Wednesday AM February 18th, 2009

Text messaging is evolving into a content delivery system. Ed Mayberry reports that one entrepreneur thinks texting can be useful in the business world.

image of texting

A late 2006 business magazine article said texting is insanely popular overseas, but practically nonexistent in the United States.  Kevin Bertram with Distributive Networks is trying to change that.  His Washington, D.C.-based firm enables clients to reach and interact with millions of mobile device users.

“We think that mobile marketing’s really been largely untapped by retailers, and the retailers that don’t are going to be left behind just like the retailers who got into e-commerce late to the game definitely suffered.  You’ll see the same for those who don’t get into mobile marketing in a timely manner.” 

Distributive Networks clients include Obama for America, which has caused other marketers to take a look. 

“We helped them interact with voters, donors, volunteers, members of the press, via text message.  So it’s another tool for the campaign to reach all of those people.”

Interactive texting has been used on MTV, with messages scrolling across the screen.  It’s been used at Rolling Stones, U2 and Paul McCartney concerts, with text messages projected on big screens.

“Let’s say a hockey team will want to display the results of a poll live in their arena.  And they just have very different needs from, then, a retailer, who is far more interested in seeing how their mobile marketing efforts are driving foot traffic to their store.  We customize our solution.”

Bertram says texting is more popular among younger users.  But he says that’s changing.

“It’s not unlike e-mail, where initially e-mail was only used by a fairly young or academic demographic.  We similarly see text messaging starting to go through that change where different demographics are starting to use text messaging.  Probably the most interesting one is people who have children in college, because their children won’t call them back, they won’t e-mail them back, but their children will text them back.”

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.