Why Your SMS Marketing Strategy Needs Transparency 


With more data regulations passing, the marketing landscape is shifting, and organizations have to pivot their strategies to reach their customers. Therefore today’s marketers have to strike a balance for personalization while respecting their customers’ needs and sharing messages that resonate with them. Chris Hyde, senior global head of data solutions of Validity, discusses data privacy concerns with SMS marketing campaigns. 

In recent years, SMS has become a much sought-after channel for marketers across all industries. And for a good reason: SMS boasts a 98% open rate – a metric email marketers can only dream of. 

But despite its popularity and proven effectiveness, consumers have mixed feelings about SMS marketing. Validity recently surveyedOpens a new window over 1,200 mobile users across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand to determine how SMS impacts customer engagement and spending. 

The study revealed that while US-based customers enjoy the convenience SMS marketing provides, they’re wary about the potential repercussions, especially regarding data privacy. Seventy-nine percent of respondents are worried texts from brands might pose a data risk, and of those, 53% are concerned about companies selling their data and clicking links due to scammers. 

But their concerns aren’t without merit: 85% said they have personally fallen victim to a scam or data breach via text/SMS/messaging app – and although they’re generally considered tech-savvy, Gen Z respondents were 12% more likely to say this than Millennials. 

As you look to leverage SMS marketing for your upcoming campaigns, it’s crucial to keep customer sentiment in mind, especially as conversations around data privacy and information security persist. 

Customers Want Transparency And Control 

Ensuring your company does SMS marketing correctly boils down to giving recipients increased transparency into your data practices and control over their preferences. 96% of respondents said they wish companies were more transparent about using customer data. 

You can mitigate the fear of a potential data breach or mishandling of personal information by letting your customers know exactly what you plan to do with their data before they sign up with you. And this honesty will go a long way: 79% said transparency on data usage makes them more likely to sign up for brand messages. 

Another way to improve sentiment around your SMS campaigns is to ask for and adhere to customer preferences. When asked what single thing consumers would change about how they receive texts from brands, 18% said they would add an option to change messaging frequency, and another 18% said they would add a more straightforward opt-out process, making these the most popular two options.

See More: Is In-App Customer Service Marketers’ Biggest Opportunity

A Calculated Risk 

While some folks hesitate to trust SMS marketing, 88% of respondents confessed they continue to sign up for brand messages because the potential rewards are worth the risk. 

What do consumers stand to gain from SMS? Folks who take the risk said they do so to receive company updates (44%), shipping notifications (42%), or free items (39%). By understanding what’s valuable to your customers, you can ensure your SMS messages are relevant to their needs and demonstrate that you’re not taking their trust in your brand for granted. 

The State of SMS Marketing in 2023 report revealed that amid clogged inboxes and marketing spam, customers are hungry for personalization: 87% of consumers like seeing their name in messages, and 26% of folks who expressed annoyance at SMS campaigns listed a lack of personalization as the source of their frustration. 

When it comes to receiving personalized SMS messages, customers are most comfortable sharing their age (93%), gender (87%), and date of birth and/or purchasing habits (73%).

Personalization Vs. Intrusion 

But there’s a fine line between personalizing your messages and making customers feel intruded upon. While age, gender, and birthdate are fair game, customers still would rather keep some information private. Thirty-three percent said they’re uncomfortable with brands knowing the ages of their children; 32% said the same for the amount of children they have, and 28% said the same for their location. 

While most folks noted that they prefer messages that are addressed to them specifically, a subset of consumers do not, so tread lightly: 84% of those who don’t like seeing their name in messages said they find it intrusive. Other potential intrusion areas include receiving messages about previous purchases (89%) or a customer’s interests (88%). 

Regardless of whether folks have willingly shared this information with your brand, consider omitting it from your SMS campaigns so recipients don’t feel like their privacy has been violated – otherwise, you could end up losing a customer. 

Leveraging SMS

Customers are not against SMS marketing, and many prefer it over email. But as increased regulations around data privacy crop up around the globe and concerns about information insecurity permeate, it’s marketers’ responsibility to ensure they’re creating thoughtful and transparent campaigns, no matter the channel.

How can marketers address the data privacy concerns in SMS marketing?  Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you! 

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