By Nick Millward, Vice President Europe at mGage and Board member of aimm
In recent years, smartphones have become the standard and with 95% of smartphones being used daily, coupled with the innovative capabilities and growing impact on our lives, it is a trend that businesses across all sectors need to pay attention to. In turn, Over-the-Top (OTT) applications, or ‘social messaging apps’ such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SMS text messaging have enabled brands to start conversations with consumers more directly and personally than ever before. However, the format and content that brands share with consumers is crucial to the success of the customer engagement.
As technology advances, smartphones continue to evolve and customer attitudes shift, brands need to consider methods that provide not only rich and engaging content via messaging but conversational commerce as a way to interact with consumers. With more than half of 25-34 year olds and 18-24 year olds favouring a messaging service or chatbot over picking up the phone to contact a business, it is evident that brands are facing a growing demand amongst the younger generation for rich conversational messaging that is not set to subside.
Despite the new technologies entering the market, text-based SMS is a communication channel that is highly unlikely to ever be replaced. This is because text messaging is still widely used and remains the preferred platform for brands to communicate with their consumers for critical applications like one-time passwords, reminders and balance updates. However,for brands to get the most out of their communication tactics they need to listen to what their consumers want. Sadly, more than half of consumers say they find marketing messages boring and would much prefer messages that are well targeted and well designed, using images and video content to bring the messages to life. This is where Rich Communications Services (RCS), the latest development in the evolution of mobile messaging, can really hold its own.
With the capability to provide a richer experience for users and the ability to encompass multimedia that incorporate offers and coupons, brands are able to open up their communication channels to consumers and offer alternatives that are personal to them. Consumers today, particularly among the younger generation, are more willing to engage via messaging that is interactive and delivers a much rich media experience. This is good news for brands wishing to expand their consumer experience.
Our latest whitepaper unearthed some interesting statistics with perhaps the most telling being that consumers of all ages wants brands to do better – to bring engaging and exciting offers and content to them in an easily-accessible format that makes them confident to buy more. The best way to do this is to utilise rich content messaging and multimedia for marketing communications to attract the attention of consumers. RCS also brings a more conversational and interactive messaging experience in line with the demand by the younger generation to text a brand rather than pick up the phone. Utilising chatbot elements and the functionality of suggested actions and responses, brands are able to direct their consumers to the information they require more quickly and easily than trying to navigate through a clunky Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
With technology continually advancing and customer attitudes shifting towards more message-focused platforms, brands worldwide have access to innovative solutions that have the capability to transform the way that they communicate with consumers. Driven by the demands of millennials and next-gen, brands need to consider solutions that are in line with the expectations of future generations and adjust their communication strategies to meet these, if not they could see a huge impact on the success of the business.
As the adoption of more interactive and rich media messaging platforms become more prevalent, brands will be able to communicate directly with their consumers, target likely prospects more effectively, gain better campaign analytics and offer unparalleled customer service through instant responses and notifications to ensure that they give the consumers of the future the communications that they not only want but come to expect.