SMS marketing business is often called a dirty one — and that’s often true. However, it’s not because the nature of it is somewhat sketchy. It’s the service providers that are not treating it right. Overpriced services, little care for the consumer, and lack of transparency are main reasons that make SMS marketing a mean business.
Market leaders, such as Twillio, Nexmo, InfoBip, or Fortytwo make up an oligopoly. As a result, they can practically do whatever they want, knowing that potential service buyers won’t have too much choice. Their prices are way too high for what they’re offering, even when their clients are buying huge numbers of SMS. The price factor is, however, much more daunting for smaller companies, who are only able to buy little amounts of messages, yet are forced to pay huge prices. Smaller providers, on the other hand, simply cannot afford to offer a cheap service. Thus, a vicious circle is created, and no one has broken it yet.
Poor Customer Service
Anyone who has ever considered SMS marketing services must have done some research on the providers. While they all feature beautiful websites, the reviews often reveal a much less appealing side of the way these businesses operate. What most companies complain about is lack of quality customer services. Not only aggregators take forever to reply; they don’t seem too helpful, either. Oligopolistic companies are not flexible enough to provide a service that’s at least slightly tailored to a particular client’s needs. Thus, the clients are forced to use pre-made packages, often not utilising them to their full capabilities. And those who tried asking for a different package have faced a wall.
The Use Of Grey Channels
Another issue that often arises is the choice of SMS channels used for sending marketing messages. Surely, each aggregator claims the use of whitelisted getaways, but given a number of messages that never reach their target, the claim becomes questionable. Whitelisted getaways, also known as Tier 1 channels, are the only reliable way to get SMS delivered because they are checked through. Naturally, using them costs significantly more than using grey routes. They are untested, thus there’s no guarantee that messages will be delivered and won’t be marked as spam. Oligopolistic aggregators, however, are willing to save their money and use the latter ones. The smaller companies use grey channels almost exclusively because that’s the only way they can compete against market leaders on price.
No Guarantee — Just Trust
This brings us to another problem — SMS deliverability. Aggregators don’t provide their clients with a trustworthy tool that would allow checking whether the messages have been sent. Currently, this is based on trust. However, one can never be sure that all the messages bought have been sent out. There’s no way to control the situation at the moment, and all a client can do is choose a reliable provider. The problem is, however, that providers are not always transparent enough to be called truly reliable.