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Grow your mobile date base: why opting for Shortcode marketing pays off.

Gerhard Jacobs, Entrepreneur, 23 March 2013  Share  0 comments  Print

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Mobile technology is growing ever-more prevalent in both consumer and business activities and marketers are looking for ways in which to simplify interaction between business and consumer.

Consumers have become more aware of privacy and security issues; not all are willing to reveal their mobile number; businesses have to find ways to get phone numbers for direct communication, but also location data mixed with social segmentation, which in itself is an art to acquire and manage.

According to a survey by, more than 29 million people in South Africa have a mobile phone subscription, more than half of the entire country – so how do marketers tap into this?

Enter Shortcode

Shortcode marketing, a simple, short sequence of numbers used to send and respond to mobile messages by businesses, offers a consumer-controlled, truly interactive B2C exchange.

Instead of using longer numbers for business to consumer communication, marketers are now able to shorten it to a simple code of but a few numbers that consumers can use to get into contact with businesses and respond to offers.

An example of this is a callout to consumers to sign up to a service they’ve heard advertised over the radio or seen on television. Instead of having to ‘phone in’ to an office the consumer merely texts the shortcode and opts in to receive marketing material.

Shortcode marketing offers businesses a cost-effective way of engaging with consumers; ensuring an active user-base that reflects real-time interaction between the business and the consumer.

Although only available in South Africa in March this year, making use of shortcodes in mobile marketing has proven successful in the US, where mobile and email marketing companies like GraphicMail have already rolled out this service.

Instant calls to action

In a nutshell, shortcode is an easy and legitimate way to grow your mobile database – after all, you need mobile numbers before you can start a bulk SMS campaign.

Making use of Shortcode entices consumers to share brand promotions or new services to their own contacts, in essence giving marketers a free viral-like campaign response in a simple and effective package.

The fact that you’re making use of only a few numbers makes for an easy to remember set that people can pass along.

More and more businesses are looking to attract active, engaging consumers with measurable responses and observable buying patterns.

Shortcodes allow for an instant ‘call to action’ in terms of getting people to start interacting with your brand, which at the end of the day translates into greater traction with your chosen demographic.

Engage your consumers

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of using shortcode in mobile marketing comes from the compatibility with all network carriers, helping you build a solid base of trusted users; people who can interact with your exclusive offers on any device connected to a mobile network.

This puts your message in the pocket of almost everyone with a mobile phone, whether high end or budget consumers; giving you the ability to capture response data and segment marketing activities even further to relate to specific groups.

A report by Juniper Research predicts that by 2016 application to person messaging (A2P), like advertising, marketing, business administration and ticketing messages will have surpassed person to person (P2P) messaging. Communication between those who offer and those who desire is becoming more and more diverse.

As consumers start looking to high-speed, less intrusive marketing campaigns for inspiration, mobile technology offers marketers the means to capitalize on this trend.

The diversification and simultaneous simplification of digital marketing is paving the way for truly engaging relationships between businesses and consumers.

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About the author

Gerhard Jacobs, Entrepreneur

Gerhard Jacobs is a digital copywriter and journalist at GraphicMail. He has also worked as media project manager and copy editor for a UK-based NGO called Projects Abroad; and spent time in the communications departments at local government as well as on the newsdesk as a staff reporter for the Cape Argus newspaper.

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