As U.S. President Barack Obama was inaugurated this month, his promises for “change” echoed in media coverage nonstop. Mobile marketers, though, have actually seen President Obama usher in change for their industry.

The former Illinois senator hit the ground running, implementing SMS alerts a year and a half before the November 2008 election. While other candidates were fiddling with Web forms and email newsletters, President Obama enticed supporters to sign up to receive news and updates about his campaign via text message. The campaign used SMS for everything from announcing last-minute rallies to declaring now-Vice President Joe Biden as the candidate\’s running mate.

Moreover the 44th American president\’s heavy reliance on his BlackBerry was something consumers red or blue could understand. (He almost had to give it up due to both security reasons and a federal open records law for presidential documents.) It underscored just how much every citizen relies on his or her cell phone these days. Smartphones like BlackBerrys allow the consumer to be contacted not just by voice and SMS, but also by mobile email and mobile Internet. (Although texts are the most urgent type of message, since they\’re instantly viewable by the recipient even if he or she is doing something else.)

Thanks to President Obama, marketers understand more than ever:

  • That mobile messaging is the best way to reach a consumer with urgent news, such as information about a sale on an item that the consumer has been interested in buying.
  • That email is increasingly becoming a mobile message type, and so marketers should tailor their emails (whether a short notice or a newsletter) to the specs of a smart phone. If customers are mostly business clients, these emails should be tailored to the BlackBerry.
  • That the mobile phone is an indispensible part of a consumer\’s life, and so marketers must treat it with respect – most important being that they only engage in opt-in campaigns.

Hail to the cell!