It’s All About The Benjamins

Mobile Marketing Money MachineThe following is the weekly guest series by Derek Johnson, Founder & CEO of SMS marketing provider Tatango. You can text him at (206) 334-4012 or email him at

Last week our company released a text message spam infographic, based off a survey we conducted regarding consumer experiences with text message spam. Our survey showed that on average 68% of respondents had experienced text message spam, with teenagers reporting a staggering 84%. Needless to say, these findings definitely raised a few eyebrows across the web.

These statistics further my argument that all SMS providers should stop the practice of allowing their clients the ability to import mobile phone numbers into an SMS campaign, bypassing the need for consent from the owner of the mobile phone number. As I’ve written many times before, I believe this practice to be the source of the majority of text message spam.

Why are SMS providers not listening? As Puff Daddy, or whatever the hell he’s calling himself nowadays says, “it’s all about the Benjamins baby”. For these SMS providers engaging in this practice, it’s too lucrative to stop, even if it’s destroying the future of our industry.

To illustrate this point, I’ve created two hypothetical SMS campaigns and graphed their growth in list size below. Each SMS campaign hypothetically grows by the same new subscribers each month, yet one campaign was allowed to import mobile phone numbers at the beginning, while the other had to start at zero.

SMS campaign list growth

While the above graph is interesting, what’s more interesting is the difference in revenues the two SMS campaigns generate for the SMS provider. After two years, the SMS campaign that was allowed to import five hundred mobile phone numbers at the beginning, would generate nearly three times the revenue for the SMS provider as the campaign that started out at zero mobile phone numbers.

Lifetime revenue of SMS campaign

With three times the revenue per SMS campaign, saying this practice is lucrative for SMS providers is an understatement. What’s unfortunate about this situation is that these SMS providers are driven by short-term profits, and ignoring the long term effects this practice will have on our industry. Really though, when in history have businesses worried about the future, when a fortune can be made in the present?