Web-enabled Handsets Won’t Trump SMS

Web-enabled Handsets - VoyagerConventional wisdom is that LG’s Voyager handset, to be sold exclusively by Verizon, is an iPhone me-too. And at first glance, the slick black case, colorful graphics, and touch interface do indeed look familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention ever since last January’s Macworld, where Apple’s phone debuted.

What struck me, though, was the envelope icon in the top line of Voyager’s screen. Its title: ”TXT Message.” The iPhone has a comparable graphic – a voice balloon that says ”SMS” with the title ”Text” – in a similar position of prominence.

So much for mobile Internet and multimedia capabilities. Apple does appear to have sparked a trend amongst other handset makers. But with their nifty new models, LG and Apple both seem to acknowledge that SMS, or texting, is a major demand of phone users.

And that’s a very important point to consider when thinking about mobile marketing.

Sure, advanced smartphones and multi-media handsets offer great possibilities in regards to multi-channel campaigns. A brand could reach a person via Internet in more places than ever; the consumer won’t have to be in front of his or her computer. And multi-channel campaigns – like placing an ad on a game or social networking site that promotes an email address or short code to which the person can send messages in order to receive more information about a brand – can be especially relevant when a consumer’s phone can engage in different platforms.

But that just further emphasizes the importance of ”older” technologies like SMS and email. Not only do these two platforms need to be part of an overall digital strategy; they are also the technology that consumers use the most. According to a MediaPost report about a study from Razorfish this week, ”Mobile multimedia usage was the one area that lacked strong penetration, even with connected consumers,” who were defined as ”or online users over age 20 who had broadband access, visited socially oriented sites like MySpace or YouTube, and spent at least $200 online in the last calendar year.”

For all the talk about the mobile web, and how the iPhone will change what consumers will want to do with their cell phones, none of that negates the importance of targeted messaging – whether an SMS marketing campaign or one sent via email.

Eydie Cubarrubia
Marketing Communications Manager

 

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