Millennials Driving the Text Messaging Renaissance

Recent survey data reveals that businesses are missing out on engaging with Millennial consumers by ignoring the most universal communications tool around—texting. The survey revealed that more than half of Millennials would like to get reminders and updates via SMS, but that they get fewer than 5 texts from businesses a week.

Millennials want to get information and updates by text

From the survey roughly half of Millennials (48%) would like to receive financial and fraud alerts by text and over half would like to shipping notices and reminders via text. And when it comes to communicating with companies 80% of Millennials want to text 1-800 numbers for questions and support over calling.

For a group who hates to talk on the phone and considers email to be passe, not using the one channel they do like seems pretty silly.

But businesses aren’t stepping up

Riddle me this, if the largest consumer demographic (as the era of the Baby Boomers draws to a close) in the world is saying “if you want to talk to me do it via text”, why aren’t businesses listening? Communications preferences evolve with each generation, but many businesses seem a half-step behind where people are. The irony is that businesses are run by people, so why the connections aren’t made sooner is puzzling.

Regardless, it’s time to change the perception and thinking about texting and embrace it as a universal communications tool that business can leverage with a growing number of consumers.

Time to change your mindset

It’s time to let go of any preconceptions about SMS and texting you may have. Text messaging has always been a fast, easy, compatible, and popular way for people and businesses to communicate. Yes, texting has primarily been a person to person activity, but from texting who you want to win a reality show competition to updates from your cell provider to contests and coupons, businesses have been right there using text for business.

There is a misconception that texting is being replaced with other apps like Viber or Facebook Messenger. Texting is, in fact, at least holding steady if not growing in many sectors. While chat apps are growing in popularity, they aren’t replacing texting, just augmenting. And when you need to send a message sending a text is much easier than trying to figure out if someone uses this app or another. 90% of texts are opened and read within 3 minutes. The same cannot be said for any other messaging platform.

Time to make your systems text message savvy

In this post from Chief Marketer, it’s clear that millennials prefer texting to communicate with businesses. Survey, and data from other recent surveys show that people want to receive coupons, reminders, offers, alerts, and do simple transactions (like checking a balance or paying a bill) via text message. For you to offer these options to customers you need to connect your internal systems (or SaaS services you use) to text messaging gateways and the telecommunications network. These Application to Person (A2P) connections are easy to implement through APIs, hardware-cloud hybrid solutions, and self-service portals.

Once connected you can offer one way messaging options (like for updates and alerts) and two-way options (like for banking, appointment scheduling, and other transactions). From the Millennials article, that demographic is ready to communicate via text and would like to see more two-way text messaging services offered. A2P and 2-Way SMS are part of a larger discussion on omni channel and text messaging communications strategies, but in the context of this post let’s leave off with Millennials want to use text messaging with businesses and A2P connections are the way to do it.

Enabling texting to and from your internal systems is one thing, but what about your larger communications strategy? Yes, I’m talking about marketing.

Don’t forget marketing campaigns

When more than half of consumers way “yes, I’ll accept promotional messages to get offers and coupons via text”, marketers need to sit up, take notice, and start putting text messaging into their marketing plans. Our Marketer’s Guide to Omni Channel Communications series and ebook outlines the technical, practical, and some best practices for text message marketing. The point here isn’t to drop other proven methods for text messaging campaigns, but augment campaigns and plans with SMS.

Consider SMS campaigns as one additional way to connect with consumers and add value to existing relationships. Even small steps like sending out surveys via SMS is simple step in the right direction. Remember, like any other form of marketing communications, you need to get consent before sending messages.

Be ready for the second text messaging revolution

When the first SMS was sent 20 years ago, it was seen as a great new way to communicate with people on the go (mobile data plans were far from common then remember). Today the power and sophistication of A2P tools combined with consumers clamoring for new ways to engage with businesses, text messaging is having a renaissance. This renaissance isn’t driven just by the technology, but the demographic shifts driven by Millennial consumers will force businesses and marketers to adapt to reach this huge market.

Jan 9th, 2017
4 min read