SMS Marketing vs. Direct Marketing: Which is right for you?

25 April 2012

In this post we look at how SMS marketing measures up to direct marketing. We’ll start with a quick overview of the two methods;

SMS Marketing Advantages Direct Marketing Advantages
  • Compatible with all mobiles
  • Measureable
  • Targeted
  • Trackable with high read rate
  • Send out time sensitive information
  • Competitors do not see your ad until it’s too late for them to react
  • Consumers like receiving offers on their phones (Social Media Add)
  • People nearly always have their mobiles with them
  • Cost effective and helps towards Green credentials .
  • Plenty of space for your message
  • Measurable
  • Can personalise message
  • Targeted
  • Competitors do not see your ad until it’s too late for them to react
  • Audience can physically see and touch your brand
SMS Marketing Disadvantages Direct Marketing Disadvantages
  • May be seen as intrusive for those who do not recall signing up
  • Two-way engagement is dependent on the SMS marketing you choose to undertake
  • Only 160 characters
  • Often considered junk mail and not read
  • Long lead times needed for printing and posting
  • More time and effort required
  • Expensive

Direct mail allows you to develop more creative mailers that can include pictures; you also have plenty of room to provide more detail about your product or service. However, as we all know, when we see leaflets in our mail, we often just throw them out without giving them a second look. This puts far more pressure on the creative to be attention grabbing and engaging, which may require a lot of drafts and testing to get the best result.

SMS messages may be limited in terms of space for content; however, they have a high open rate and are quick to set up making them ideal for time sensitive information and on-the-day reminders or offers. The instant nature of SMS marketing means that consumers can respond quickly and easily, so you can collect results on how your campaign is going straight away.

There is less time required by businesses to create and set up SMS messages, there are no paper or publishing expenses, and no expensive postal fees; a much bigger consideration for companies now that royal mail prices have increased by over 30% for both first and second class mail. This is a clear indication that the postal offering is at risk with customers switching to alternatives including cost effective SMS marketing.

Your target audience is a key consideration when choosing which method will best aid your marketing goals. An audience of retired people may be better targeted with direct mail as many may be less tech savvy than their younger counterparts, and they are also more likely to spend time reading direct mail pieces . SMS marketing may be better suited to a targeted audience who live busy lives and do not have time to read lots of information; responding to SMS messages is also far quicker for them than responding to mailers. It may also open up additional avenues of contact with this audience, by inviting them to join your social network fan sites for more offers, deals and everyday news. In turn giving you more avenues to reach your target market and increase revenue opportunities.

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