Texting is Here to Stay
It’s 2012, the “year of mobile.” In ancient times–say 2006-2010–major brands, agencies, marketers and advertisers resisted adding mobile to campaigns. But then they heard about a body of water called Lake Mobile in Iowa and its upcoming text fest sponsored by Mobile Commons.
Made famous by Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon just a few miles down the road, Lake Mobile is also known for its residents’ love of mobile gadgets. Folks there, I’m told, spend most of their time texting, surfing the Web, taking pictures and otherwise having a great time. Kinda like our own Lake Elizabeth here in Fremont, CA.
A person-made lake, brands, agencies and advertisers in New York, LA and Chicago heard about it but couldn’t find it on a map. Still they wondered about the natiions fuss over a bunch of kids and middle-age folks playing with cell phones especially sending tons of messages called “texts.”
As the story goes, lots of visitors and townspeople –thousands in fact–were getting ready to attend the text fest with their iPhones, (unlocked) Androids (not robots), Windows (without frames) and BlackBerries (no fruit). Lake Mobile wanted to have the biggest and best text fest (sorta like a wireless Woodstock) at a Lake Mobile coming-out party lasting a week next month.
One of Mobile Commons clients, National Public Radio, agreed to learn rap and text for the event:
Text Fest Approaches: Mobile Commons Trains NPR Staff
Mobile Channel Dominates Second Half of 21st Century
Two weeks before the event, brands, agencies, advertisers they had changed their minds. Unlike older media channels of this century (radio, television, print), everyone acknowledged that mobile adoption rates skyrocketed.
Realizing the simplicity and effectiveness of mobile consumer acceptance of this multichannel device, everyone agreed mobile phone growth will be the most important media to emerge.
Whether due to “democratized fear” by those holding mobile and advertising budgets or rejection of mobile as complimentary to traditional media, historians will write about the past twenty years with insights none of us can even fathom.
10 billion wireless devices, mass consumer adoption, business and commerce applications, non-profit, political and other action groups. This IS and HAS BEEN the year of mobile since the mid-1990′s.
But a few researchers of the era–most prominently Mary Meeker, formerly with Stanley and Morgan–forecast the explosive growth of the mobile Internet. The demise of desktop to mobile Web is undeniably going to change how we work and re-create. Mobile devices will change our life.
Rich mobile advertising, flashing banners, streaming video have emerged rapidly in the industry. But SMS messaging offers two-way global reach at low cost with compelling calls-to-action, involvement, engagement, excitement. Non-profit, political and other pro-active groups can mount text campaigns at low cost, capturing invaluable data for building consumer relationships.
So multiple brands, small business marketers and non-profits geared up for the text fest at Lake Mobile. Attendees opted-in for preliminary information, gave feedback to sponsors, tweeted, facedboooked, linkedined. Texts flew airborne across the country. “Come to Lake Michigan in Iowa. Be a part of the revolution.”
Like speedy falcons, texts flew everywhere. From Iowa to Indiana, from New Hampshire to London, Paris to Tokyo. A network of nodes (people) formed global connections. Everyone knew about the text fest in Iowa even if they weren’t coming. Volunteers who are attending offered to report the event via text and shortcodes set up by Mobile Commons and other sponsors. No one with a simple cell would miss news of the event.
CRM and Databases Capture Valuable Demographics
“We understand that mobile is not just marketing channel; it’s a conversation channel, and the long term value for organizations of all kinds comes now in developing one to one conversations. (Jed Alpert, The Mobile Marketing Revolution).
The device that stays within nine feet of owners 24/7, that never leaves home or office without its owner, that entertains, informs, communicates, creates human interactions with others on social networks...the cell phone.
Marketers before the Text Fest learned how to capture individual preferences and interests, entered into CRM systems, data segmented for future conversations, increasing consumer engagement and response. Excitement about sharing information about tiny Lake Mobile, Iowa’s text fest.
For the rest of the story, listen to the podcast interview with Jed Alpert and Brian Prows. (MobileBeyond podcasts stream worldwide courtesy of NetDNA and CloudFlare.)
Jed Alpert Background
Jed co-founded and is the Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Commons. He is considered one of the foremost authorities on mobile communications strategy, and he and his work have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Fast Company, MSNBC and many more.
He has guest lectured at the Kennedy School of Government and New York University, and has recently been a featured speaker at the Nonick International Conference on Internet Trends, the Nonprofit Technology Conference, the National Conference on Media Reform and more.
Additionally, he is a frequent participant in Aspen Institute forums and Ford Foundation events. He is the author of the book The Mobile Marketing Revolution: How Your Brand Can Have a One-to-One Conversation with Everyone.
Further Reading and Listening:
Top 2 Ways-Non Profits Use Mobile (Public Radio)