By the time you read this, you might already know Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate for the U.S. presidency.

And that clearly illustrates the strength of SMS.

As most people know, Mr. Obama’s long-awaited announcement has been expected to be delivered by text-message to supporters who’d subscribed to receive SMS alerts about his campaign. As of this writing (late Monday), the declaration was “imminent.”

Sure, the candidate was also going to post news on his Web site and send out email messages to other subscribers. But few people are in front of their computers 24-7, while most people have their cell phones with them at all times. So those who’d subscribed to get texts would be the very first (other than wife Michelle, I suppose) to know Mr. Obama’s wannabe-VP.

The impending Veep announcement illustrates one benefit of SMS marketing: Giving audiences a sense of importance and exclusivity. Being the first to obtain something—whether an iPhone or knowledge of the country’s possible next vice-prez—is itself valuable to the consumer/citizen. Marketers in all industries could adapt this fact to their own situations, and perhaps sign people up to receive “secret” SMS notices about store sales, new merchandise, or events such as concerts that are not open to the unsubscribing public.

The Obama campaign’s use of SMS also shows how individual message marketing campaigns can be used within a larger strategy. The Illinois senator is no stranger to using SMS and other digital messaging tactics—indeed, I wrote about this nearly a year ago. I’m guessing the eagerly-awaited VP announcement has garnered gobs more subscribers for the campaign. As he enticed increasingly more voters and citizens to sign up for campaign news, the candidate increased his database of very interested supporters. As long as he removed joke contacts and practiced double opt-in, that is!

With the right platform, any candidate could easily create and organize such a database —by demographic, by voting precinct, and/or by contact preferences, just to name a few categories. Such detailed database management makes sense for a candidate who wants to ensure maximum attendance at local rallies—or for marketers who want to ensure that they reach consumers who are most likely to be engaged with the brands in question.

Jokers and moralists aside, it’s not necessarily bad that a presidential hopeful knows how to sell himself to an increasingly digital-savvy constituency.

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager
“I’d rather you text me”