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Don?t cut SMS out of mobile strategy: panelist

ORLANDO, FL - As brands continue to incorporate mobile bar codes, advertising and content into their mobile campaigns, it is important not to forget about the significant role that SMS plays in consumer engagement, per panelists at a CTIA Wireless 2011 session.

Panelists during the ?Mobile Limbo ? Brand Perspective: What Does the Brand Need to Make the Leap into Mobile?? session discussed how mobile is the galvanizing medium for multichannel unification, providing efficiencies in a time-starved world and adding value to the lives of shoppers. The panel was moderated by Hans Fredericks, senior vice president of comScore, San Francisco.

?We want to figure out what the return on your mobile objective is - whether its a mobile site, applications or a campaign,? said Courtney Acuff, vice president of Denuo Group, Chicago.

?The strategy again comes from trying to pinpoint that content and value to drive that user engagement," she said. 

According to Ms. Acuff, there is still fragmentation and metric issues.

First companies should focus on executing their mobile marketing campaigns, but then they should focus on the analytics aspect.

?I?m pleased by the level of success that companies have with some of their mobile initiatives," Ms. Acuff said. ?It?s the analytics and reporting that sets us back a little bit, still."

Focus on SMS
According to Jody Haneke, president of Haneke Design, Tampa, SMS is just as important to have as a mobile Web strategy.

?Somebody entering a sweepstakes after a call to action to further that brand experience is the type of things that brands should be thinking about,? Mr. Haneke said. ?Then you can deliver rich media content to that point.

?There are a lot of brands that are joining bits and pieces of it and they?re working with companies on their mobile initiatives,? he said. ?They?re really seeing it as a completely integrated experience.
Steve Bair, vice president of Velti, San Francisco, agreed that having some sort of call to action is important.

?You need to have some kind of call to action to get somebody engaged,? Mr. Haneke said. ?That?s the only way that you?re going to get those results.

?We look to mobile as a superset,? he said. ?We?re going to use broadcast and print to drive engagement to the mobile device.

Mobile knowledge
The panelists agreed that incorporating SMS in some way helps further the brand?s engagement with consumers.

Whether it is a simple call to action or a way to grow a company?s database, companies should focus on incorporating SMS into their marketing strategies.

?SMS is where all the action is today,? said Josh Weinrobe, director of Turner Networks, Atlanta. ?There?s just a whole lot of opportunity still in the SMS component of mobile marketing.

?While SMS is still the main stage, I think there?s a fair and healty amount of experminetation in the emerging components of the mobile marketing mix.

According to Mr. Weinrobe, there is also a certain amount of interest with applications.

?As a media company, we never look at mobile as an isolation,? Mr. Weinrobe said. ?Whenever we look at any mobile initiative, at the end of the day we?re going to generate more interest on a television program.

?It?s important to know who your user is and what kind of phone they?re using,? he said. ?There?s also the analytics piece and unfortunately, the quality analysis is quite poor.

?It takes time. If you look at time to invest in mobile, it?s going to take some tries.?

Final Take
Steve Bair is vice president of Velti