Increasingly SMS and MMS are being used as marketing and CX tools. Texts long history has been as transactional messaging such as appointment reminders, delivery advice or two factor authentication. As Text Message Marketing (TMM) develops as a major channel for marketers, conversational commerce using the 2WAY capability of the SMS and MMS channel will develop as another key differentiation feature the channel brings. Before Covid we were seeing an acceleration in adoption of SMS and MMS for customer engagement as a marketing tool, not just as a platform/channel for delivering transactional messaging. Growth has continued as the usage and acceptance of SMS and MMS has taken off during Covid. Over 93% of consumers perfer a text conversation with a business than a phone call or an email. Already we are talking to clients about text based conceirge. The direct to inbox messaging channel is forecast to grow rapidly as its acceptance increases. All of these pictures are examples SPAM – the Auspost one very scary – as it has come in on the back of the genuine Alphaheader message from Auspost. If you want your SMS and MMS communications to be trusted – PLEASE DON’T USE ALPHA HEADERS – as SPAMMERS can use your brand to build false trust with your customers, to extract information and commit fraud – and in the process tarnish your brand. If you respect your customers and want to have a trust and respect based relationship – ONLY send from verifiable dedicated numbers.
This JBHiFi example is very scary in it is so plausible. The receiver did actually register with JB HiFi the week before to get an electronic copy of a receipt. However, they knew there was no package waiting. How scary is this – one click to a bad link that could have sucked all the personal data off their phone and - BINGO - exposure. No organisation is exempt from SPAMMERS pretending to be your brand – unless you make a commitment to a dedicated mobile number that can be tracked and replied to for all marketing correspondence.
Alpha headers can be copied. Example that will give you chills: A product was purchased from JBHiFi the other day and the person at the checkout asked if the preferred was aa paper receipt or delivered to my phone. We asked for the phone - I asked would they be using the number for any other purpose - the person said I don't know. I still gave it. It was our founder that received the receipt, and JBHiFi had gone to all the trouble to send me an SMS from the alpha header JBHiFi telling me that if I pushed this link, they would send me a code to get my receipt. Which I did, the code arrived, I entered it on the JBHiFi site and I received my receipt. However, then, days later, from the same Alpha Header, I received this clear phishing attempt, which is SPAM, and The SPAMMER/PHISHING attempt was clear to me a scam, because it didn't have an OPT OUT REPLY STOP. So I didn't open it.....BUT what if I had..... ? I could have had their crap installed on my phone, lost all my data, or worse had them troll my phone for personals. I am not over reacting here folks - 50% of all malware on phones comes from attacks like this.
The client can't reply to an alpha header - the number is not traceable. If you send from your dedicated number - the client knows its you, and will trust the messages that come from you in the future into their text inbox. Build your firms true identity in the phones of your clients. Build your brand in their hand.
A phone number gives you a chance at two way conversational commerce, and if they could reply to you, and involve you in a conversation - its cheaper than a phone call, and it is the way they want to be communicated with.
Not all networks guarantee to deliver ALPHA headers for larger messages like MMS. You can still be charged by your TXT supplier - but some networks will not guarantee delivery of MMS if an alpha header is sent not a number
2018 will be a BIG year for instant messaging your clients - make sure you set yourself up with the right foundations - and don't create phishing holes for spammers who want to use your brand to SPAM.
In the eyes of the customer, anything you can't reply to has a stigma and can be viewed as potentially "a bit smelly"
There is massive brand exposure to phishing as per the examples - and it takes about 6 lines of code to be able to send from a fake ID as an auth'd message.
To be brutally frank - MobileDigital have lost sales because we refused to offer Alpha headers, as we believe it puts the sellers brand at risk, and for the benefit - its just not worth iot.
As a very painful example - Tiffany & Co, asked for it and we refused and told them to go somewhere else - that is how strongly we feel.
We are very strong in our belief in building the brand relationship in the clients phone, through trusted sends and always a 2way response path for the receiver is more trusted and superior.
We hold the proposition that once an authentic MMS has been received in the mobile users phone, from a dedicated number, identity and trust have been established and all messages either SMS MMS or push will be recognised as legitimate and valued and calls to action trusted.