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Want to do effective customer care in West Africa? Why mobile messaging beats TV, radio and print every time

Want to do effective customer care in West Africa? Why mobile messaging beats TV, radio and print every time
Want to do effective customer care in West Africa? Why mobile messaging beats TV, radio and print every time

All over the world, people are switching off their TVs.

Have they grown bored of looking at screens? Well, no. Not really. Instead, they are just turning their attention to the smaller screens in their hands and pockets.

Yes, the mobile phone is winning the battle for people's attention.

Official figures provide some proof. According to one American study, people aged 35+ spend 40 percent of their screen time watching TV. For those aged 13 to 24, it's just 13 percent.

This trend is being repeated across the planet. Everywhere, consumers are switching off their TVs and switching on their phones. The app industry analyst says that consumers in 12 countries now spend more than 4 hours a day in apps.

But people don't need apps, smartphones and data plans to enjoy their time on mobile. There is huge demand for simple text content served to the most basic feature phones.

What does this all mean for large enterprises who want to keep in touch with their customers?

Well, it's great news. There was a time, not so long ago, when the only way to reach large groups of people was through established 'analogue' channels such as TV, radio and billboard.

Not anymore. Now, there's the mobile phone. More precisely, there's SMS.

Now, obviously, the old media channels work perfectly for some scenarios. Let's say you are launching a new product to the mass market – a soft drink, for example. You want as many people as possible to see it and remember the name.

Your goal is awareness.

Is this instance, you would be right to choose TV, radio, posters etc.

But when your aim is to send out customer care information? Or target a smaller cohort of customers? Or seek out replies from your audience?

Now you need mobile.

Here at Alchemy, we find that many west African enterprises still think in terms of old-school media channels when they want to talk to customers. It's understandable. They have always done it this way.

However, it's now time for a re-think.

Here are eight reasons why you should switch to mobile messaging.

1. SMS is cheaper than TV

A TV campaign is a huge investment. There are actors, directors and editors to pay. There are locations to book and ad slots to buy. A shoot takes several days. You will probably pay ??? for a TV ad or full-page newspaper ad.

By contrast, a message campaign  that reaches 10,000 people will cost you only ??. And it’s so quick. When you compose your message on the Alchemy dashboard, it can take just a few minutes to compose and press send.

2. SMS is more 'targetable' than TV and radio

Traditional media is like a fire hose. It sprays out its message to everyone who happens to be watching, hoping someone will listen (read, watch, etc).

Mobile messaging is precise. Let's say you only want to send an alert to your female customers, or customers in a given region, or those over 50. Well, you can. You simply find and select the right segment your customer database.

3. An SMS message is more detailed than a broadcast campaign

On TV and radio, enterprises have to repeat the same message again and again. They hope the buyer will respond if they see the campaign repeated frequently enough.

But with a mobile message campaign, enterprises can provide much more information. You can add detail over a series of messages. This way, you can give the customer an opportunity to learn everything they need to know about your product/service before they take the next step.

4. You can keep an SMS

Text messages stay on the phone. They don't go anywhere – unless the recipient deletes them. In this sense, messaging is an 'asynchronous' medium. It gives the busy customer an opportunity to read now and reply later. With traditional media, the message vanishes as soon as it is broadcast.

5. You can reply to a text message

SMS is two-way. It gives you the chance to hear back from your customers, and even start conversations. You can make things even easier for people if you buy a memorable short code. Alchemy can help you acquire one, so you can print it across your POS, in-store, web site etc. None of this is possible with traditional media channels.

6. With SMS, you can measure results

There's a famous phrase a department store owner used to describe how difficult it is to measure the results of traditional media advertising. He said: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half".

When it comes to traditional media like print or TV, it’s very hard to assess the impact of a campaign. You might spend thousands of dollars on a TV ad but have no way of tracking the return on investment.

You can never really know how many saw your ad. How many liked it. How many responded to it. How many saw it but didn't respond. Yes, there's an industry based on polling and consumer surveys, but even their measurement methods are imprecise and based on guesswork.

With mobile messaging, you can track all activity on a dashboard. You can see how many messages were delivered, and how fast they were opened. You can see who responded. You can look at all the replies. Most of all, you can check your ROI.

7.  With SMS, you can do A/B testing

Every marketer and customer care manager knows that some messages are more effective than others. You can vary the wording, the length, the design etc. Every change can impact your RoI. But tweaking your message is almost impossible on traditional media. It simply costs too much and takes too long to run multiple campaigns at the same time.

Not so on SMS. With a text campaign, you can experiment. You can run two different campaigns at the same time – A/B testing – and study the results to see which works best. Over time, you can keep refining until you have a rock solid approach.

8. Mobile messaging is instant and 'any time'

In a mobile campaign, there's no constraint on when you send your message. You can send at 4pm or 5am. It's up to you. Either way, your message will be delivered. On traditional media, you are at the mercy of available 'slots', and you have to book weeks in advance.

It should be pretty obvious by now that mobile messaging is a compelling option for virtually all types of customer outreach. It beats traditional media in most criteria.

If you haven’t tried it yet, don’t worry. Here at Alchemy, we make it really easy to get started. All you need is a few minutes to register and you can be sending your first messages in no time.

For more information, please contact us here (