Why This Mobile App Only?

Exactly how any apps do you think a consumer can have on her mobile? And how many apps do you think a consumer really needs on a regular basis? Yes, I do understand that amount of data a brand can access if the user has installed its app is phenomenal and that a brand gets to provide more focused experience to users through apps. But are these reasons enough for you to force install your app to consumers? Are those installs sustainable?

My views as a consumer on this latest app-only fetish at – Medium

SMS Marketing or Bombarding?

Yesterday I attended a session on “Mobile Marketing and its immense concealed potential in India”. While I agree to some of the points and as a marketer I am absolutely aware of the potential and different channels of mobile marketing in India but when it comes to execution I can’t help myself from heaving a frustrated sigh on this term known as “Mobile Marketing”. I will not go into deeper details of why and what, I will just cite few examples of my recent experiences with one of the most basic tools of Mobile Marketing which is SMS based promotions:

  • Date: 23rd Nov’08. Sender: Orange Holidays. Text of the SMS:
    • FREE LCD on booking today to Bangkok / S’Pore / Malaysia / Dubai @ 2500 including Airfare, Stay, B’fst, S’seeing. Taxes Extra. FREQUENCY of this SMS: Got the same message 4 times in 45 minutes! Well, it’s from Orange and it had to be this loud I guess.


  • Date: 24th Nov’08. Sender: 12900. Text of the SMS:
    • Searching for a Friend?? Call 12900 & say MUJHSE DOSTI KAROGE to make New Friends. FREQUENCY of this SMS: 2 every day for almost 1 week now! Wish there could have been a short code to reply and I would have replied: NO NO NO! Mujhe kisi se dosti nahi karna hai!!! Huh, what a wrong targeting, age as well as profile wise!


  • Date: 24th Nov’08. Sender: Some unknown number. Text of the SMS:
    • Kerala Holiday packages, House Boats, Tree House, MUNNAR, Backwater / Beach resorts/ Taxis.CNT-elaecoland.com. FREQUENCY of this SMS: 7, yes 7 in 1.5 hours!!!


  • Date: X, Y, Z…1,2,3 (list is so huge that I’ve lost the count). Sender: Airtel. Text of the SMS:
    • Are you aware of your Mobile rates on Roaming? On your rateplan, roaming & local calls cost the same! Receive / make calls while roaming across India at Re 1/min. FREQUENCY of the SMS: Phew!!! Infinite I guess… including 2 reaching me at 2 and 2:30 am in the morning! Now how am I supposed to react??? I just wanna tell Airtel guys that not only I am aware rather by now I have remembered this SMS by heart, thanks to the non-stop bombardment from your side!


  • Date: 24th Nov’08. Sender: WIN. Text of the SMS:
    • WIN WIN WIN! Answer this simple question & take home 1 kg of gold and a brand new FORD IKON car! SMS A or B to this blah blah blah number. FREQUENCY of this SMS: Infinite, trust me infinite times on my Tata Indicom number. Oh, how I wish winning 1 kg of gold would have been so simple as these crap SMSes show. Gawdddd I see a WIN as first word and immediately press DELETE! I DO NOT want to get the same moron question everyday and neither I wanna win a ford ikon or 1 kg of gold at all!!!

Well, these are just few of the SMSes which I received in last two days, not to mention that while I was attending this session on mobile marketing, I received not 1 or 2 rather 11 promo SMSes. I as a customer am so distressed with such SMS barrage that most of the time my only reflex reaction with these SMSes is DELETE! I had earlier also written about Fate of SMS Marketing and with increasing instances of such forced SMS nuisances I can’t stop myself from expressing my distress yet again. I really doubt on the so called potential of this mobile marketing in India. Isn’t this marketing channel getting over-abused the same way as email marketing in India?  Don’t you think that not only content of such promotion lacks innovation but execution needs some serious attention as well? We are anyways listed as one of the top email spammers in the world, I’m wondering when we are going to top the list of SMS spams as well!


Fate of SMS Marketing???

Now this is the 6th SMS in last 5 minutes! As usual, SMS starts from WIN blah blah blah and here goes my immediate reflex reaction, Press DELETE! This is the fate of most of the SMSes which I receive these days. In 99.99% of the cases, I delete the SMS without even reading the second line as the first three words itself tell that this is yet another stupid promo SMS. Almost every SMS promises me XYZ Car, 1 Kg of gold, 1 lakh cash price, Holiday in Switzerland or dinner date with Kareena Kapoor! And to the pain of those SMSes are the pre-recorded advertisement calls which suddenly comes in esp. when you are in the mid of something important. Even after opting for those do not disturb services, there is just no respite from those WIN, WIN, WIN SMSes and “Hi, I am Ram Gopal Verma…” kinda pre-recorded messages”.

Mobile advertising is really hot these days in India simply because of the penetration factor. For every internet user there are 5+ mobile users in India. SMS marketing is relatively a nascent concept but still it has taken off in a big way. I had read it somewhere few days back that of about 30 million short messages exchanged in India every day, an estimated 7 million SMSes are exchanged between short-code operators and consumers every day. (Don’t remember the exact source of info for this data). There is no dearth of SMS marketing companies in India now and suddenly we see lots of players jumping into this game.

Though the SMS advertising industry seems promising enough in India but one very big drawback which I am observing in this industry is the lack of right and attractive content. Almost every other ad by any brand just looks like another “me too” offer. Everyone is using this WIN WIN WIN funda with absolutely zero creativity in content. Now com’on, today’s consumer is not fool enough to believe on promises like 1 kg gold or 1 lakh cash prize. Most importantly if every other SMS is promising the same thing then you know how credible these offers are! Next key deterrent is the timing & frequency of these SMSes. In the mid of an important meeting if you receive 6 SMSes in 5 minutes then you know what will be the fate of those SMSes! Considering the mobile phone usage in India, SMS marketing is definitely one of the brilliant promotional mediums to reach masses these day but even very powerful marketing tools can have a very early fatality if not used properly Remember what rage email marketing was and what doom it had because of the abusive over-usage of this medium by promoters and service providers. I am wondering if SMS marketing is also trailing the same path.