Texting, Texting 101: 4 Steps to Demystifying Mobile and SMS

An example of a text message.

Mobile marketing is a channel that is pertinent today and targeted for exponential growth in the near future. With Internet usage from mobile devices surpassing that of the desktop computers, marketers need to take the necessary steps to integrate the mobile channel as part of their overall customer engagement strategy. Short messaging service (SMS) marketing is one option and involves sending promotions to an individual’s cell phone through text messaging.
SMS is a great way to get your feet wet in the ocean that is mobile marketing and Marketers who incorporate SMS correctly can play a significant role in improving their marketing efforts. After all, offers that take advantage of text messaging can include personalized, relevant and timely communications.

Yet before you get started, it is important to keep in mind four key steps to successfully integrating SMS into your overall marketing campaigns:

Step 1: Partner Selection
After deciding to incorporate the SMS channel into your marketing campaigns, the first step to success is to select a qualified and experienced partner or group of partners. As a marketer, you may opt to partner with an aggregator, a mobile application service provider (MASP) and/or a carrier. Often the recommended approach would be to partner directly with a marketing services provider (MSP).

However, and before continuing, it is important to understand the parties involved in the SMS ecosystem. The typical organizations involved in deploying an SMS campaign, as well as their fundamental roles and responsibilities, include:


SMS Role and Responsibilities

Marketing Services Provider (MSP)

  • Manage the marketing database and all integration points
  • Advise on campaign strategy, planning and objective
  • Offer campaign delivery applications
  • Consult on analytic direction
  • Offer business intelligence reporting tools
  • Proficiency in terms of best practices, rules and regulations
  • Own the relationship with the MASP

Mobile Application Services Provider (MASP)

  • Provider of a suite of mobile delivery applications
  • Principal role in driving the submission and approval process for the short code leasing application
  • Subject matter expert in terms of best practices, rules and regulations
  • Own the relationship with the aggregator


  • Agent between the application provider and the wireless carrier
  • Responsible for the delivery of the actual SMS message
  • Accountable for administrative/billing tasks
  • Monitor campaign activity with regards to compliance
  • Own the relationship with each carrier


  • Provider of wireless services (e.g., Verizon, AT&T, etc.)
  • Final decision-maker on whether a campaign is approved or denied, based on compliance and potential risk to subscribers
  • Carriers share a standard set of guidelines, but each may have additional criteria that need to be met in order to approve an SMS campaign

For those marketers who are currently working with an MSP, it’s important that you confirm that the MSP has an established relationship with the MASP, as the MSP will be the one managing the MASP relationship on your behalf.

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