An article published in Ad Age 9/23/08, shared some very telling data about how users are utilizing their mobile devices:
“Nielsen Mobile found that during the second quarter of this year, domestic wireless subscribers sent or received an average of 357 text messages each month, compared with an average of 204 phone calls placed or received. It was the second consecutive quarter in which mobile texting significantly eclipsed the number of phone calls. “
With 75 billion text messages being sent this past june in the U.S., this presents a huge marketing opportunity for businesses. Not only can it increase efficency of how messages are being sent/received (i.e. reminder of a service appointment, school cancellations to parents, etc.), it’s also a powerful way to reach the younger demographic from a marketing perspective. The break down shows that the largest group is teens 13-17 who sent an average of 1,742 text messages per month while only making 231 mobile calls within the same timeframe. The next group of users is 18-24 that logged a text-to-call ratio of 790 to 265.
Kudos to Obama for engaging the younger voter population and announcing his Vice President candidate pick via text message. But like any form of mass marketing, SMS marketing requires very strategic planning so that end users are receiving messages that actually mean something to them, otherwise, they will just deem it as spam which could leave a negative brand experience in the consumer’s mind. And the next thing you know, they’ve posted warnings to their blogs, discussed it with their friends, removed you from their interest category on MySpace…you see where I’m going with this.
So while permission to message the user is important, the actual message itself should be of great value to the target audience. While the number of texts continue to climb above mobile calls, it’ll be interesting to track the impact on the SMS marketing industry.