Mobile Promotion

Gonca Telli Yamamoto. Mobilized Marketing and the Consumer: Technological Developments and Challenges. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference, 2010.

Promotions are various activities which are realized in order to create and maintain demand for products or services. Promotions are created to reach customers and to gain some profit from them. Therefore, these activities are very important for marketers. In mobile marketing, mobile promotions mean that the companies’ promotional activities are done with mobile devices. Mobile promotion can also be defined as the conduct of promotion activities via mobile instruments. In its most common sense, mobile promotion considered as the promotional method for the customer in an appropriate and permitted manner by benefitting from a live media via mobile devices such as PDA. In this chapter, mobile promotions are evaluated. Mobile advertising and consumer reaching technologies such as SMS and MMS are discussed in detail. Types and the user profile are also examined and some current activities are stated. One-to-one communication and sales promotions such as coupons and other motivational material are broadly composed in this chapter.

Promotional Activities

Promotion is an instrument maintained through communication between the transmitter of the given message and the customer who receives it one-on-one. Deleon (2004, p.15) regards the mobile phone as a seductive advertising instrument compared to conventional advertisements. All promotion instruments which actually have a mobility feature can be evaluated as mobile, and they create a different category than other promotional instruments. The intended mobile promotion in this study is the promotions realized via the mobile instruments people carry on themselves. As mobile promotion is among the strong alternatives of mobile advertising together with the new technological expansions on this issue, it creates an impact with short-term changes of promotions on the basis of providing discount or additional products, which is used in conventional marketing. The messages that contain mobile coupons and mobile discount news are also among the mentioned mobile advertising promotions. According to MMA Global (2007), the mobile coupon is an electronic ticket solicited and/or delivered by the mobile phone that can be exchanged for a financial discount or rebate when purchasing a product or service. They are often distributed through SMS, MMS, Bluetooth and other mobile instruments. Mobile coupons are very useful promotional materials for stimulating a personal shopping desire as other advertising messages.

According to the E-marketer (2008), the mobile message advertising value will increase by five times from 810 million dollars in 2007 to 4.5 million dollars in 2012.

According to the 2007-Q3 research of Dutch Mobile Promotions (Overview of mobile promotions in The Netherlands during 2007-Q3), a mobile promotion aims to achieve the objective of creating encouragement for the purchase of a product or service by mobility, by changing retail understanding with a mobile phone or a similar mobile instrument and with a mobile operator as a result of the motivation created through presenting certain discounts from retail channels, or extra bonuses, SMS’s or other certain valuable products as gifts to encourage the use of the mobile operator. Due to that, both advantages for the sales of the product are created, and the demand for the instruments and domains of the mobile services is reinforced.

Three different promotions can be created in the mobile environment. They are promotions based on the common attitude and consideration of both demand and supply, which is realized with the cooperation of company-led promotions to increase the demand, and customer-led promotions to increase the supply. Mobile promotions directed by companies are massively spread especially as SMS announcements. The functions of the mobile phone evolve towards marketing, and so, turn into a network marketing instrument. Furthermore, it does not only remain as network marketing, but also convert the mobile instrument into an entertainment platform through promotions such as m-advertising and m-entertainment. Technological and social systems converge and become blurred. It can also turn into m-advertising in time. However, in order to prevent it from turning into craziness, serious responsibilities are required to be undertaken by companies that realize the promotion. Otherwise, the conclusion of promotions may deviate from the purpose and their values may decrease.

Customer-led and supply-directed promotions are greatly important both in the production and marketing activity preferences of companies and in their long-term plans. As the first objective, they influence short-term sales and clarify the direction of the demand, and provide data to act accordingly. Somehow interrelated to mobile research, it may lead into the formation of results suitable for a good customer analysis in a short time.

Regardless of the promotional type, the important thing is to present the promotions to the customer at the time and place he or she wishes to watch them. This encounter means the performance of one-to-one marketing, though it is remote-controlled. In this method, results provided through a full time information exchange and delivery is very important in terms of reliability. This system enables not forcing information out aggressively, but asking people whether they want the promotion, and enabling the performance of arbitrary actions. Mobile promotions require extensive customer relations management.

Mobile Advertising

Employment of mobile advertising channels provides miscellaneous advantages during the promotion of a mobile service or product. Leading one of these advantages is that the customer is highly conscious on using technology. The consumer who uses or watches a mobile advertising channel is able to use the mobile service more extensively than individuals in the generic population. Simply, even seeing the mobile advertisement can be considered as evidence of the customer’s correct tendency towards mobile products or services because these people are able to open mobile web pages, see written messages and benefit from various conveyor interfaces, and even regard and consider their mobile phones as an instrument of benefits not only for services other than speaking (4INFO, 2008). Performed researches indicate that through a central advertising management system, multimedia files with advertising content have become a provider of communication to a mobile instrument.

According to Juniper Research (2008), mobile advertising is mainly divided into 7 categories. We also added 2 more categories to this sequence:

  1. SMS Advertising
  2. MMS Advertising
  3. In-Content Download Advertising
  4. On-Portal Advertising
  5. Mobile Internet Advertising
  6. Idle-Screen Advertising (screen savers, etc.)
  7. Mobile TV and Video Advertising
  8. Mobile Search Advertising, and
  9. Mobile Display Advertising.

Elements such as photographs, music, video and texts can be used with the above-mentioned multimedia files. As advertising content, attention can be drawn with discount tickets, movie trailers, telephone melodies, mp3 or mobile games. Certain researches outline the differences in SMS marketing. With mobile systems, it is possible to organize campaigns which are at such an extent so as to include the person at the furthest end of the system to the campaign and delivery to a wide mass of mobile phone users’ at the most suitable place, and which present the advertisement with the most suitable conditions for buyers.

Via this system, product and brand is enabled to not exclude anybody and make promotion much easier. Especially for the young generation of consumers, as the desire of benefitting from the mobile environment is clearer and more tangible, it is possible to say that customer awareness will gradually develop further in this direction. As these campaigns increase the abilities of content developers, they are more suitable to perform more effective activities and presentations. Furthermore, access to target users and the communication environment which considers their demands is a highly accessible environment for both the buyer and the seller.

SMS Marketing

SMS (Short Message Service) has become one of the most frequently used text messaging services at present. Short Message Service (SMS) is a wireless service available on digital mobile networks. It enables the transmission of text messages between mobile phones and other systems such as electronic mail, paging and voice mail (Yamamoto, 2009). With this service, alphanumerical or small non-text content can be transferred from a mobile instrument to the other. Similar to messaging between individuals, messaging from an individual to an application (poll applications) or from an application to an individual (information services) is also possible. According to Deleon (2004), an SMS message can transmit very short data on very low bandwidth. Therefore, a feature of a message to provide maximum benefit in minimized form should be paid attention. GSM, TDMA and CDMA based mobile phone networks provide an extensive support for the usage of this service. SMS has grown into a major communication tool for consumers. Accessing them via SMS marketing has become an increasingly important strategy for businesses.

The first SMS message was sent on December 03, 1992 from a personal computer to a mobile phone via Vodafone network (Michael & Salter, 2006, p.18), and this transmission for the purpose other than voice communication on phone enabled the performance of a secondary action on phone. SMS messages can contain a maximum of 140-160 characters and they are text messages without any graphics or images. In terms of timing, there are three types of SMS communications.

  1. SMS messages that are created on mobile phone and end on mobile phone.
  2. Those that are created on the mobile phone and sent to another telephone line or computer from the mobile phone.
  3. Those that are terminated on the mobile phone but sent from another network which has the ability to sent text messages to a mobile phone.

The best way to deliver text messages to the highest number of people under current technology is by cell phones because at present, 99 percent of the cell phones are able to receive and send text messages. The newest technology as an alternative to mobile web downloads and videos is used on cell phones. There are certain factors which prevent advertisements and promotions to a wide mass in the communication environments other than cell phones. The duration, scope and reached mass with the campaigns via mobile phone are not unlimited. Therefore, it is recommended to use rather more permanent and relatively more familiar types of text messages. Known as the easiest way to reach the largest number of consumers on mobile phones, the hegemony of SMS is predicted to continue until a higher number of consumers begin to use more advanced devices (Tarhan, 2008).


Table 1. Advantages and disadvantages of SMS marketing (Source: G. T. Yamamoto, 2009. Understanding SMS Marketing.)
Advantages Disadvantages
Cost-effectiveness maximization Character restriction
One-to-one personalized communication Negative response to unwanted texts
Shortened time to market Fraudulent messages
Ensuring message delivery and reaching customers at any time and place
Effective targeting for new and existing customers
Time sensitive information transmission
Customization capabilities
Marketing messages are always welcome

The advantages of SMS marketing are cost effectiveness, direct communication, effective targeting, shortened time to market and permission-based applications, etc. On the other hand, character restriction, unwanted texts and fraudulent messages are the most prominent disadvantages for SMS marketing (see Table 1).

According to Gauntt (2007), other mobile messaging types are also developing in addition to SMS. Multimedia messaging service (MMS), mobile instant message (MIM) and mobile e-mail are gradually becoming more widespread.

SMS marketing also has some different applications such as purchase context, technical context and user context. These contexts are mostly given preference while companies implement SMS marketing efforts.

According to the Mobile Marketing Association, 89% of the companies are expected to use text messages or multimedia messages to reach their target masses in 2008. One third of these companies express that they would allocate approximately 10% of their advertising budgets to a SMS marketing environment. Especially for developing or small scale establishments, sending SMS messages is regarded as one of the lowest cost advertising and promotion methods at present. On the other hand, businesses are willing to create a permission-based structure and present discount coupons for their loyal customers.

After recently-added video contents and visual communication features of cell phones are used for advertising, it will be possible to make more enhanced presentations and a different media approach will evolve. Accordingly, the use of mobile phone in planning the future of direct marketing with a contribution to the real sector in terms of customers and with mutual monitoring of the advertised product or advertiser, campaigns may become more convincing and advertising value may increase further.

If SMS message-based transactions are reversible, then the user may support the program or people with financial contributions. Going one step further from the means of the Internet, marketing—the delivery of targeted messages to the customer can be provided even when the individual is not sitting in front of the computer but when he or she is mobile. So, mobile marketing will be able to provide customers with real-time acting opportunity, turning into a communication instrument that allows for higher quality and more influential campaigns in the near future.

Marketing with SMS does not only remain with keeping the messages related with certain activities of organizations for products or services they are willing to market or with the promotions they realize, but also includes much miscellaneous information in the content of a portfolio and creates a databank. Considered as a new media communication style, SMS reaches well-known points all over the world and its data pool becomes richer with each mobile phone user.

However, SMS messages are sent without discriminating between interested and disinterested parties among the receiver mass, which means swimming against the current. Banks and mobile operators have entered into quite an aggressive attitude while trying to take the lead in SMS use with an attempt to turn individuals into their permanent customers. They continuously send messages on different subjects to contribute to their images or to remind them of their images. In this style of communication, the idea that it might probably be accepted is insufficient because banks should have obtained the mobile phone number and the messaging permission of the customer at a point. Even if permission is obtained, the very frequent transmission of messages on irrelevant issues may discomfort the customer and has the risk of creating a customer relationship problem.

Customers should be reached via SMS, and the companies which need to please the customer should produce more different solutions. Similar to the obsolescence of faces that are continuously seen in the media, the name may become obsolete. Aggressiveness may turn into a negative image or persistence may reinforce creating contrary results.

The SMS approach is based on the service concept that consists of multi-components. (Bartolomeo, Casalicchio, Salsano & Melazzi, 2007). Actually, in order to properly conduct this service, companies are required to revise their stands in the communication environment that they use with short intervals. The concept of SMS might have been very attractive for customers in the beginning and customers may be glad because of the message communication which enables their perception as a reputable customer. However, after many companies begin to call people every day from their mobile phones with disturbing frequency, then all of the messages may go to the trash can. Different strategies require being developed in order to for the customer to distinguish messages from each other. Mobile advertisers should initially think that the majority can be disturbed from overloading and they should base their strategies on that. For example, in sent messages, there is not even a single company which says “good morning” or “good evening”. Although messages received by recipients in very early morning or at around 05:00 a.m. hit the target, they may cause serious problems of personal disturbance.

It is known that announcements sent through SMS Marketing and SMS are benefitting by a new media. However, with the SMS method, it is not possible to sent MMS (that is photograph, music, and trailer). SMS marketing indicates a structure absolutely accessible to the mobile producer, marketer, manager or customer. SMS messages are sent to the entire mass whose customer mobile phone number is known, and a marketing communication which distinguishes a customer from others hits the target is not in question. SMS is a system which can send messages to long distances. However, spending more credits may be required for long-distance use. In addition to text, SMS also enables exchanging a certain number of symbols recorded in the memory of a mobile phone.

With the development of MSN system via mobile, the scope of chatting through SMS will increase. However, SMS marketing and promotions allow for movement in a static framework. Software and hardware support are not required in order to send a planned promotion via SMS. In these applications, CRM efforts sometimes turn into teasing people or urging the situation, which in a sense, lead to ethical criticisms. Simple offers should be proposed to customers while going towards mass marketing through SMS marketing. During the acquisition of information through subscription or payment, it is natural for subscribers to request reaching a valuable content in this structure. Therefore, subscribers find some of these contents worth money, while others prefer those free of charge.

In the future, life is required to be fictionalized as indexed to mobile from many perspectives. The development of the features of mobile activities other than SMS turns mobile communication into a more striking form gradually. The recently developed Bluetooth system is used as a healthier method in delivering promotions via mobile phones, and brings dynamism to mobile communication. This system also builds secondary communication between advertisers and those in the close vicinity, benefiting from their physical existence; therefore, it can be highly preferred. Every person, organization or establishment can obtain the flexibility and ease of presenting their own values. Bluetooth is a more suitable communication environment for the development of elections suitable for the social environment and cultural structure. This system may run as Internet-compatible and Internet-controlled. PR professionals benefit from the potential of mobile instruments.

SMS is suitable for the commissioning of various marketing applications; For example, digital buzz marketing, viral promotion efforts, mobile auction, etc. In these applications there are some various forms such as Premium SMS (PSMS).

PSMS can be defined as the applications related with logo or melody in contest programs or transfers on gaming applications in general. On SMS applications, GSM operators generally try to encourage its use by creating a service based on a different pricing than the standard price list.

However, mobile marketing can still not go beyond just sending SMS messages. According to the GSM Association, mobile phone users send more than 10 billion text messages every month, and SMS is considered as the most popular data service in the world (Dickinger et al. 2004).

In mobile business literature, there are many researches that try to suggest the critical success factors (CSF) in SMS-based campaigns. (Carroll, Barnes and Scornavacca, 2005; Scornavacca, Barnes and Huff, 2005). Here, the issue that appears as the strongest in the most considered conceptual frames and empirically experimented models is the perception of the customer towards SMS-based campaigns (Barnes and Scornavacca 2004; Dickinger et al. 2004).

Actually, setting off from the definition of Fox (2007) who regards marketing as the gainful identification, attraction and retention of good customers, the inclusion of elements such as identification, attraction and gain in one-to-one mobile phone and related text messaging has begun to be obligatory in order to attach the values presented by virtual dimension to marketing.

SMS Messages Transmission System

The transmission system of SMS messages is provided via an intermediary operator. SMS messages, which are sent to the short message service of the operator, are transmitted to registered masses by the operator. A message can reach all registered telephone numbers excluding those which are not registered. Under the light of feedbacks obtained from the line, whether the registered person is reached can be understood, and it enables measuring and evaluating decisions to be given for continuing the messages. The transfer of news related with different countries or very far, large cities seems functional most of the time in terms of attracting customers.

A major difference of SMS messages from the mass media is that they directly target the individual. Here, an important difference can be explained as the perception of communication-building status as opt in or opt out. With innovations in SMS and related technologies, fast and very significant developments have occurred in communication. For example, the first SMS message was sent in 1992 from a PC to a mobile phone (Saunders, 2002). At the end of the 1990s, businesses in Europe and Asia began to monitor the telephone traffic of customers who communicated through mobile phone numbers. A massive SMS campaign period was observed in the 2000s when the first stage of mobile communication was experienced. In that period, the number of SMS messages exceeded 10 billion per month and SMS began to turn into a new marketing and advertising channel.

With the addition of voice message sending and ringtones, SMS began to be used not only with text characters but also as binary SMS’s. In 2002, MMS messages also began to be used with the development of MMS capable telephones. In 2003, a new subscription structure was created with systems that enable not only communication but also downloading the latest news in the communication and broadcasting sector. In 2006, mobile phones turned into a channel where millions of messages are sent, and the new mobile communication system which was created with other mobile devices took its place among the essential pieces of life (see Table 2).

A marketing approach structured on the main idea that “everybody reads messages received on the mobile phone” lies behind the success of SMS marketing.

Table 2. Advances in SMS and its Related Technology Source: NTT DoCoMo (2003), Sadeh (2002), Trends (2006), etc. in Okazaki, S. & Charles R. Taylor (2008). What is SMS Advertising and Why Do Multinationals Adopt It? Answers from an Empirical Study in European Markets, Journal of Business Research. 61, pp. 4-12
Year Advances
1992 The first commercial short message was sent from a personal computer on December 3, 1992 by Neil Papworth of the Sema Group to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone on the Vodafone GSM network in the UK.
1994 Nokia began featuring the classical work of “Gran Vals” on its wireless phones which became known as its standard ring-tone. The ring-tone was converted into one of the most successful and profitable mobile tools in combination with SMS.
Late1990s The rise of SMS (Short Message Service) advertising began in Europe and in some parts of Asia when businesses started to collect mobile phone numbers and send off commercial content.
1999 NTT DoCoMo developed the i-mode which included a SMS-equivalent service or short mail.
2000 As firms began to send out massive SMS message campaigns, users were informed that there would be a fee for each SMS sent. This led to an immediate and protracted decline in SMS usage.
2001 Nokia began a new service for ring-tones that allow users to change the way their mobile phone rang, using its smart messaging protocol that was built on the binary SMS rather than the standard text SMS.
2002 The first MMS-capable phones started to appear. Different manufacturers introduced MMS technologies in different ways. For example, Nokia included MMS directly into its latest phones while Sony Ericsson introduced phones with EMS (Enhanced Messaging Service). EMS is halfway technology between SMS and MMS, providing some of the features of MMS (e.g. formatted text, simple pictures, simple audio such as ring-tones, and even some animation), and was designed to work with existing networks.
2003 News service providers such as BBC had a simple SMS-based, mobile news service available for some time. Vodafone UK and Fauna& Flora International began to offer a full-featured website, providing a wide variety of conservation news stories (wild life), discussion boards, field diaries, etc.
2006 As of February 2006, SMS-based mobile marketing is still the most popular method in the industry with several hundred million advertising SMS messages sent out every month in Europe alone.

Benefits of SMS As a Marketing Instrument

The benefits of SMS can be considered based on two sets as personal and company-oriented. For individuals, SMS messages are considered reliable, fast, easy, cheap and a safe means of communication. From the point of both companies and individuals, SMS messages are those which give an idea about the targeted subject or which are sent as summary information. Companies are able to organize affective marketing campaigns that reach very extensive, but targeted masses with these messages, and they can make use of a one-to-one marketing opportunity. In a relationship with customers, the message gains a call value through showing an individual approach and making the customer feel that he or she is special. When this call draws the attention of a potential customer, it may trigger the mood for shopping and enable the person to develop a positive behavior. As it provides companies with an opportunity to reach customers anytime, anywhere and almost under any condition; it especially also creates the opportunity of accessing the customer and delivering the messages at hot points.

By increasing the speed of entry into the market, enabling the immediate delivery of information and a document related with any product and service to the target masses in the market, it responds to the time sensitivity of companies racing against the time, and increases the ability of acting fast. Also by presenting time-related offers to customers during suitable days and times, it can create an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction. Mobile communication increases individualization characteristics of the offer to be presented by person to person, company to person or person to company. There is the idea of using a system that rapidly helps enable the possibilities of developing structures which help form interfaces to rapidly meet corporate requests and gain control at every point through mobile communication instruments. Some messages can be transferred directly via mobile phone to all subscribers or spontaneously to the list recorded in the mobile device. Information can be obtained regarding whether sent written messages reach the opposite side or not. This possibility turns into data that guarantees reaching the customers.

Especially in campaigns oriented towards customer portfolios developed upon permission, the benefit of the message to send it to the correct people is maintained and companies can be benefitted by obtaining the expected result according to the purpose and so as to provide it in a manner to converge to that purpose. This can be taken into account as an element which can ensure a higher success level for campaigns. Targeting can be achieved with an influential forecast of campaigns performed through this channel. In the meantime, in order to create a more loyal customer mass and enable the customers to assist manufacturers with their ideas and creativity through their feedbacks, it is also possible to reflect the contribution of the customer to every aspect of marketing.

Mobile communication can be considered as a cost effective and high-income channel. The pre-identification of customer requests and requirements enables both developing the sales of existing products, and obtaining sales information related with sales. Approximately 20% of a rate of return can be obtained with a well-organized SMS campaign. This means approximately 10 times higher return than a newspaper ad and 5 times higher than direct mail. The cost of the message sent per person is calculated as around 10-12 cents. As SMS messages can be used in parallel to other advertising and promotional instruments, they can contribute as being complementary and increase efficiency in every phase of marketing.

Companies that use Internet and mobile communication instruments eliminate the consumption of paper used for brochures, etc., and contribute to sustaining an environment-friendly marketing activity. Thus, unnecessary paper consumption for large scale campaigns is eliminated. For example, as envelopes and inserts of daily papers etc. wastes may turn into an environmental problem, the use of mobile phone and Internet in sending text messages may contribute to protecting the environment by including organizations in the systems developed against environmental pollution.

SMS also creates a difference in mobile marketing strategies and brings advantages:

  • Using a short code to generate subscription without having to pay a high monthly fee to own or maintain it.
  • Enabling people to sign up for the created mobile club or network of the company directly from their cell phone as well as via Web forms.
  • No longer requiring subscribers to give the supplier their carriers as this is automatically determined by the new SMS services.
  • Providing bi-directional interaction of registered members; or example, by asking questions to registered users or calling in return for a message.
  • Increase the impact by creating a communication chain among members.

Although SMS messages do not enable sharing the first contact in a campaign, they can be used as a very good awareness-creator. With this feature, they can be considered with a very strong complementary environment. This environment can be benefitted from very easily in order to trigger any incident. For example, the first contact or inclusion in the audience can be obtained by creating the opportunities to monitor the newly introduced environment or to obtain SMS updates after training or with the messages such as “If you send as an SMS, you may get the last seat to the concert free or win a concert CD”, and then the latter connections can be made via e-mail or SMS (McNabb, 2005).

Opt-In/Opt Out

According to Michael & Salter (2006), opt in is registering into a mail list to receive an e-mail through clicking on an icon or generally checking a dialog box in order to meet the information requirement on certain issues. In mobile, a further step is, to deliver messages within the framework of personal permission of individuals through their inclusion among recipients of messages after they send a message to a certain address, or checking a dialog box in order to meet their demands on issues of interest other than information, such as news, etc.

Opt in is the acceptance of the content by the targeted mass for content upon the recipient’s own will. So, an activity which means giving value to sent messages by the customer is realized. In the ideal situation, they are single message campaigns or easy and open-to-issue messages. The targeted mass in sending these messages are both apparent, and they are the messages where the sender is clearly defined (McNabb, 2005).

Also, according to Michael & Salter (2006, p.98), the user, who decides to stop being included in the target mass of communication should also be able to stop receiving the messages (opt out).

Types of SMS Marketing

SMS marketing differs according to the number of targeted people and features of the message. SMS messages used by work places are SMS message, TV motivated voting, or moment-based warnings for registered customers, customer messages broadcasted on interactive TV, messages related with sales or promotion campaigns, spot-sales oriented messages and even messages used for GPS-based mobile advertisements as a further step (Scannell, 2008). SMS messages can also be separated as written and non-written SMS messages. When considered from person to person, person to organization or organization to person, the elements of written messages are the device, person or persons. However, different environments are expressed as it indicates quantitative differences. Non-written messages can be panels and pictures such as screen coupons. With respect to the number of people to whom the message is sent, SMS messages are separated as individual messages and bulk messages with singular or plural characters. SMS marketing is considered in terms of giving more advertisements and they are considered two types as: text messaging advertisements and pictured message advertisements while the third generation mobile instruments has also gained the opportunity of creating picture messages.

Here, the general focus is on the issues such as the evaluation of any type of virtual content, location data and awareness at content level. The advertising servers of companies are considered as decision-making engines, and advertisement categories can be developed regarding which advertisement messages and when they would be presented to individuals, and the classification of the delivery according to user’s GPS coverage area and search query becomes possible.

Harper mentions the worries on the failure to clearly distinguish which messages are spam and which messages are necessary according to retailers and others depending on the situation (Scannell, 2008). This ambiguity is a situation which would also create bad feelings in terms of customer satisfaction and the failure to create a sufficient benefit with the messages. Furthermore, there are risks of acting according to the rules of a game based on an unsettled law due to the ineptitude of the manufacturer, consumer and intermediary functions. Prevention of the problems that develop in a borderless environment may not be very easy. Protection-oriented layers have been tried to be created in order to prevent problems which reach to the level of giving up, and features to protect personal confidentiality and privacy of the person have been tried to be introduced.

Although the imposition of confidentiality policies and information use rules are against the spirit of mobile communication, they still require being taken into consideration in order to create warning systems which would come into stream in order to prevent the information of third parties about the transactions and the delivery of messages from persons who are not granted with the recipient’s permission. Also psychological information should be considered during the development of the programs which identify the time between calling and decision-making, and when differences could arise in thinking. However, in addition to developing mobile devices which might reduce the technological problems regarding the elimination of the confidentiality complaints, people using these devices should also be educated and such efforts are required to be integrated in education.

User Profile

The SMS user profile is very wide due to the massive or personal use of a communication style which has various features such as being low-cost, full-time, answerable and recordable. It is used by both public and non-profit organizations, and profit-organizations in manufacturing (producer, factory, stock market), science, information, communication (media, mail, informatics), service (health, education, finance, public relations, army), marketing (services, distribution, advertising, human resources etc) with a borderless profile which can be considered according to countries, regions, financial means and coverage area of technologies.

Mass SMS is especially considered and used as an essential requirement of public and nonprofit institutions. Public organizations and institutions have taken their places in the system as good users. Performing even the slightest announcements via SMS allowed all non-profit organizations such as associations, chambers, unions, funds etc. to complete their work fast and with low cost; therefore, these organizations have also been included in the customer profile. In the private sector, people and organizations at each point between the manufacturer and the consumer use mobility for personal or massive communication. The instant announcement of campaigns by retailers and wholesalers of manufacturing companies to related customers with immediate replies from the customers creating an information-dense environment as well as creating customer loyalty are also the important aspects of the user profile. Mass SMS began to be observed as an essential requirement in education, which is demanded by parents; thus, people and organizations that are willing to benefit from the domain of information have also been included in the customer profile. The absence of the student and results of tests have begun to take part among the reasons of preferring private schools.

In addition to retailers and wholesalers, executives and marketers also create a segment with high customer density. The mobile service usage rates of certain segments may vary from one season to another.

For example, towards summer or holiday times, tourism companies begin to use SMS at a high rate while department stores also use them more frequently during national days and festivities. Customers create profiles according to the number of people included in the system and the usage frequency. A mobile system has customers from every section of society from churches to kiosks and restaurants with the inclusion of associations, federations, schools, banks, health organizations and their employees in the customer profile. Everybody can take part in the customer profile by being involved in this system on his or her own account. Bulk SMS has users from almost every section of society.

Bulk SMS

Bulk SMS can be expressed as sending SMS messages directly to a group through a massive communication technique. Its feature is presenting a single SMS message to a wide mass on a single occasion. The sender initially identifies the number and identity of each recipient and creates a group accordingly. The recipients are with a number which might begin from one and reach to a very big number. A sender identity tag is created for each user, and the same defining ID always expresses the same brand when using mass SMS. The most important feature of bulk SMS is that it can be grouped on demand. A message can be sent on demand to created SMS groups with a single command. Many major companies present their products and services through low-cost bulk SMS services.

According to Hensley (2008), approximately a 30% savings have been obtained in the printed media campaign expenditure through bulk SMS’s. Wide network coverage can also be obtained in the wide network zone where bulk SMS is used. This system, which can be comfortably used for convergence and information purposes, provides a deniable contribution for saving time and reducing costs. At present, the senders of bulk SMS are also able to follow up if their SMS’s are received or not. An important function of bulk SMS services is the ability to learn whether the messages are received by the customers on time. Bulk SMS guarantees dispatch to recipients without any geographical borders. Furthermore, they can be sent manually or automatically on special dates or times set by the sender.

Campaigns, discounts, promotions and advertisements can be announced through bulk SMS. A telephone chain can be used for issues that require alerts and warnings. Notices, reminders, greeting and felicitation messages can be sent. Order delivery confirmation data can be sent.

Also, on the modular system developed with B2Mobile instruments, previously used lists can be seen and price modification information can be announced by companies to dealers via SMS messages, and the details of campaigns can be communicated very fast. With this function, B2Mobile accelerates marketing activities and campaign management, ensures the transfer of the entire workflow to mobile environment with automatic SMS messages of order status along with shipment data, and payment warnings, and it is used in producing complete solutions. B2Mobile, which enables dealers to enter their orders with SMS messages, both ensures obtaining information through interrogation of the requested price, stock, campaign, shipment and order data or new developments, and it also creates a highly reliable source to obtain momentary data.

Premium Rated SMS

Premium services are the procurement of services involved with content and recommendation through a phone call, sending a text message or connecting to the Internet via mobile phone or via data connections in return for a service fee. The rate of the fee includes advantages which are announced to users via campaigns or obtained through agreements.

Premium SMS services create a service system that distributes useful and convenient information for buyer via the same network through standard SMS conveyors. At present, it enables people or organizations to obtain the required information for them at any desired moment and through the shortest way. They can provide the latest news on stock share prices, flight information and delays, World Cup and the results of other sports events or games of luck, or provide a search system on any issue which is considered as important. Premium SMS messages are actually similar to standard SMS messages. However, they provide a different service concerning three main issues (Svalasen, 2004).

  1. Immediate delivery of urgent notices to telephone screens.
  2. Interactive chat or immediate delivery of vote counts in polls to the other side.
  3. Summing up and presenting users messages on identified issues on demand.

The configured subscription system for SMS messages and the cost paid for each message can be automatically collected via line. During the calculation of prices for such applications, the distances which identify connection time, connection type and utilization periods are taken as the basis. The calculation units in a connection are based on a price list and they are always demanded according to the price list which is valid at the beginning of the calculation unit. The price differences between services are correlated with the content and size of the service and the distance of the communicated point. Emergency services (police, rescue, fire brigade, etc.) do not require payment. Special circumstances such as the creation of a personal profile page, participation in blogs and forums, uploading media contents such as photographs, texts and games, newspaper feeds, gaining virtual items and/or other services are among the issues of pricing. Buyers accept the service fee in order to obtain a special service in a rather special circumstance with information and activities.

There are certain lines among the funny, handy and informative premium services created by third parties:

  • Fortune telling and horoscope lines
  • Weather forecast
  • TV shows or contest selection lines
  • Dating and chatting services
  • Ringtones and fax back services
  • Test result lines, etc.

Premium SMS services are on demand as they require the payment of a certain rate by customers for the mobile content. Applications such as subscriptions, polls, contests and transfer rates indicate a specific cost for mobile users.

There are two types of premium SMS services in general: sent messages and received messages.

  • Customers are priced according to a certain price list for each SMS message sent to the premium line on mobile system.
  • The customers are priced according to a certain price list for each SMS message received from the premium line on mobile phone.

Premium SMS text messaging campaigns have certain shortfalls. Therefore, sometimes they can fail. Nevertheless, they have recently turned into the most preferred indicating platforms. For example, perhaps American Idol can be considered as one of the most successful companies in this type of messaging. Here, sending votes through both test messages and calling is requested through the contest and among the votes from one to ten, 500 million votes were received by phone call and 50 million as text messages. The difference is probably because phone calls are simpler, more familiar and easier compared to text messaging. The results of the American Idol contest are considered as proof that texting preferences have underdeveloped (Becker, 2007).

In SMS text messaging, there are two important factors which motive acting (Becker, 2007). These are micropayments and costs.

Micropayments are certain conveyors who perform SMS interaction and can also undertake invoicing. This enables fast and easy payment to the audience and this figure is added to the mobile phone invoice or it is deducted from credit.

As the publisher always does for calls that stimulate the masses to act, the participant is invited to take part in the idea that he or she would take a share according to the highest rate. SMS services, which are presented as the opportunity to call certain numbers through unpaid telephone numbers, can actually be considered as cost-increasing elements.

The main problems concerning premium SMS messaging are as follows (Becker, 2007):

  • Limited Income Means
  • Income Margins
  • Reaching the Market
  • Invoicing
  • Interaction Area
  • Reliability
  • Transferability

Telephone or SMS voting system has been introduced for most of the big and multinational contests. The most adored contestants are scored by the individuals from 12, 10, or 8 to one, and the individual contributions are converted into the common value of a country. The participations obtained according to the vote of all countries become determinant in leading the singer of a county to the top. The important issue for these polls is that real-time delivered votes are evaluated and concluded in a period as short as 10 minutes. This listing suggests a fair result as it is not interested in the motivation behind the acts of the audiences like in Eurovision Song Contest.

E-Mail to SMS

These are the systems which enable sending e-mails to mobile phones in seconds as SMS text messages via gateways. Similarly, SMS replies can be converted into e-mails. They are also defined as E-Mail to SMS and SMS to e-mail. Such a service is provided through the conversion of electronic information in the e-mail accounts of automatic and intelligent communication systems as compatible with SMS mobile instruments.

These systems provide the following contributions:

  • Analysis of email and the latter information which are indicated as important
  • Strong protection against SPAM
  • Sending messages via simple and integrated web functions (web 2 SMS)
  • Using a strong and free Webmail customer
  • Creating and delivering messages on mobile devices
  • Scheduling and programming of mobile notices
  • Benefitting from POP and SMTP servers

MMS Marketing

MMS allows users to add to their mobile phone messages various multimedia elements (text, picture, sound, video, animation, etc.) and send the message synchronously with all of its elements in a global messaging standard. MMS was designed in order to benefit from the high transmission potential of third generation mobile networks. Nevertheless, it can also be used via existing GPRS networks. The EMS (Enhanced Messaging Service) standard created a transition between SMS and MMS. EMS can be considered as a great leap in sending sound, graphics and pictures with a content combination that consists of text, melody and simple pictures.

With the addition of picture, music and video files into text through MMS Multimedia messaging or MMS technology, it is now possible to say that mobile phones have become impressive in terms of cinematographic values, and mobile technology has reached a high level. The most evident and interesting difference between MMS and SMS is that it is not limited with text. With MMS, pictures that are taken with digital cameras and transferred to telephones via any way can be sent to recipients on the other side with the same quality. In addition, sound and video can be added to MMS messages. As messaging is possible between MMS compatible telephones, accessing multimedia messages via Internet may also be possible.

Users can see the MMS messages sent to them also via Internet. For example, if the pictures shot on that day are sent to a person via mobile phone, but the receiving telephone is not MMS compatible then it cannot receive the picture. At this point MMS – C comes into stream, warns the receiving party with an SMS and gives the Internet address from which the sent content can be obtained.

Having appeared as an enhanced or enriched version of SMS, the infrastructure of MMS was prepared in order to provide more functions together. Therefore, MMS can be considered as an enriched rather than a differentiated version of SMS. Adding picture, music and video content to text with this technology has enabled watching short videos on mobile video cell phone.

MMS messages differ from SMS messages in that they can communicate the information with a logic based on a different interaction. One of the most interesting aspects of MMS is the language it uses which is named Synchronization Multimedia Integration Language or SMIL (Hansson, 2008).

Comparison of SMS and MMS

  • SMS is a very simple service. It is very easy to use. But attention and effort is required when the sender writes the messages. It has a high impact degree as it is based on monitoring through the use of non-audible and non-text elements. MMS has been introduced with a more complex approach. These two systems have size and content differences in terms of marketing.
  • SMS has a 160 character text limit. Character limitation has been removed with MMS.
  • SMS can be delivered to any device in the market which is able to receive and send messages. MMS can only be sent to the latest technological devices.
  • As not all mobile users have MMS featured phones, they cannot benefit from the given service at a large scale. Due to the problems arising from different aspects, their use by media campaign creators is slowly progressing. This situation can be recovered only after all phones in the market turn into higher technological phones. On the other hand, the customer who is fed up with intense campaigns based on mobile change may also be reluctant to obtain a new phone set.
Table 3. Average Number of Monthly Calls vs. Text Messages Among U.S. Wireless Subscribers
Average Number of Monthly Calls vs. Text Messages Among U.S. Wireless Subscribers
Source: Nielsen Mobile
Calls Texts
Qtr 1, 2006 198 65
Qtr 2, 2006 216 79
Qtr 3, 2006 221 85
Qtr 4, 2006 213 108
Qtr 1, 2007 208 129
Qtr 2, 2007 228 172
Qtr 3, 2007 226 193
Qtr 4, 2007 213 218
Qtr 1, 2008 207 288
Qtr 2, 2008 204 357

The telephones, which are supported with a MMS program content, can be used to message with each other through MMS while they can also continue to reach other telephones through SMS. MMS represents the next step in the evolution of messaging. At present, people do not only take photos, but they are also willing to send them, share them with others and they support the operators’ services in this regard with their demands. MMS adds a new and richer aspect to the short message concept with color pictures, animations, audio-video clips, and face-to-face video messages.

Tendencies towards new contents mean the opening of new income gates not only for mobile operators but also for content and service providers. With its features which make communication more colorful and meaningful, which enable users to express themselves and their emotions in a better way, MMS gradually reinforces its place in communication.

Text Messaging and Speaking

Text messaging is the method which began to be preferred after overcoming the ineptitude in telephone use. According to the data of Nielsen Mobile, a typical US mobile phone user sends and receives more SMS messages than making calls on mobile phone. It is stated that registered mobile phone users in the US sent and received 357 text messages, but made only 204 phone calls on average in the second quarter of 2008. This figure increased by 450% compared to the figures of two years before. It can be considered that similar tendencies are valid for all mobile phone users in the world. SMS is preferred especially due to its low cost, ease of reach to the recipient, speed, ability to store in memory and ability to repetitively read the message. It can be expected to reach the designed dimensions in time and even exceed those dimensions (see Table 3).

According to Nielsen Mobile, age appears as the important factor in the study. According to the results from the invoice data of prepaid mobile phone subscribers of four major service suppliers, subscribers between 13 and 17 years old receive 1742 text messages a month on average while they make only 231 phone calls. However, these figures for those at and over 65 years old are 99 calls and 14 text messages per month on average. According to the results of the same research, it is noted that users at and over 45 years mostly prefer telephone calls instead of messaging, and they prefer the habits from the past. These data also indicate inter-generational differences in mobile approach.