We’ve all heard the hype over the past 10 years with media and bloggers proclaiming that today is the day SMS died. Heard these before…

  • MMS will kill SMS
  • ‘Push to talk’ will kill SMS (actual quote from a  Telco executive)
  • Blackberry Messenger will kill SMS
  • Email on Smart Phones will kill SMS
  • iMessage has killed TXT

Poor wee 160 character SMS/TXT messaging  is the first victim in the marketing of any new service and the first to be bullied in the media and by bloggers.  It’s a simple victim too.  It doesn’t  need the spotlight, nor want it.  It cant afford the spotlight as there is no owner of it with a huge marketing budget ready to declare it the next big thing.  Even, 20 years ago, when it was the next big thing, it was launched without fanfare and never really took off until the kids got hold of it and made it an indispensable part of youth culture that grew up as they did.

“The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from”

– Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Anyone that has to buy a replacement part for anything from an old vacuum cleaner to a computer knows that standards change but with the GSM standard nearly 20 years old it has proven to be a rarity, a standard that has been adopted by every handset manufacturer, telco and mobile operating system maker in the world today.  Do these people only support SMS?  Of course not!  They add some proprietary software too to lock users into their ecosystem such as iMessage, Blackberry Messenger, IRC or any other flavour of the month.  What they wont do though is kill plain, old, victimised, SMS.

Question: What do you do when you want to send a message to your target mobile market.
You have a database of 2000 people.  They MUST know about the VIP Only Night on Sunday.

iMessage will get 15% of them if you can broadcast it.  BB Messenger will hit maybe 3% of them (and really they are too old to be coming to your hot new club anyway).
What about email?  About 30% of those will get opened and the rest ends up in a can of spam.
Never mind, you’re on Facebook and so are most of your clients but the chances are your post will get lost in the stream of Farmville neighbour requests.

So, what do you do?
Easy, you hit all these different channels like a shot gun spraying into a tree and hope for the best and you might get a few leaves falling on you for your effort.

Or, you hit your customer in a place they care about deeply, their SMS inbox.

Every single one of the important people in your life has a SMS/TXT capable mobile device no matter how trendy and bleeding edge they are nor how Luddite they may be with their old Nokia 3210 (ok, a few Luddite might prove me wrong here) or trapped in a CDMA contract from 1994.

SMS is the only true cross device carrier communication method that gets both a delivery rate AND a high response rate.
Used carefully it is the preferred choice for communicating with your clients.  Don’t forget though, treat your customers with respect, honour their requests to stop sending them messages, realise that their SMS inbox is sacred ground and you will go far.

SMS may lose ground to kids IMing each other on the subway rather than TXTing, but it’s future is still looking good if you need to reach a broad range of people quickly and easily.

Who would have thought, SMS, the ugly duckling of GSM, the quiet achiever and the beat up victim of all new tech is turning out to be marriage material unlike the geeky bloke who was the captain of the college chess club, no one likes that guy.

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