August 26th, 2009 by Jessica Tsai

In his session today at the 2009 CRM Evolution show — a session on mobile marketing — Michael Thomas, president of the CRM Association in North America and social CRM consultant at New Fire Social Media, brought up the point that the average person using text messages is 38 years old. “This is not a youth movement,” he stressed.

Gen X grew up with the PC, while Gen Y grew up with the cell phone. I can’t remember how people got along without cell phones — were we more punctual people back then? Or have our minds just got that much more relaxed now that we have technology to do all our remembering and excuse-providing (“Yeah, I sent a text message to you to let you know I’d be late! You didn’t get it? Must be my phone. Whoops.”).

Chris’s younger sister, however, is in a whole other playing field when it comes to mobile — 17,000 text messages in one month. ONE MONTH! I don’t send that many in a year, or even two. I can’t even imagine what the group Marketspace’s Jeffrey Rayport called Generation Z (born in or after 2003) will be like when it comes to technological consumption.

Thomas — a past recipient of CRM magazine’s Influential Leader award — noted results from one study that said 87 percent of Americans claim their mobile device is an integral part of their lives. Rarely do we ever leave the house without our phone. For the most part, it’s right up there with our wallet and keys.

For me, before I got the iPhone, I was horrible at remembering to bring my phone. (Even with the iPhone I still have problems answering my phone when someone’s calling/texting me. It’s very much a when-I-need-it device, as opposed to a when-others-need me one. Whoops.)

Since I wrote my piece on mobile marketing last year, it seems little has really changed in terms of mobile developments. Sure, the iPhone has come out, and there are now 50,000+ applications for it on Apple’s App Store, but, in terms of bringing external information onto the phone, consumers and marketers are still getting used to using marketing tools like short codes, mobile URLs, and taking pictures of a barcode, to get information on their mobile devices.

Asia’s been doing this stuff for years, it seems. Japan, Thomas said, is three to five years ahead of the United States in terms of mobile technology. And yet, even when we do get the technology, he emphasized that like any marketing channel, there needs to be:

  • a strategy;
  • an end result in sight; and
  • metrics.
I’m going to be in Japan in three days. I’ll let you know what three years from now looks like when I get back.

Seems like phone companies are making so much money on texting they have no urgency to expand their offerings and open up to the outside world. Yes, I know there are examples but have any been successfully and created waves in the industry?

Comment by Claus@VerticPortals — — August 27, 2009 @ 11:24 am

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