I get this question a lot from clients. I think it is a hard question to answer and will differ by person. I think I'm going to start a list of what does and what doesn't. Media companies and advertisers like to use SMS to cut through the clutter of Email inboxes and ensure the message is delivered "now."
If I were a student at Virginia Tech a couple of years ago, I would have wanted an SMS that there was danger on campus. If the police were on a manhunt in my neighborhood (this happened about two years ago), I'd want to know now – due to my location. There is real value in having this information AS SOON AS it is available.
Here are a few that I have received that I don't want:
Last August, the AP sent me an alert stating that Tim Tebow the quarterback at the University of Florida was the pre-season coaches pick as top quarterback. I'm a middle-aged female living in San Francisco. Why would I care? What is the value of having that information NOW?
Here's another category. Sports scores. Who watches live sports? Thursday night after work – and on the west coast this means most sports events are a couple of hours underway – I'm watching the BCS championship game on my TV (and DVR). So, maybe in the third quarter, my phone dings. I thought, "that must me the score." Now I can't use my phone until this game is over. Granted, once Colt was injured, Texas winning seemed pretty impossible. Still – WHY send out sports scores? Why is it urgent? and a lot of us are watching delayed.