11 May 2009

CSC: Coming soon to a cell phone near you

Common Short Code (CSC)

Short code marketing uses text and multimedia messages sent through a common short code (CSC) of 5 or 6 digits. Short code marketing made a big splash when CSC user 62262 (Obama) sent a message about his vice-presidential choice last August. Nielsen estimates that this text message was received by 2.9 million mobile phone users over the last weekend in August of 2008.

Graphs from NielsenRight Click Image to View Larger Graphs in another Window

According to Nielsen:
. . . 57 percent of all mobile subscribers ages 13 and older use text messaging on a regular basis. Text messaging has become so popular, in fact, that U.S. mobile subscribers now send and receive more text messages in a month than they make phone calls.
According to the Common Short Code Association (CSCA):
Telenor, a European wireless carrier, generated $85 million in revenue from CSCs in less than a year after their introduction.
Short Code Marketing

Is it worth the price to sign up for a Common Short Code (CSC)? What type of cell phone users would the CSCs reach? How to begin sending CSCs?

The revenue opportunities for CSCs are in marketing, advertising, entertainment and commerce. See The Market for Common Short Codes on the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) website.

Registering and leasing a CSC costs $1,000 per month for a vanity CSC (Obama) and $500 per month for each random CSC. The fees are due up front and are non refundable. Then, you must go through providers of content, applications or wireless services--or connection aggregators-- to use your CSC. It can be an expensive proposition.

Content providers are well-known media outlets. Application providers develop and host mobile messaging software. The CSC must be set up and tested to route from a wireless network to the application. Message routing is done through a connectivity aggregator or to the application provider directly. Connection aggregators have authorized connections to multiple wireless networks.

A complete marketing solution incorporates domestic acceptance of CSC, a premium billing capability and valuable content. I would expect that networks of marketers will form to share cost and revenue.

Marketers must comply with guidelines written by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

According to the MMA:
Current internet marketing and privacy standards do not adequately address the specific challenges faced by marketers when marketing through the mobile channel. Strong mobile industry privacy principles will protect the mobile channel from abuses by unethical marketers, and limit consumer backlash and additional regulatory scrutiny.

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