Enterprise mobile messaging is hot. Or is it?

Researchers at the Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corporation (IDC) discovered sending messages through a mobile device may not exactly be setting the world on fire.

Business don't engage with mobile messaging technology (specifically SMS, MMS and push notifications) for operations, employee engagement and customer communications as much as some may think.

The IDC reported these results in its Mobile Messaging Survey released this week, commissioned by OpenMarket and conducted in 2014 with 600 respondents in the US, UK and eight countries in Europe and Asia, across 10 different industry segments. 

The biggest surprise was, despite a high-level acknowledgement of the value of mobile messaging, deployments of the technology remain relatively immature across all global regions," said Steve French, global vice president of product management and marketing at Seattle, Wash.-based OpenMarket, an enterprise mobility engagement provider. "Traditional mobile messaging is the most ubiquitous form of mobile communication available to every one of the three billion mobile subscribers worldwide. It is an affordable, efficient technology that creates great engagement opportunities with employees and customers, and global businesses should be utilizing it more than they already do."

A Vested Interest?

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Naturally, French and OpenMarket would push enterprise mobility use. It's their business.

If someone questioned the survey saying this is just marketing material for the survey commissioner, how would French respond?

"Surveys are useful for identifying trends and describing the behavior of a targeted audience," he told CMSWire. "With this particular project, we worked with IDC, a respected industry analyst firm, to get an accurate look at how companies across the world are using mobile messaging and what business use cases and priorities ranked the highest. The goal was to address a range of topics for enterprises, and to educate ourselves and other technology providers on what is most important to these global companies when it comes to mobile messaging, and how to best deliver what they are looking for."

Inside the Findings

That aside, some key findings include:

  • The US is the most mature region for mobile messaging, while Asia was the least mature
  • Asia is further along in its enterprise adoption of mobile messaging technology than experts anticipated
  • Top customer-focused use cases in production in these regions are customer promotions and alerts
  • Businesses are looking for mobile investments that differentiate or improve the customer experience, attract and retain customers and offer deeper insights into customer preferences
  • The most popular internal employee-focused messaging use cases are company announcements, mobile workforce management notifications and IT system status and network outage alerts

"The least surprising takeaway from this study is that all regions have experienced big mobile advances, regardless of their development," French told CMSWire. "Mobile is truly global across regions and economic levels, and end user familiarity is helping to drive its adoption."

Who Wins?

Researchers through this study wanted to focus on how organizations use text messaging on mobile phones to communicate with their customers and employees.

Who's winning the mobile messaging game?

"We’ve seen many effective mobile messaging strategies that include using SMS for customer engagement," French said. "From Fortune 500 global brands to smaller organizations, companies are looking beyond mobile marketing awareness campaigns. They desire a better total experience which means interacting with customers throughout the entire lifecycle."

French said this includes: onboarding (welcome messages), operations (shipping notifications, order alerts), security management (fraud alerts, two-factor authentication) and advocacy (feedback surveys).

"Companies like Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Bank of America, Hertz Rental Car and Walmart are all great examples of proactively using mobile to engage and support their customers," he added.

Who Loses?

What are some mistakes companies make in their mobile messaging programs?

"Some companies might overlook the power of traditional text messaging," French said. "We know that SMS is the most frequently used feature of the mobile phone. In addition, 90 percent of SMS messages are opened within just a few minutes of delivery -- your audience is already trained to react when they get a message, especially Millennials."

Companies, French said, should also think about a company-wide mobile strategy that includes use cases across the entire organization.

"This means," he added, "using mobile for more than just marketing -- like in security, IT operations, employee engagement, and customer service in order to help recognize the true ROI of your efforts."