We understand buying a new piece of technology for your organization is a big undertaking and has many impacts to the business. You need to be able to quickly evaluate ROI and gather necessary quick facts on who, what, how, and why.
As a leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms 2 years in a row along with over 20 years of expertise in the space, we’re here with the facts and ROI analysis that will help shed light on what you need to know regardless of where you are in the process of buying a mobile marketing platform.
What Is a Mobile Marketing Platform?
A mobile marketing platform is the technology you can use to directly market to your customers on their mobile phones, through channels such as SMS, MMS, Mobile Wallet, and in-app push notifications. Additionally, mobile marketing platforms can integrate with any of your existing marketing platforms (e.g. email) and CRM systems to effectively target your customers with relevant content in their preferred channel.
Why Invest In a Mobile Marketing Platform?
There are 3 primary reasons why investing in a mobile marketing platform will show you the greatest return:
1. Mobile is Leading the Digital Transformation
Today, consumers demand more trust and more connection from brands, and heavily favor relevant and personal communication to build trust. Consumers are also largely on their phones, with over 77% of the US population having a smartphone and over half of those consumers checking their phone at least 5 times a day - a number that is quickly climbing. This change in consumer behavior means a huge opportunity awaits you to transform your brand's technology strategy into a consumer-centric brand experience, with deeper consumer relationships built through mobile.
Consumers no longer interact with brands in-store or online – they simply interact with a brand. Mobile creates seamless unified experiences across all interactions, including in-store, in-app, and online.
For marketers, mobile messaging builds personal relationships with consumers and improves the consumer experience to drive awareness, loyalty, and, ultimately, repeat purchase. Mobile can also be a powerful data engine to fuel incremental revenue growth by delivering personalized and targeted messages based on past consumer behaviors and actions.
The consumer experience and incremental revenue growth do not come from only one mobile channel: it comes from an all-encompassing approach to being an active player in consumers daily lives. Effective mobile marketing includes SMS, MMS, Mobile Wallet (an increasingly popular channel), Push notifications, and App Inbox messages. When using all mobile channels together, brands can increase the reach and retention of consumers.
2. Native Mobile Channels Fill Gaps in the Customer Experience
Mobile messaging complements rather than replaces other brand initiatives, such as email and app. Email and app alone cannot create the loyalty you deeply desire. When it comes to customer experience, native mobile channels like SMS and Mobile Wallet help fill the gap.
Your app connects you to your most loyal customers but leaves a large segment of customers that haven't downloaded the app, making it difficult to reach and engage these customers. Email has the reach you are looking for, but with crowded inboxes it can be difficult to build engagement in a timely and relevant manner.
SMS, MMS and Mobile Wallet, along with Push and App Inbox, can bridge this gap and engage your audience across categories. SMS & Wallet have nearly 100% coverage for your audience as all smartphones natively have SMS and Wallet. The channels work together to enhance the other, and with first-party data, they help improve targeting. All in all, native mobile channels increase engagement, building deeper consumer loyalty, and thus boosting your marketing performance. The results show for themselves: SMS and Wallet have higher ROI on average than email and paid media.
3. Mobile Marketing Platforms Unify Digital Channels
Orchestrating all mobile channels together at once can be a complex undertaking. Brands looking to simplify their digital transformations often elect to purchase a packaged software from a third-party vendor rather than build a custom solution from scratch. The packaged software, or platforms, can provide segmentation and optimization, as well as message deliverability, to help reduce the complexity of a multichannel mobile strategy. Platforms also help brands capture incremental revenue through mobile channels with personalized strategic insight.
All packaged software is not created equally. There are point tools for each mobile channel, such as SMS and App, as well as CRM providers that provide mobile marketing capability add-ons. However, for a holistic mobile marketing approach, brands should elect to work with a mobile provider that includes all mobile channels and has extensive expertise in the industry.
Vibes is the only provider that natively delivers all mobile channels in one unified platform. This means your brand receives segmentation, optimization, deliverability, and strategic guidance for all mobile channels from only one vendor with one contract to maintain.
When it comes to evaluating a new software solution, you as the technology leader have unique priorities compared to your marketing team. You care about the ease of implementation and maintenance of the solution, data security and privacy, message deliverability, and the ROI impact, to name a few. The following sections will break down what you need to know about these priorities to make the best decision for your organization.
What to Look for In a Mobile Marketing Platform
When evaluating any mobile marketing platform, the following criteria should be met to ensure your mobile marketing messages are not only successful, but also comply with consumer expectations and legal regulations that, if ignored, could tarnish your brand reputation and put your business in jeopardy.
This evaluation starts with the implementation of the chosen platform and continues to the maintenance and ongoing management of your program with that solution provider.
During the implementation stage, a quality mobile marketing platform will provide multi-factor authentication, security protocols and compliance review and set-up, as well as strategic overviews to help your team get up and running quickly. This should not require your time beyond setting up passwords or configuring multi-factor authentication on your end per your own specifications. If a platform requires further lift from you, this will slow your speed to market and ultimately impact the consumer brand experience.
Once the platform has been implemented you need it to work as planned. The promise of successfully sending timely, relevant messaging that drives consumer action is lost if the platform you choose isn’t reliable. Whether it’s information on the latest sale or an appointment reminder, no matter the message type you want it to be delivered on time. Just a couple minutes of latency can mean the difference between a good customer experience and a bad one that consumers won’t forget.
Therefore, during the vendor assessment you should discuss platform uptime and message throughput with customer references and ensure that the platform you choose has proven itself over time to be a reliable aggregator, which is the technology that connects SMS marketing application providers to mobile carriers, serving as a gateway to reach consumers.
The Vibes Advantage as a Tier 1 Aggregator
In terms of what it means to successfully deliver a text message to your customers, it’s more than just the sending of the message. It also includes the creation, segmentation, and publishing of a message.
Once a message is created in a mobile platform, it typically needs to be sent to one or more aggregators before being sent to the carriers, who then send the message to the consumer. So, that's at least 3 touchpoints, each with their own throttle, referring to the number of messages they can send per second, before the message reaches your customers.
The number of touchpoints and the throttle at each one makes it challenging for many platform vendors to deliver timely messages at scale.
This is not the case with a platform provider like Vibes who is a Tier 1 aggregator, one of only four in North America.
Unlike other mobile marketing platforms, Tier 1 aggregators do not have additional companies in the middle of the delivery process handling messages from all over the country, which slows processing times and causes delays, queueing and other unseen impacts to message delivery.
Tier 1 aggregators avoid this pain by maintaining direct connections to all of the US wireless carriers. Through these direct carrier connections, Tier 1 aggregation reduces touchpoints for sending messages to consumers’ devices, increasing message deliverability speed 3x faster than other platforms and guaranteeing that when a message is sent from the platform, it’s received.
Tier 1 aggregators can also rapidly scale to meet increased message volumes with their unique ability to ask carriers for greater throughput, ensuring ample, reliable capacity no matter what.
It's important to note Vibes is the only mobile marketing platform with Tier 1 aggregation, making it the most trusted mobile messaging platform available.
Nothing breaks consumer trust faster than a delayed service message, a wrong name in a personalized message, or a broken link during a flash sale. If any issue does occur, it's important your mobile marketing platform is on top of it, with quick responses and a depth of knowledge on how to troubleshoot.
So beyond the platform capabilities also be sure to evaluate the services that come with the package, including a customer service team that is always available and responsive should anything come up. A high-quality customer service team will lessen the workload on your IT team.
Data Security and Privacy
When it comes to data security, be assured your data is safe with a mobile messaging provider.
On its own, mobile messaging platforms typically collect phone number, device type, and carrier information. Beyond that, it is up to your discretion for what data to store or collect within the platform. Commonly, brands elect to collect or match back to their CRM, CDP, or customer information system for name, zip code, location, and email, while more sophisticated programs include purchase preference, behaviors, and more.
With third party cookies coming to an end, Apple's latest app tracking transparency updates and the removal of pixels for email tracking, having first-party data is paramount for current organizations. Mobile messaging is explicitly permission-based, meaning that before you can legally send marketing text messages to consumers, they must first provide clear and conspicuous written consent that they understand they are permitting you to send them marketing-based messages.
This process allows marketers to continue gathering information to make informed inferences on consumer behavior in order to craft actionable strategies. This also makes it easier for your brand to be GDPR and CCPA compliant, building trust with your customers.
As discussed, consumers demand trust, which is built from transparency, value and control, all characteristics of mobile messaging: consumers have transparency into the data you collect through mobile as you ask directly for it. They have control over opting in and out of messaging, as well as the ability to see value in interacting with brands for rewards, offers, and personalized communication.
In summary, mobile messaging platforms provide brands the ability to gather first-party data and analyze it for insights, and no matter the data you specify (the specific data sets are up to you) that data will be secure.
Data System Integrations
In terms of what happens to the data inside the platform, most platforms have native analytics to provide quick insights on the performance of a campaign. There are also integrations available to share data between your existing marketing tools and the mobile marketing platform. These integrations can be helpful in creating holistic person records for consumers and cross-analyzing marketing channels to find insights on consumer behavior. If there is a specific tool you need to ensure mobile connects with, find a vendor with existing integrations or a dedicated team to building it.
SMS Marketing Compliance
In addition to data security and privacy, it’s important to understand that mobile messaging also comes with its own set of SMS compliance rules and requirements. SMS compliance are regulatory rules and laws established by several organizations and legislatures across the country that are to be abided by when sending out marketing text messages.
If SMS compliance isn’t followed steep penalties such as fines or legal action may occur, which is why finding a trusted mobile marketing partner who understands the importance of SMS compliance is critical to success.
Message Send Optimization
Related to message deliverability, message send optimization refers to how mobile marketing platforms organize and prioritize their customer brands' messages at scale to ensure they arrive on consumers' mobile devices at the intended time.
Most mobile marketing platforms take a “First In, First Out” approach to sending messages from their platforms onto the aggregator, which means if one brand is sending millions of messages at one time all other brands will have to wait until those messages clear out of the queue for any of their messages to be sent. This situation is compounded by the aggregator’s similar “First In, First Out” approach, which could lead to messages sitting in various queues for hours before finally reaching the carrier and then the consumer. This can have a negative impact on consumer experiences, especially if service messages, such as same day payment reminders or fraud alerts are delayed.
When assessing a mobile marketing vendor, you should seek to understand how they manage sending messages from their platform to optimize the timely delivery of all their brands' messages.
For instance, Vibes has uniquely designed its platform with three elements in mind:
- Send by Time Zone. Brands can choose to send their messages at a specific time by local time zone. This not only helps maintain the relevance of messages, but also breaks a high number of messages in one send from a single brand into multiple smaller groups.
- Auto Batch by Brand. The Vibes Platform is designed with sophisticated quality-of-service algorithms to ensure that no single brand consumes all of the available throughput. In other words, the platform automatically takes all the messages a brand is sending at one time and divides them into smaller batches of messages. If multiple brands are sending messages at the same time, the platform will alternate between each brand's batches until all messages are cleared from the queue, enabling all messages to go out on time.
- Servicing Message Prioritization. Since individual servicing (informational and transactional) messages are often the most time sensitive and need to be delivered immediately, the platform will prioritize these messages for immediate delivery.
These message send optimization features uniquely deployed by Vibes ensure positive and differentiated consumer experiences by building consumer trust in your brand's communication. No one likes a late texter – not in relationships and not in marketing. That’s why Vibes has earned the trust of so many enterprise brands to handle reaching every consumer within seconds.
The ROI of Mobile Marketing Platforms
We've discussed the qualitative benefits of a mobile messaging provider like Vibes, let's discuss the quantitative ROI you can expect.
At the end of the day, investing in mobile and optimization can drive revenue 74:1. We like those odds, don't you?
Next time your marketing team pings you about a new mobile messaging solution you'll be prepared to make an informed decision based on the factors we discussed in this guide. It's important to remember that the need for mobile is only going to grow and consumers are demanding a higher level of sophistication from brands operating in the mobile space. This requires a solution that unites mobile channels, secures your data, has compliance embedded, and ensures on-time message deliverability. There's many offerings out there in the market, and you're now armed to cut through the noise to find out what really impacts your business and bottom line.
Vibes creates personal and revenue-driving mobile engagement between consumers and the brands they love. Industry leaders like Chipotle, The Container Store and Polo Ralph Lauren use Vibes to activate and grow customer relationships with timely, relevant, high-volume mobile messaging at a global scale. Our intelligent mobile engagement platform enables marketers to seamlessly connect with their customers using an automated, data-rich platform that beautifully optimizes and unifies their SMS, MMS and Mobile Wallet campaigns.
Get in touch with us today to see The Vibes Platform in action and to learn more about how we can help you drive profitable results for your business.