SMS Response Rates Outpace Direct Mail

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The response rate for SMS messages among marketers in Europe is 11 percent, more than five times that of direct mail, according to a survey by Forrester Research B.V. and the Federation of European Direct Marketing.

According to Forrester, up to two-thirds of the 250 million wireless phone owners in Europe use SMS, or short message service. Of the 205 direct marketers polled last November, 21 percent use SMS marketing at least occasionally and another 12 percent have tried SMS marketing on a trial basis. Fifty-six percent plan to conduct regular SMS campaigns by 2003. Marketers will devote an average of 7 percent of their budgets to SMS marketing by then.

Though SMS is gaining in popularity, the report said long-term use of the capability requires very careful campaign planning, especially since the one-time push campaigns need consumer permission to avoid clashing with privacy regulation.

"Marketers need service providers to execute on their SMS vision just as mail houses handle their direct mail campaigns, but choosing one from the 70-plus in Europe today isn't easy," said Forrester analyst Michelle de Lussanet.

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