Mobile marketing and m-commerce

Advantages and disadvantages of SMS marketing


Text messages or short messaging service (SMS) messages are the messages that people send from their mobile phones.

Text messaging enables information to be sent to groups of people quickly and conveniently in much the same way as email, making it an increasing popular e-marketing channel.

Advantages of SMS marketing

The benefits of SMS marketing include:

  • The personal nature of mobile phones make SMS marketing a very powerful tool.
  • Most people take their mobile phones everywhere - meaning they can be effective for time sensitive messages.
  • People tend to read virtually every text they get - unlike junk mail, spam or adverts which can be ignored.
  • Can be used with information from your customer relationship management system to target customers past on their past purchase behaviour.

Potential disadvantages of SMS marketing

Some of the downsides include:

  • Your message has to be short - you do not have much space to get your message across.
  • People respond negatively to unwanted texts. Make sure you have their permission to send them texts and that your SMS marketing complies with privacy and data protection rules. See privacy and data protection in direct marketing.
  • People are wary of responding to SMS messages due to an increase in fraudulent messages. Under the E-commerce Regulations, you are required to make it clear who the message is from and commercial communications must be clearly recognisable as such. For more information, see selling online and the law.


You will need to employ a mobile phone agency to send out the texts for you. Companies tend to price their services by packages - so check their delivery rates and make sure the support services are satisfactory. You can also brand your messages so you send messages from your company name, not just your number. The development of 4G (fourth generation) and smartphones, which have larger screens and can play music and video clips, has also made multimedia messaging service (known as MMS) possible.

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