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Mobile Marketing: What is UR txt msg str@tegy?

by Alan Berrey  |  
November 25, 2008

Two years ago, my daughter, Anna, sent me her first text message. She borrowed her older brother's mobile phone and composed this question, "Where R U." When the message arrived, I was happy to know that she was thinking about me. My initial thought was to reply, "@ wrk."

Before sending a response, however, I considered the real meaning of my daughter's question. I knew that she was not actually interested in my physical location. She did not care whether I was at my office, a client's office, or a restaurant. She really wanted to know when I would be home. She wanted to know when she would see me. She cared about timing, not location. I replied, "@ wrk, b home in 30."

As I meet with people in enterprises throughout the US, I often ask the same question, "Where R U?" My question, like my daughter's, is context-sensitive. Its broader meaning is "Where is your text message strategy?" Or, more pointedly, when will your organization begin using text messaging and other mobile-messaging services in your marketing, customer care, and collections processes?

Like my daughter, I am not asking about geography or political positioning; rather, I am asking about timing. And I have found that very few organizations in 2008 can answer this basic text-messaging question.

No longer do American consumers lag the rest of the world in text-message adoption. Text messaging has become the preferred communications channel for millions of people, and not just teenagers. For many people in America, text messaging is considered indispensable.

The Rise of Mobile Messaging

Some 80 percent of all Americans carry mobile phones. There are more mobile-only households than landline-only households.

The volume of text messages sent in America doubles each year. As of mid 2007, Americans sent over 1 billion text messages per day.

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Alan Berrey is VP, Market Development, Text & Mobile Messaging, SoundBite Communications ( He was the founder and CEO of Mobile Collect, which was acquired by SoundBite in February 2008. Reach him at

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  • by ana soto Fri Nov 28, 2008 via web

    excellent .... and keeps it simple..

  • by Astralis Wed Dec 17, 2008 via web

    I don't believe it. As 3G has taken over and people switch to powerful phones, e-mail has reclaimed its thrown. It never lost it, anyhow, except for people trying to claim something new and better. There was even a time when people claimed RSS was the new way to communicate and that it would take over e-mail. Missing the boat on SMS marketing may not have been a loss, after all.

  • by David Wed Dec 17, 2008 via web

    You just don't get it do you? You're thinking is just like a typical traditional mass media marketer looking for the newest space where consumers are to send a message to.

    You think you're sending us relevant information because we've text whatever code to whatever assigned number, but when we get these messages back, it's more of the same. A message telling us about this, about that, and guess what we really don't care!

    In the examples you used look at who the people texting you are...they're people whom you know on a personal basis. Not one example was based off of what a company did.

    I'm sorry but I'd rather use my SMS/MMS on friends and family members than waste it on a company who really doesn't care about me or what I want.

  • by Jason Thu Dec 18, 2008 via web


    I don't think you understand the points made by Mr. Berrey. The approach you took in your comment is missing the boat, simply as you are with not making the transition of adding Mobile Marketing to your short list.

    This 'lack of relevant information' you argue that is offered does not even begin to approach you until you 'opt-in'. Consumers then have the choice to continue to receive alerts, promos, etc... until they choose quit by typing 'Stop'.

    Try not to think of Mobile Marketing as unwanted spam because that is completely the opposite. It can be an informational source, mobile alerts, game applications, etc... It is in instant, at your fingertips tool that allows businesses to interact with consumers intimitely. This begins to form a relationship that is a lot different than other traditional forms of advertisment.

    Hope this helps

  • by David Thu Dec 18, 2008 via web


    I totally understand your points and they are valid. I've tried this "mobile marketing" before and I've ended up opting out after a few messages because it was a waste of my money. Why not just send me an email like Astralis said because I've received emails almost exactly like the message on the text?

    My question is how is it going to allow businesses to interact with consumers intimitely when you are sending the exact same message to thousands of other people? How is mobile marketing going to connect me with other like minded people?

    Text messaging is great two-way communication channel, but mobile marketing is another one-way communication channel just like TV, Radio, and Print! We can't text back and have a conversation with someone on the other side because that not how this works.

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