Feature phones vs. smartphones: Why should mobile marketers care?

One of the first questions we in the mobile messaging industry hear when we talk about MMS marketing is “does it work on my phone?”  The answer, of course, is yes, but we thought it might be a good idea to take a step back and look at the differences between feature and smartphones as it relates to mobile marketing solutions.

So what defines a smartphone versus feature phones? How do these phones drive or limit your mobile marketing efforts? And why is phone type so important?  Phone type is important because as mobile phone usage skyrockets, so do the marketing opportunities that go with it.  To give you some understanding of how important the mobile phone has become, here are some interesting statistics:

Credit: ElderGadget.com

Feature phone vs. smartphones?

While both phones are able to perform the necessary functions of a phone (calling and text messaging), the two are differentiated by a number of capabilities:

  • A feature phone is a traditional phone that includes a limited number of features such as a camera, MP3 player, internet access etc. Most feature phones are designed to excel with one or two functions like high quality photos or large memory for music storage.
  • A smartphone has all the tools that a feature phone has, but it also includes an operating system that allows it to run third party applications such as Instagram, Viddy etc.  Smartphones tend to offer a broader range of functionality since the operating system allows you to download apps or programs that can be categorized under productivity, social networking, music, and making them essentially a handheld personal computer.

Although the growth of smartphones has increased exponentially (counting for over 53% of mobile phones on the market) because smartphones have become more accessible and as apps lure users in, almost 47% of mobile subscribers in the United States still use a traditional feature phone.

So who uses smartphones vs. feature phones?

With the simplistic nature of the feature phone, users who aren’t tech savvy or those interested in a no frills phones often prefer the less expensive option of owning a feature phone.

Smart phones usually need a data plan from the cellular carrier to be able to use and enjoy the apps available.  However it is key to note that even though feature phones come with simplicity and cost efficiency, the smart phones ability to perform hundreds of extra functions make it an increasingly popular choice for mobile phone users today.

So what does all of this mean to today’s marketers?

As smartphone usage drastically increases, marketers recognize that mobile marketing is quickly becoming the fastest way to build relationships with their key constituents.

Up until now only 1% of marketing budgets were spent on mobile advertising, even though consumers use on average 23% of their daily media time on their mobile devices. The huge increase of mobile usage in 2011-2012 has prompted marketers to dive in and look at the various ways to reach the mobile consumer.

While branded apps and in-app advertising is often times the first step marketers take into mobile marketing, apps have serious limitations that marketers must take into consideration, such as

  • Multiple operating systems – iOS and/or Android
  • Audience limited to smartphone users only, less than 50% of US phones
  • App download and adoption – requires ongoing usage initiated by the consumer
  • App builds can be expensive depending on the range of features and capabilities needed to keep users engaged

In order to effectively break into the mobile marketing space, marketers should be looking for a mobile marketing platform that is ubiquitous yet still provides a rich media, fully branded, interactive experience.  Since feature phones are unable to download applications like smart phones can, the only effective way to reach almost all mobile consumers is through MMS (multimedia messaging) text message marketing.

Why use MMS marketing in your marketing mix?

  • MMS technical platform effectively reaches over 90% of all mobile phones – smartphones and feature phones alike
  • MMS allows brands to provide a multimedia-rich branded experience to its audience
  • MMS messages are traditionally opened within 3 minutes of receipt
  • MMS marketing can be outbound messaging or interactive with inbound/outbound messaging
  • MMS messaging includes the ability for the consumer to share the received message out across their personal sharing social networks

Don’t believe how powerful a MMS campaign can be? Why not try MMS messaging now?  Text one of the below marketing campaigns to

Text Glee to 94444

Credit: FOX

see how MMS is driving success with these brands on both feature and smartphones.

  • Text BONES to 94444 to see how FOX Television’s Bones is using interactive trivia games to interact with fans
  • Text RELAX to 51515 to receive $100 off Brookstone’s uAstro Massage Chair
  • Text GLEE to 94444 to join the Glee fan club and start receiving the show song list each time the show airs
  • Text MOGREET to 21534 to learn more about Mogreet and how our mobile marketing services would work for you!

Message and data rates may apply. Text-in campaigns via Mogreet cost just as much as a regular text you send to friends.

Let us know which campaign you try, we would love to hear what you think!


About Mogreet
With all of the clutter and confusion about mobile marketing and MMS message marketing on the internet, this blog is to help you with news and tips in mobile marketing. About Mogreet We help brands & agencies communicate via mobile messaging - in vibrant video, images, & audio MMS. Text MMS to 21534 for a live MMS demo. Msg&Data rates may apply.

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