Nielsen Mobile estimates that 2.9 million people received Barack Obama's vice-presidential pick text message in the early morning hours of Saturday, August 23, 2008. The 26-word text message was a small communication that answered months of hugely anticipated speculation on who would be Obama's running mate.
In combination with other text-messaging (SMS—short message service) efforts by prominent marketers, it's clear that mobile is proving itself a legitimate messaging medium.
Though heralded as a success, the Obama VP text message caused some frustration for recipients. For one, the text message was sent late in the evening (some subscribers received the message at 3 AM!). Another group of opted-in subscribers did not receive the message at all.
Despite the possibly flawed execution of this campaign, the announcement of Joe Biden as Obama's running mate joined the ranks of other high-profile marketers' use of text messaging as a part of their multichannel strategy.
NBC complemented its Olympics coverage with various SMS campaigns, and American Idol, banks, retail establishments, and even some B2B marketers are employing SMS as a new way to communicate internally with employees and externally with prospects and customers.
Combined, all of these instances of text messaging as a marketing medium prove that there are, in fact, SMS programs for which subscribers will provide their cell phone numbers.
But should SMS be used for every marketing message? No, definitely not. Your company must consider whether your intended message is urgent and determine whether subscribers will appreciate receiving it in mobile form.
That said, here are two major reasons SMS should be on your shortlist: