMS reduces the number of inbound calls by 10-20%, resulting in operational cost savings & higher customer satisfaction.
01:01 MIN
SMS can help reduce late credit card payments by 7-9%, saving banks money -- another use case driving the value of SMS!
01:07 MIN
What is next in the mobile world? Conversations are "eating" apps + the richer an SMS, the more of a customer's attention you'll get.
03:10 MIN

Tim Glomb: Welcome back to yet another Signal session, and this one I'm extremely excited about, because I have with me one of the Top 25 Most Influential in Mobile, as recognized by ROCCO, a mobile industry body, and also our head of mobile go- to- market strategy here at the wider CM Group, Andy Gladwin. Andy, thank you for coming into the studio and meeting with me today.

Andy Gladwin: Thank you for welcoming in, Tim. Good to be here.

Tim Glomb: Yeah. So look, this is going to be all about mobile. Mobile's incredibly important. We all carry one in our pockets. It's a great communication channel. But first, why don't you tell our viewers what are the topics we're going to cover today?

Andy Gladwin: Absolutely. So we're going to go through five things. Firstly, we meet loads of brands and one of the most common things they say is, " How do we get started?" And that starts with consent. So we're going to talk a bit about consent to start today. After that, we're going to look at why SMS? What makes it distinctive? When you look at an omnichannel environment, why use SMS and what type of use cases? We'll then move on from there, going and understanding that it is very intrusive, but how can you make intrusion or move away from intrusion and make impact instead with your SMS? Next, we'll look into the kind of results that companies can expect when using different types of use case. And finally, what's next after SMS and where the market's going.

Tim Glomb: All right, cool. I love it. Less intrusion, more impact. I can't wait to see that one. And who doesn't love stats? All right, well, look, let's kick it off. Our first topic, SMS, as we mentioned, it's incredibly impactful. It's a channel that everybody needs to have a strategy on. It's ubiquitous. It's out there. It's real time, et cetera. But there's probably some viewers going, " Hey, look, I got a giant email database. Why do I need to worry about SMS as a channel?" There might be some consent issues as you mentioned. Why would they want to go through those hurdles? Why would they want to go over that and build a real SMS strategy?

Andy Gladwin: So let's start with consent and growing that audience. So there are many, similar to other channels, ways in which you can do this digitally with web popups, with web forms. At the moment of making a purchase or a booking, put in your phone number to enroll in whatever service it might be. But where SMS varies is the ability to use QR codes and short codes to engage with customers on the go. Now, customers, today, fortunately are back out. Post- pandemic, they're out there in airports, in hotels, in studios in West London. They're out in shops, in traffic jams, you name it. They're out away from their home environment and on the move. And with that provides a great opportunity to inspire customers, during moments that they have your captive attention, to engage with you by enrolling via a QR code or a short code in the physical environment away from the digital environment. So some examples of this, I'm trying to make this real. This could be in a store and you are texting in to a short code to get a discount there and then to benefit and become part of a loyalty program. It could be through a QR code to enroll within whatever loyalty program or promotional program with a restaurant on your menu. It might be for myself, it's my seven year old son's birthday or seven tomorrow. And going to the packaging of a product, such as Lego and saying, " What are the fitting instructions? Is this going to be 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or do you just take a sabbatical before his birthday tomorrow to ensure I'm going to have this on time?" It could be in a traffic jam. " How's my driving? Text in." Most of these messages aren't going to be positive. But the point is, these are moments of relevance. And these provide opportunities for brands to be able to engage with customers and enroll them to serve them value at that time. One other example, you've been traveling a lot recently. And I love seeing this where you see a big queue going into a hotel and people go, " I just want to see the concierge to ask where should I go for dinner tonight?" Or, " How do I get a late checkout?" And you have the ability there and then to either scan a QR code or text in and avoid the queue and suddenly have a frictionless access to value and accelerated path to value by self- serving and being able to text the concierge service rather than having to wait in a queue. So lots of different examples there. But when I look at consent, absolutely, digital and physical environments can increase your audience quite quickly. Where there is value to be had, ensure that there's a gateway for people to consume it through and they're aware of it. But also you're able to serve people in real time during those moments of inspiration by having these gateways in every environment.

Tim Glomb: These are great examples. And for me, in America, I drive a big truck, I travel a lot. I'm in the mountains of Colorado. I've gone to many petrol stations, gas stations recently where you get up to 25 cents off a gallon. It's significant. I've got 40 gallons of fill. Just give us your text message and then you get the confirmation text. " Yes, I want to be in." And I found it very helpful, because I'm managing my gas volume and I'll wait and go back to a particular retailer, because I know I'm going to get that value from them. I'm going to get 10 cents off a gallon for every subsequent. Great examples. Now that we have consent, what are some of the unique qualities and traits to the SMS channel. Why should I be using that channel in particular in certain moments in my organization?

Andy Gladwin: Good question. Let me ask you this. How many emails do you have right now in your personal inbox?

Tim Glomb: You don't want to know.

Andy Gladwin: Exactly.

Tim Glomb: 660,000. I'm not kidding. 660, 000.

Andy Gladwin: I'm glad that was the answer rather than one. So you are normal and going with that, how many apps do you have on your phone right now? There's a lot of noise out there.

Tim Glomb: I'm told.

Andy Gladwin: You're swiping and swiping or you're going, " Oh, I've organized everything perfectly, but then I have to click through and click through and click through." And there's a little ability to access that with ease to whatever value proposition. With that, who chooses to opt in to push and doesn't delete apps that there's a shelf life, there's a spring clean issue that you're going to have. With SMS, there's reach. It's native. So any handset has the ability to have SMSes. It's built in there. Whether you have one bar of reception, you don't need to have 3G, 4G, 5G, wifi.

Tim Glomb: It's very lightweight.

Andy Gladwin: You don't need to download anything. So with that, it gives you reach. If your consumer has a mobile device, they have the ability to receive SMS and get notifications that pierce through the rest of that noise. And talking of reach, literal reach stat. So I'm going to get stat you up today.

Tim Glomb: Bring it.

Andy Gladwin: 80%, 18 to 44 year olds have their phone with them within arms reach for 22 hours a day, within arms reach. I don't know what's happening the other two hours a day. But this is saying that literally you have the always on, always accessible consumer where most of the markets that we address and most markets around the world now have mobile penetrations rates close to or an excess of 100%.

Tim Glomb: Well, and I've even heard in China it's like 1. 5 handheld devices per person.

Andy Gladwin: Indeed. So with that, that suddenly gives you this addressable audience, this ubiquity. And not only is it find it, but there's real time engagement with it. So 90% of messages are read within three minutes. Where there's a call to action for a response, it goes up to around 45% of response rates and click- through rates on links are in the region of 19%. So all of this gives you this confidence of being able to reach any customer with a high level of confidence at any moment in time with immediacy. So with that, you can be relatively forensic and use this incisiveness of the channel to be able to ensure that someone gets a security alert on time, to get a goal notification with their team scores, to be able to get a travel update, a security on their bank notification. All these different things where it's time critical. An offer that is going to expire after a limited period of time, moments that have relevance and you have a finite period where that message holds relevance, SMS is the only channel to be confident that you are delivering that value in real time to take care of it. Now one final stat on this is that over 5, 000 brand messages are received by a consumer per day. Now with that, in my opinion, looking at these distinctive properties of SMS, this is the right vehicle to be able to break through that noise with a high level of confidence to reach any customer in real time.

Tim Glomb: I love it. Real time, incredibly lightweight, basically free. It's very, very low cost and you're not subject to some algorithm. It's not Mark Zuckerberg or somebody pulling the levers on when your message gets through. The other thing I love about it, it's personal. I text my grandma, I text my mother, I text my kids. So that brings a whole different level of, I think, perception and mood when I get the right message from someone via SMS.

Andy Gladwin: And that's the familiarity. Whether you're eight years old or 90 years old, there isn't the technology hurdle that some of the channels have whereby your grandma knows how to use it as is a kid with their first phone. So this is a great way of being able to address any demographic.

Tim Glomb: Yeah, you're right. And, look, not all of us are on WeChat or WhatsApp or et cetera, so that makes some sense. But you said a word in there I want to bring out, incisive. I think you said it deliberately. So how can you be incisive, but not necessarily intrusive and cross that line?

Andy Gladwin: So absolutely great question. And this is where there's a lot of fear for many large brands of disrupting their relationship with customers and being too intrusive. And I think that the way in which we see success of those doing this well versus disrupting relationships and being intrusive rather than impactful is in three fields, firstly, is to look at preferential data. And SMS, as we said, is a great channel to be able to engage with a customer forensically knowing what are the right times to be able to ensure the highest level of relevance when they receive a message. With that, you can ask for zero party data during the moments that matter. So it could be just after a test drive or just after you've been to a football stadium, asking for feedback there and then while it's front of mind and in your attention. Similarly, when you are asking for information from the customer and getting feedback, you could also leverage the haptics of a mobile device to not only serve them with the standard offers and the standard feedback forms-

Tim Glomb: Sure. An HTML, a click.

Andy Gladwin: But why not make it a little bit more enhanced and use scratch screens to reveal a code for a discount or have a swipe left and swipe right to show your preferences or shake your phone and it vibrates with a Christmas cracker as you unload some festive season promotion. There are different ways in which the mobile device can make it much more interactive and engaging and whereby not only are you providing this personal preferential data as part of that value exchange, but you're able to deliver messages at the right time, that they're going to hold relevance and enhancing that experience to them by using the haptics of the mobile device. With that, high conversion rates, lower churn. The second thing, I want to call it loading the dice. So here you are, you're saying, " I have this data on Tim, I now going to send a load of SMS." Now if I'm there and have tunnel vision on here's what Tim has done with SMS, here's what he's replied with, that's great, but Tim doesn't have a relationship and,§ sorry, I'm going to continue talking about you in the third person.

Tim Glomb: Please do. I'm over here

Andy Gladwin: You don't have a relationship with a channel, you have a relationship with a brand. And brands have many digital touch. And to be effective, that brand needs to be able to collaborate with all of these touchpoints and have a look at real- time, homogenous information around what is, at that time, the most contextual understanding of your relationship and ensure that when that brand engaged with you, it takes into that preferential data, the behavioral data and looks at what are the right times, channels, communications to send or not send, according to that. And not looking in just one silo, but having an overall look at what is that relationship you have with the brand at that moment in time. The third thing that I'd say that drives success to, again, provide impact and not intrusion, is best practice. So we are, I think the only marketing cloud is the CM Group within the Mobile Ecosystem Forum. And when we joined, we had the option which we went through on to sign the SMS code of conduct. This means that" Yes, we're going to adhere to regulations," as we would do anyway, but not only that, we look for best practice and ensuring that customers have the right experience. And with that, that, again, they aren't going to be disrupted or impacted in any negative manner by content and value messages being sent to them. But instead looking at what can we do to ensure that we're following policies that are giving them the best experience with that relationship to a brand as they try and share ways in which they can benefit from a service.

Tim Glomb: This is great. You have some great examples in there and I had another session I did recently with Chris Muscutt, head of MarTech in the U. K. here for Pepsi Co. And when you talk about data and understanding SMS is just a channel next to email, next to social, next to any of them, some of these enterprise brands, not only is it just sharing that information inside of one brand, but it could be across an umbrella of brands. So if Doritos is conversing with you in one way, in one channel, how can they use that information to continue that conversation with Pepsi a week or two later and maybe using a different channel? So I like the way you're bringing in the data and the multichannel approach to it. Well, okay, so that's good. But you also promise some stats. I'm a stats guy. I would love to know what do the stats tell the story on mobile and SMS here? What can we glean from it.

Andy Gladwin: And this is it. You talk to any enterprise, and they go, " Hey, we don't want to have just a copycat strategy of some other person sending SMS. So we want to." Everyone wants to know what the business results are. Now with that, there are different ways in which SMS can help serve and inspire and inform customers through the channel. But when we look at the actual ROI, yes you have the top- line impact you can provide with promotional messaging, where we see a 2 to 8% conversion of promotional messaging sent by SMS. And that isn't just offers, but it could be inspiring people to maintain or upgrade their loyalty status or tier. But when you look at the bottom line as well, there are different ways in which SMS can help to drive savings and operational efficiencies to organizations. This is why you see enterprises sending out delivery notifications, which has a reduction in missed deliveries of 15 to 35%.

Tim Glomb: Wow.

Andy Gladwin: Now there's a cost to an organization for every time it has to go back to the depo and resent again and so again.

Tim Glomb: And upset customers and there's even qualitative damages they're done.

Andy Gladwin: And exactly. And this is where, once again, you know have customers who are spending less and less time at home, fortunately again. And so there is a greater quantity of packages that people aren't at home. They need to ensure that things are being left in the right place at the right time, at the right address. And that is where SMS has really helped this market. Anything in the service industry, appointment reminders, save so much money. And so this is where you have a professional or a table at a restaurant that has an expected level of revenue against that service and then someone doesn't show up. So by sending SMS, again, you see a 10 to 30% reduction in no shows by sending appointment reminders to ensure that people do show up. And most people who don't show up, it's because they forget rather than don't want to go. And so again.

Tim Glomb: That's me.

Andy Gladwin: Customer satisfaction. Now you like music, right?

Tim Glomb: I love music.

Andy Gladwin: Okay, how much do you like call waiting music? The jingles you sit on for 13, 15, 20, half an hour as you sit around waiting for someone to take your call.

Tim Glomb: Well, there's one airline that their music is not optimized for mobile speakers. So that one I'm not going to mention, but it can be annoying.

Andy Gladwin: Absolutely. Okay, I'm glad that was the answer, because that's a normal answer. People don't want to be hearing this. And this is where the ability to help customers self- serve and bypass having to speak to customer agents not only reduces the number of inbound calls by 10 to 20%, which again has an operational saving on the OpEx for the customer call center. But also with this, you're going to have a greater customer satisfaction. People aren't holding around. They can rebook their flight immediately because they've been told what information they need to do, what links they need to go in a flight cancellation example is one common example of how this is used. So that's another way that we see it being used. Payment reminders. You have a credit card. A lot of customers don't have the inability to pay, but need the prompting. They forget, " Oh, it's that time of the month. I need to make my whatever credit card payment." And that can help reduce late payments by 7 to 9%. So what is that cost to a bank? It's a huge saving by sending out SMS. The cost of the SMS versus the saving for that 7 to 9% of late payments is astronomical. So these are examples of how SMS is able to help all different types of use case, common ones with ROI. And that's something that we as an organization are very good at and talking to our customers around how do we help them to understand and leverage what is the actual fiscal value they're going to gain by applying these different use cases. And this is why these types of use cases driving these types of value make a non- rich channel, like SMS, a hundred billion business by 2030 is predicted to be. So that's the results that we look at and what excites the market and continues to have a large growth year on year.

Tim Glomb: Well, look, I love doing these sessions because I really leave it to the experts like you to come to me with five topics. And that's all we shared before we started this, and what you just talked about, all of this is resonating for me this week. You talked about mobile payments, I just bought a new home and I changed my insurance, and if they had sent me a bill by paper or an email, of which I truly have 660,000 unread emails, it would've got lost in the shuffle. I have a new bill due because it's a new account, new policy. I got an SMS last night telling me, " Hey, Tim, this is due." I completely forgot about it. My mobile banking as I cruise around Europe doing these sessions, I almost get the SMS from my credit card before I get the printed receipt from the merchant. Talk about real time. Zero latency. These are all great examples. And even the airline thing. Even though their hold music is not optimized for a speaker, they should bring the tone down to midtones. I was able to change a flight, which wasn't a cancellation or transaction they needed to tell me. I wanted to change my flight. I called in, it instantly asked me if I wanted to do that transaction via SMS. I did it via SMS and changed my flight. No time on a call. And I was able to do it I believe in the back of an Uber. So people, you got to be into SMS. I don't care if you're small, medium sized business, an enterprise. There are ways to save money with SMS. There are ways to engage, drive new revenue, keep your audience and keep yourself relevant with them. Andy, let's close out, what's next in the mobile world? You're a visionary there. I know you do all these events, you're recognized, you're a big speaker in the mobile circuit. What's coming up?

Andy Gladwin: Great question and one that I could talk for hours, but there's a major theme that's going across the market right now. And that is through several thought leaders, they've recognized that the 2000s is the decade of webpages. 2010s, decade of apps. And then 2020s is the decade of conversations. And to quote one person, they said that conversations are eating apps. Now, when I talk about conversations, I'm talking about WeChat, WhatsApp, RCS, Viva, Skype, channels in which you and I habitually with our friends will be communicating and exchanging pictures, videos, messages, having read receipts, the traditional ways in which what was SMS has moved. Consumers have moved to richer channels. And with this, I had recently the great fortune of being able to go and present at a Google conference around RCS, which is kind of SMS 2. 0 for Android. So within this, what I was expecting to see in the conference was people talking about the features. " Oh, look at the carousel and look at how it's integrated with the calendar and maps and look at the way in which you can now have read receipts rather than," whatever you've had before in terms of reporting. And it wasn't. What held every brand's attention there was exactly that, attention. That is the metric that people are jumping after. And so let me give some numbers behind this. When you send a text message, so a plain text message, the customer attention span on receipt of that message that you hold is around three seconds. Now if you make that a rich message, so with it you have a link, you have a picture, you have the ability to engage a bit, it goes to a website, you have 45 seconds of a customer's attention span. As soon as you go into a conversational message, so a back and forth, and that could be with a bot or an agent, it grows to 120 seconds. Now tell me a brand who doesn't want to have two minutes rather than three seconds attention of a customer. And I'm not saying every use case. You don't want to be a quick, " Okay, I've got my password, that's all I need. Look at it.

Tim Glomb: Yeah.

Andy Gladwin: I don't want to have two minutes and-

Tim Glomb: Here's your gate to your flight. Very transactional. Very quick.

Andy Gladwin: Exactly. But when you have the ability to listen, to learn, to direct and serve your customer for two minutes, rather than trying to influence them with a transaction, you're now in a conversation and holding a relationship. For me, that's where the future's going. It is the preferred and habitual environment for consumers, but for brands, this gives a great opportunity to drive advocacy. We talk a lot about relationship marketing. Conversations are absolutely paramount to this. So for me, this is going to be the next large paradigm shift. We're seeing it grow in a few regions right now. I think that conversational messaging is where the market's going.

Tim Glomb: This is great. I love this. Look, we have to continue to explore this. I want to come see you again. We want to talk about it. It makes total sense. And to your point, relationship marketing, which is what we believe is the future of marketing, you have to build relationships, turn people from unknown to known, engage them in some way, personalize your communications and then retain them. This is huge. And as you mentioned, 5, 000 brand mentions per day on a phone or in somebody's view, two minutes is a lot. And to be able to scale that, to be able to listen at scale and respond at scale, that's huge. Because that's what humans do. We meet each other on the street, we say, " Hey, how are you? How are the wife and kids? What are you up to? How'd the soccer match go?" It's asking, it's listening, and it's furthering the conversation to benefit both people. That's what you can do through the mobile channel. This is really inspiring. I appreciate you doing this. Let's save your mojo for another session. I promise we're going to keep them coming to you. Any last words, any closing thoughts?

Andy Gladwin: No, just this is an exciting time right now, the mobile market and across the CM Group, we have a very compelling proposition. But whether you choose our solution or elsewhere, we're open to talk strategy and work out ways of driving value across all of our channels anytime with any customer.

Tim Glomb: Well, you're a recognized leader in the space. We're lucky to have you. I'm glad that you made some time. For everyone watching, we hope you enjoyed it. Check out the other resources we have across the entire CM Group portfolio here. We've got plenty. And reach out to Andy, if you want to. You got to question or something, hit them up on LinkedIn. so appreciate it. We'll see you soon.


Adoption of SMS continues to grow and there is a reason why - it drives tangible results for organizations! In this session, Andy Gladwin, Head of Mobile at Cheetah Digital, provides insights on how organizations are successfully growing their customer base and better understanding, informing and inspiring their customers through the utilization of SMS, resulting in a significant ROI.