SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- What's the difference between "standard rates may apply" and "standard message rates may apply"? Not a whole lot to a person on the receiving end of the short-message service, or text, message.
But if you're a mobile marketer, it means coming up with at least two versions of a campaign to reflect these varying verbiages -- because there is little uniformity in mobile-marketing compliance requirements imposed by U.S. carriers. The differences that do exist are often a matter of style, not substance, much to the chagrin of marketers who have to put up the extra development and testing time to accommodate the hair-splitting variances.
$200 million in efficiencies
To eliminate these hurdles, the four major U.S. wireless carriers will join the MMA for the first time to hammer out official guidelines aiming to simplify and streamline the carrier-compliance process.
The carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, have agreed to work with the MMA to create official MMA best practices, a first for the industry, which will include mobile-marketing guidelines and codes of conduct. The MMA said the operational efficiencies the move will create are worth upward of $200 million annually.
"This does make it easier for content providers to work with the carriers -- it reduces their overhead in managing cross-carrier offerings, [which is] a good thing," said Paul Ruppert, an independent mobile consultant.
Step toward consolidating rules
The guidelines are expected to be completed by the end of June this year, with the first draft of the document expected in early April.
The MMA initiative comes months after Verizon Wireless announced it would raise a transaction fee it charged marketers that deliver text-based SMS messages to Verizon subscribers. Though this initiative does not address pricing, it is a step toward bringing the major carriers to the table to begin consolidating their rules.