Monday, January 10, 2005

Why SMS Will Soon Matter

From Why SMS marketing will soon matter in the US.

The Cellphone Evolves From Voice Device to Popular Multimedia Tool

Back in my native Britain for Christmas -- they don't do that PC "holidays" guff in Blighty -- I was struck by the omnipotence of the mobile phone. There are lots of people here who would tell you their cellphone is
important to them, but in the U.K. the mobile has attained the kind of lifeblood status most of America still reserves for cars and TVs.

Perhaps the difference lies in the breadth of functions for which cellphones are used. In the U.K., radio or TV "call-ins" have been replaced by "text-ins."

Yeah but we have voting by SMS on American Idol..

The corollary of broader use of cellphones in Europe, Asia and the Middle East is that marketers in these regions have paid more attention to the cell as a marketing channel.

Few European and Asian marketers are spending mega-bucks, according to Starcom Senior Vice President Andrew Swinand, who has overseen research in this area. But he notes that most are making cellphones a campaign component, if only because they realize their growing importance as a medium and want to educate themselves. And he feels that U.S. marketers had better start paying attention too.

Portable communications device
"The key thing is how people define the phone and our research shows a big shift," he says. "It's tipped from being seen as a voice-to-voice tool to being a portable communications device." Swinand says that is the "critical first step" towards the type of use seen in the U.K.

When we recognize that the cell phone is really a mobile PC that we can communicate with, is when mobile marketing takes off.

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