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Part III: The Land of Opportunity – Mobile Consumer Engagement

The world, in particular, the mobile world, has changed dramatically since June 29, 2007; the day the first generation iPhone was released. No one could have predicted the massive change this device would usher in, or how drastically the landscape would change over the next six years. Six years ago, the Blackberry was the dominant device and operating system and today they’re fighting to stay alive. Six years ago, Android wasn’t on a single consumer’s mobile device, today it’s the most popular operating system in the world. There is, however, one thing that has remained constant, and often overlooked during the past six years: text messaging was and is the world’s most popular form of communication. Furthermore, utilizing text messaging within your marketing presents the biggest and potentially most profitable opportunity for business today to engage the Mobile Consumer.

First, let’s quickly examine the viability of text messaging as a marketing medium. Since 2007, the volume of text messages sent annually within the U.S. has increased from 362.5 billion to 2.19 trillion. Commercially, text messaging has become a massively large industry valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition to being the most popular form of communication here in the US, it’s estimated that globally, over 80 percent of all mobile subscribers use this application on their devices. Text messaging, unlike third-party native applications, is standard across device types and carriers. Text messaging is relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of traditional marketing; at an estimated average price only $0.11 per message globally. And finally, it has a direct and quantifiable ROI associated with it, because each time a consumer ”texts-in” to a campaign, marketers are able to capture information about that consumer immediately, which includes their phone number, what they texted in about, the time and date of their text and potentially even their location.

Sounds like a marketer’s dream medium if you ask me, but I am certainly a bit biased. The Real Estate Book, a premier industry publication, began using text message marketing within their magazines in 2011. I recently caught up with Adam Brown, senior vice president of The Real Estate Book, who summarized their use of text messaging by saying, “the incorporation of text message lead generation within our magazines has added substantial validity to the argument that not only is print alive, but better than ever. Our advertisers, on average, are receiving five times as many Leads from text message inquiries as they are from online. The sheer volume, combined with the fact that these leads are inherently more valuable since they provide the opportunity to represent both sides of the transaction, goes a long way towards reaffirming to our advertisers the ROI of our printed pages.” In addition, the volume of total leads The Real Estate Book’s advertisers have received has grown steadily by over 200 percent year over year.