SMS Marketing India

Does SMS marketing work in India? Is it an effective marketing tool?

Today sending business messages or advertising on mobile phones costs next to nothing. 1 Lakh SMS at 3 paise  or 5 paise per message! As a marketer, i would think this is a very effective price to reach out to a targeted audience. But apparently there lies the catch. Targeting is not part of the package.

Having recently explore the medium myself, i was appalled at this bit of information.

Mobile service providers have been instructed by the government, no less, to capture as much information about their subscribers as possible. From a security perspective too this is vital, as the mobile telephony explosion rips through this nation creating companies that are buying out other companies near and far, it is important to be able to say that the person who is talking into the phone does not have an anti-national agenda. Before we digress further, so why is this basic targeting data not available with the marketers?

I asked the vendor SMSGupshup to give me a very targeted database. The database needed to contain people who would be interested in signing up at our new website,, like business owners such as caterers, decorators, wedding planners etc. “Nopes, we don’t have such level of classification of subscribers”. So where do these companies get these databases in the first place? apparently they are purchased from the service providers directly, third party agents fronting for them or other enumerators. “What do you get”? “Mostly just names and numbers”.

It is this indiscriminate and inefficient bludgeoning of this medium that lead to the creation of the DND directory. Why is it not possible for the mobile companies to ask the consumer a) what messages he would be interested in? A shopaholic would be interested in discounts on premium brands, a student would be interested to know about colleges/admissions, business owners would be interested in accounting/hr/ services, film buffs would be interested in latest releases, you get the idea. b) How many messages in a day?

Use the above collected information, update it periodically and you have a proposition which marketers would pay more for, a lot more i’m guessing. An audience receptive to actionable messages is kind of the holy grail of advertising, isn’t it?

I would be happy to hear from anyone who’s had a better experience with sms marketing companies and/or companies who already have such services.