Broadcaster Media Uses SMS To Drive Mobile Site Traffic

The term “mobile marketing” encompasses lots of different technologies and media/message types: SMS. Mobile Internet. Mobile email. And so on. Marketers might wonder which to use, or how to combine them most effectively in a multi-channel campaign.

Broadcaster Media, which started in Australia and recently moved its headquarters to California, has the answer. Its platform, called SMARTS, uses SMPP (short message peer-to-peer) technology in an uncommon way. Instead of sending text messages to a short code, interested subscribers send a keyword to a dedicated phone number. The brand/marketer then sends that consumer a text message with a link to a mobile Web site–prompting consumers to visit the site, interact with the brand, perhaps even engage in transactions.

Broadcaster Media’s mobile marketing solution is intriguing for a few reasons: It’s all-encompassing (they create clients’ mobile Web sites as well as promote them). Since it uses a phone number instead of a short code, marketers don’t have to wait for short code approval. Most of all, its raison d’etre is to promote mobile content. Instead of “texts” being the end-message, they are merely a tool to drive consumers to mobile Web sites, where they can further interact with the brand.

Other companies like iLoop and Netbiscuits offer similar solutions. Broadcaster Media, however, claims it can do it for less money and in less time (a “couple of thousand dollars” as opposed to some $10,000 and taking a week to set up rather than a few months).

To be sure, Broadcaster Media isn’t the perfect solution. Marketers may not need short code or transaction approval, but they still need to make sure they comply with individual carriers’ SMS regulations, including opt-in and opt-out procedures. And until the company gets “local” phone numbers up in all the U.S. metropolitan areas, it might be weird to consumers to have to send texts to some unknown long-distance number.

But the company hopes to make mobile marketing as simple as possible, for both marketers and audiences. I texted the keyword SALON, as directed in a campaign for a fashion magazine, to one of Broadcaster Media’s two dedicated phone numbers–and found it a snap to get to the Salon City mobile Web site, even with my first-gen RAZR. When I mentioned this to David Lerner, Broadcaster Media’s director of product management, he responded: “It helps people use their phones better.”

Getting people to use more functions on their phones: That’s something any marketer or solutions provider can approve.