SMS Marketing Campaigns and Consumer Protection

There are rules of engagement in mobile marketing says Michael Becker, Managing Director for North America, Mobile Marketing Association, in a recent article on RCRWireless.

It’s a simple one, but imperative nonetheless: “Protect the consumer, and you protect the opportunity.”

It’s privacy protection he’s talking about, of course, giving the consumer choice at every opportunity to opt-in and opt-out. He’s not referring to how to get consumer opt-in interest: Mr. Becker is more interested in informing the consumer as to what exactly an opt-in consists of. For example — is the opt-in limited to one specific campaign or does it include all future advertising by that company? To be transparent, the marketer also needs to address the frequency of text messages, the content that might be contained in those messages, and the use of the private information given to the business by the consumer.

Obviously consumer ability to opt-out of any SMS marketing campaign must be seamless: an easy STOP message which is immediately effective and the choice to do so provided with every text message.

Marketers must act on the basis that privacy concerns trump all others, including sales and ROI figures. By having a clear cut privacy policy in place before engaging on a mobile marketing plan, contingencies with respect to how identifiable and non-identifiable privacy concerns are to be handled are set out.

A privacy policy is not the same as the terms that govern a mobile marketing program. In one campaign, a marketer may limit opt-in participants to age of majority customers only, for example, while another program may not have any age limit specified. Certain blanket statements should remain for every campaign, though. One is whether or not the text messages are free of charge to the consumer. Casey McConnell, founder and CEO of mobile marketing company, says he typically finds that the majority of mobile users (at 85 percent) have unlimited text plans, making it free for them to receive text messages.

Why bother? Because “your brand is riding on it,” says Michael Becker. “Drop the ball on something as fundamental as consumer choice and control, and you may lose the trust of your audience and your program could backlash – creating customer dissatisfaction, rather than boosting sales, generating awareness for your brand or whatever your objective may be.”

This entry was posted in Mobile Marketing, SMS marketing, Text Marketing. Bookmark the permalink.

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