Selecting an SMS Provider

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1 brought to you by waterfall mobile Brought to you by Waterfall Mobile Selecting an SMS Provider How to identify the best provider to integrate SMS into your digital communication strategy now and going forward.

2 4 factors differentiate SMS providers: 1 Software 2 Compliance 3 Support 4 Integration

3 Software Technology moves fast. Innovation moves faster. Companies looking to launch SMS marketing must find a provider that excels not only today, but also over the long term. Seek out a software platform with a full suite of SMS engagement tools built on top of an underlying structure that seamlessly integrates new channels as they become mainstream. For analytics and CRM, verify that list segmentation, A/B testing, dynamic field insertion, campaign tracking and API connectivity all come standard. Remember, today SMS marketing no longer looks like, "Here, read this message." Consumers expect more dynamic and personalized messaging. And tomorrow? Further evolved, better targeted and more utility. Take steps to verify that a provider can - and will - keep up.

4 Key Considerations Some providers offer extensive options for customization it never hurts to ask what is and isn t possible. Select a provider according to total cost of ownership, not up-front cost. Look for providers that have demonstrated capabilities not just keeping up with, but staying ahead of the curve, both from a channel and data management perspective. Software Q s for vetting providers: What s your strategy for helping us manage data and monetize customer insights most effectively? What s your vision for SMS marketing going forward? How does your system manage the introduction and integration of additional messaging channels? What analytics options do you provide for calculating ROI? What are the ways that I can add to, enhance and track customer use and redemption of my mobile initiatives? Cutting to the The Bottom Line Choosing an SMS provider only for short term wins ignores the total cost of ownership and pace of technology innovation. Find a provider focused on customer data. This ensures that success powering today s solutions will carry over to tomorrow.

5 Compliance Arriving after direct mail and , the mobile messaging industry both benefits and suffers from its position as a second-mover. Determined to avoid industry-stifling SPAM, mobile messaging s governing bodies put several controls in place to eliminate unwanted messaging. Some of these controls prevent SPAM proliferation by introducing compliance monitoring and auditing, whereas others hinder rapid growth and widespread usage. Work with a provider that diligently addresses compliance rules and regulations as part of standard practice to secure compliance as a competitive advantage.

6 Key Considerations Some providers provide no service for compliance and audits. Be prepared to handle internally, as audit penalties will derail campaign success. Experienced providers manage compliance for several customers and will increase efficiency for some tasks, such as the 8-10 week new short code provisioning process. Compliance Q s for vetting providers: What relationship do you have with the mobile industry s governing bodies, such as the CTIA and Mobile Marketing Association? How do you handle carrier regulations such as the carrier disconnect lists? What is your process when my mobile messaging program gets audited by the CTIA? What successes have you had managing compliance for your clients in the past? Cutting to the The Bottom Line Work with providers to develop an action plan for compliance monitoring and escalation. Compliant campaigns double as the most effective. In today s marketplace, consumers automatically reject unsolicited information.

7 Support Customers have two expectations for text messaging: interactive and immediate. Consequently, an SMS delivery outage will more severely impact frustration and dissatisfaction than a hiccup on another channel. Seek a provider that has a responsive support system in place to proactively handle intermittent issues. The best support teams will go beyond transactional updates and inform you of campaign strategies to positively impact the bottom line. Keep in mind, just because something works does not mean it s complete. Find support professionals who uncover solutions to delight end users on top of providing them with requested information.

8 Key Considerations Request references to gain insight into the experience of working with a provider s support group. Feel free to scale support needs with your mobile experience. Start off with hand-holding that you can grow out of rather than the other way around. Support teams are not created equal. Ask probing questions to find out which teams have a firm grasp on the industry s regulations. Support Q s for vetting providers: What s your escalation process for any technology breakdowns? Who provides first-level versus second-level support when end users request assistance? What types of end user experience issues does your solution specifically solve? Which departments handle technology outages and end user support? How do your support services add value? Cutting to the The Bottom Line Without a strong support group, intermittent outages can become full scale customer issues, which will increase churn. A support team needs to monitor customer inquiries to ensure that user experience improvements receive appropriate attention.

9 Integration Consumers use mobile devices for everything, from shopping to socializing, browsing, searching, researching and reviewing. As a result, superior SMS marketing deployments integrate text messaging with other communication initiatives. For starters, consider operational alerts, which draw on the same technology as SMS messaging. Customers seeing a healthy balance in their bank account should also have the option of seeing what bank plans would help them achieve their savings goals. Other potential integration points include , social media and push notifications. Choose a provider with a crosschannel understanding of customer interaction to increase customer satisfaction and digital media ROI.

10 Key Considerations Take a phased approach to crosschannel integration. Trying too much too soon with result in analysis paralysis. As opposed to multichannel, which focuses on individual communication channels launched in a silo, find providers that put customer data at the center of a multi-faceted interaction strategy. Integration Q s for vetting providers: Can you tell me about your API goto-market strategy? What support services do you offer for platform integration? What useful data can I extract from both operational alerts and marketing messaging to create a more profitable customer communication strategy? What types of monitoring systems do you have in place for fluid connectivity between integrated systems? Cutting to the The Bottom Line The customer/brand conversation needs to take place across channels in order to replicate modern communication. Request insight into providers prior client experience and robustness of their API. Find out how providers plan to provide cross-channel analytics data crucial for calculating improvements in mobile-induced customer lifetime value.

11 Summary Choosing the best SMS provider requires understanding the total cost of ownership, which includes setup, software development, ongoing software maintenance, database management, campaign services and software features. Providers that position themselves as strategic technology partners will offer a mobile messaging product that can continuously deepen and enrich customer engagement and lifetime value. The next two pages are a checklist for comparing SMS providers. Use this as a guide for vendor conversations make sure to add fields and questions depending on the specific needs of your company s marketing program.

12 SMS Vendor Comparison Checklist Platform Feature Detail Vendor #1 Vendor #2 Vendor #3 Access Dashboard access & self-service login Multiple accounts & simultaneous usage Subscription for single & double opt-ins Send, schedule & trigger messages Campaign Types Tag & collect metadata Sweepstakes & text-to-win Polling & data validation Dynamically-pulled & pushed content Subscriber & List Management Reporting & Analytics Target messaging via any customer data (e.g. zip, store ID, gender) Customizable reports available via dashboard & API

13 Platform Feature Detail Vendor #1 Vendor #2 Vendor #3 Roles & permissions for multiple users Additional Capabilities Activate 1-to-1 conversations via catch-all inbox A/B testing & segmentation Passbook & mobile coupons integration Services Data Collection & Hosting Full-service provisioning, certification, hosting & maintenance Unlimited, via dual direction messaging, online and API Authentication: verify API sessions for authenticity Subscribers: manage subscriptions, messaging history & profiles API Functionality Account: manage roles & permissions Campaign: create, edit and export campaigns Segmentation: create, edit and target metadata Reporting: generate reports on individual and aggregate campaign success

14 brought to you by waterfall mobile Don t just message. Have a conversation. Select an SMS Provider a Waterfall Quick6 LookBook. For additional insight, visit waterfallmobile.com, call (866) or say

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