Shortcode to Success

Consumer adoption of mobile devices is exploding, and the mobile is emerging as a truly viable marketing channel. Despite issues relating to privacy, spam and the ongoing fragmentation of mobile operating systems, the recent success of some mobile campaigns, based on coupon distribution or voting reveals that consumers are willing to participate in timely and relevant campaigns.

Mobile marketing is at an early stage; thus a winning solution has yet to emerge. What has started to become very evident is that push marketing (i.e. non-requested ad display services and unrequested SMS marketing) is widely perceived by consumers as spam. Also, the ability for companies to track the user in order to optimize the ad-serving capabilities is worrying, since this, too, infringes upon a consumer’s privacy.

Then, of course, there is the app phenomenon, which is more applicable to gaming and social business than a brand marketing business. Recent reports have revealed that mobile users engage with between three and five apps on their phone. Most of these are either gaming or social tools such as Twitter, Skype or Facebook. On average, it has been shown that less than 10 per cent of mobile owners are still using an app one week after they downloaded it. The report goes on to point out that an app is around 10 times more expensive than a mobile site and fifty times less efficient!  (Source: The great App bubble – Huffington Post/ The mobile app is potentially nothing more than the ringtone business for the new generation of phones.

Consumer activation
Ideally, brands need to find solutions on mobile where the consumer can activate the engagement. The theory of a pull-based (requested) service has sat firmly with shortcode marketing. Up until now, however, shortcode marketing has been a local telecom ‘walled garden’ business, based on text messaging.

With the advent of the mobile internet revolution, this gateway must upgrade to provide consumers with a one-step, direct access to personalized mobile experiences. It needs to become easy to deploy for any brand in any market.
TMS has upgraded this shortcode system for URL messaging and fused it with the best-known tool created for the internet, a search engine. The result is an editor of telco-independent shortcodes (numeric or branded) that can be linked to one or more different mobile sites for location-based purposes. This shortcode search engine, called, is accessible by the consumers via a simple web browser or an app. When a consumer nagigates to on their mobile and enters the relevant shortcode promoted by the brand in question., the search engine can retrieve a mobile offer linked to the shortcode, and at the same time analyse the consumer environment (including handset, time and location), to instantly provide a personalized offer. 

As the SMS shortcode system was a gateway between brands and consumers to engage in the exchange of text messages, so the TMS shortcode is a gateway to invite consumers to visit a mobile site via a personalized experience. This gateway enables the consumer to activate from any media, online or off, providing brands with a means to also collect data and metrics.
Access to the internet on mobile is fundamentally changing the way consumers use the web. The ability to interact in real time via consumer-requested  activation is essential when you are a brand considering how to connect with these users. 
For many years, agencies, clients and mobile marketers have tried to use the mobile as a standalone medium. Brands need to consider mobile as the perfect bridge between their media campaigns and consumers, in order to engage in a conversation and deliver truly personalized offers.


Jonathan Ellis is CEO of TheTMSway