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October 16, 2008  

In late August, 2.9 million subscribers learned the identity of Barack Obama's running mate with a 26-word text message delivered via SMS (Short Message Service). The announcement joined a trend of strategies employed by the likes of NBC (Olympic coverage), Fox (American Idol) and others. According to R.J. Talyor, the trend carries major significance: "[A]ll of these instances of text messaging as a marketing medium prove that there are, in fact, a number of SMS programs for which a subscriber will provide their cell phone number." Talyor advises against using SMS for each and every marketing message, but under certain conditions, you might find a highly receptive audience:

Subscriber-centric communications. Even your best customers will hesitate to give you their cell phone numbers. Promising infrequent updates on topics that matter to them, however, will make them more likely to assent.

Early adopter advantage. With an SMS campaign, you'll get extra points for being on the cutting edge. It would have seemed unimaginative if Obama's VP pick came by email; even with some of the glitches, the text message garnered lots of interest.

You might not need SMS, Talyor admits. "But with recent, prominent uses of text messaging," he says, "… every marketer should do their homework in reviewing text messaging as a legitimate messaging medium to add to their marketing strategy."


The Po!nt: Try a text or two. You may discover new ways to serve your customers as you impress them with your outreach.

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