Text messaging has always been the most reliable and straightforward channel of communication. Whether we are talking about staying in touch with your loved ones or interacting with your favorite brands, SMS offers you a simple and intimate way of doing so, using nothing but your mobile phone. And although the invention of smartphones and apps has enriched the processes through which we communicate, people often return to text. Yet the demand for richer and more interactive texting has been present ever since MMS and it seems like we are closer than we’ve imagined to understanding how the future of messaging will look. But what does this mean for businesses and marketers?
In 2018, the worldwide revenue of the application-to-person SMS market amounted to $47.1 billion. With more and more companies implementing strategies and campaigns with the help of text message marketing, customers are becoming familiarized with the benefits of communicating with the brands they use. However, technological advances, the lack of time, and the need to simplify day-to-day interactions have made developers interested in coming up with something better.
Rich Communication Services (RCS) is an emerging technology that businesses and brands should be embracing from early stages as a step towards the next generation of SMS, and therefore of text message marketing. Conversational engagement is a metric that all marketers need to account for in the drafting of their strategies, as customers are looking to interact with brands in a conversational manner. With benefits such as allowing companies to send more interactive messages, and thus more useful, RCS – albeit not yet fully adopted and integrated with mobile networks – is a technology everyone needs to be aware of.
The GSM Association took on the challenge of rich communication services back in 2008. Supported by more than 30 vendors and operators, the integration of rich communication services with the GSMA future plans of development began its testing phases in Finland. Ten years later, RCS is making its way into various industries with trial runs and implementations in cases such as enhanced customer service. Statistics from the GSMA demonstrate 159 million people are already using RCS.
Given the results based on case studies and the experience of brands and companies implementing it, but also the customer demand for a richer communication channel, it is expected that RCS will start to enter public consciousness in 2020. This means brands need to keep up with technologies need to start integrating sms marketing into their marketing strategy now to build their text message marketing customer databases to be in a position of leveraging RCS once it becomes mainstream.
If we want to have an insight related to the impact of RCS and apps usage and how users might respond, we need to first know what are the most popular categories of apps. Statistics show that as of July 2018, apps in the following categories had a marketing reach over 90% in the United States:
Yet these are also apps with features that can easily be replaced by features of rich communication services. Therefore, considering recent trends, we might be tempted to believe that rich communication services can kill the use of some apps, especially some we are now thinking of as being highly popular. It is not only the case of messaging apps, but also apps that allow you to be in touch with customer service, make online reservations, food delivery apps, online shopping apps, and others.
Mobile applications have become such important parts of our daily lives that, for most of us, it is significantly difficult to comprehend how could we ever need them less, or not at all. Yet that is the case with all new technologies, which we later embrace as part of our day-to-day experiences. Rich communication services can improve the way we interact with our mobile phone, but most importantly, the way we interact with others. Either we are talking about person-to-person or business-to-consumer interactions, a messaging channel that can offer you the best of several apps is definitely something that needs considering.
One of the most tedious aspects of keeping in touch with your customers through mobile applications is having to convince them to install an app and make sure either have it open or open it when they wanted to connect with you or your services. With the help of RCS, all app-related marketing can be highly simplified, thus allowing customers to feel more comfortable in their engagements. Solutions such as proximity marketing can also benefit from RCS technologies, especially when considering less ideal options such as beacon-based proximity marketing.
With RCS messaging you can improve solutions for all industries. Whether you manage a hotel and want to offer your guests a more interactive experience, or you own a retail business that aims to update the way you are presenting your offers to customers, you can do so with RCS. They key is to understand its usage, and make sure that you are already taking the necessary steps towards implementing it.
Improving your efforts related to customer opt-in, building stronger databases, further developing SMS marketing campaigns, and turning to more complex marketing strategies based on texting are amongst the best business decisions you can make in relation to RCS.
Will rich communication services kill apps? The answer to this question depends on customers and the moment in which they will fully recognize RCS as dependable technology for their daily needs. Considering the available case studies, statistics and demos, RCS is doing very well at taken on the role of communication, entertainment, shopping, and utility apps. Therefore, if your marketing strategies rely on application-based interaction, it is mandatory that you consider RCS as a viable and trustworthy future marketing strategy.
Not making this decision now will severely impact the way your business handle RCS technologies and strategies in the future. Also, if you are implementing text message marketing strategies, you need to make sure that your current plans will allow for a smooth transition to RCS, whenever you will want to take that step. Keeping your marketing strategies up-to-date and in line with new industry developments is easier when done in a step-by-step process, and your awareness of this fact will help customers always see your business as a dependable solution.
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