SMS Texting: Dangerous, Frustrating, or Effective Marketing Channel?

By | June 25, 2010

Have you seen the latest research on texting? According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, adults are more likely to read and write text messages on their phones while driving than their teenage counterparts. The study found that half of those adults who use text messaging have done so while behind the wheel of a car, compared with 34% of texting teens between the ages of 16 and 17 years old. 74% of adults with cell phones have used their phones while driving.

This is especially dangerous when you consider that a study last year by the Virginia Tech Transportation Unit found that motorists who send or receive SMS messages while driving are 23 times more likely to get into an accident than those motorists who ignore their phone behind the wheel.

On the other side of the coin “texting” is becoming one of the main ways many parents communicate with their kids. For youngsters today, it is the preferred communication mode and, as a result, many parents when they get a text message assume it is from one of their kids. The frustrating part is that some companies have started to use texting as a marketing tool.

Personally I don’t like this. I assume that any text is from my son. I assume there is a certain priority to the text. I stop what I am doing and become irritated when I leave a meeting to pick up a text and find that it’s a message from ATT telling me to pay my bill!

What about you? Are you including text messaging as part of a marketing campaign? And how do you feel when you get a spam text message?

Howard Fenton is a Senior Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research.

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2 thoughts on “SMS Texting: Dangerous, Frustrating, or Effective Marketing Channel?

  1. Elizabeth Gooding

    There is a big difference between spam texting, marketing texting (from companies you do business with) and alert texting (from companies you do business with) – pretty much in order of intrusiveness. I actively sign up for certain text messages – like alerts that my flight is delayed, my credit card company suspects fraud, my e-statements can’t be delivered because my email is full.

    Companies who are doing well – for example, the BoltBus from Boston to New York, capture your email and text information to serve you better. They don’t use it for spam.

    With regard to the dangers of texting – my favorite quote is “Honk if you love Jesus. Drive while texting if you want to meet him.”

  2. Howie Fenton

    Liz,
    Good and funny points. I agree, I very much appreciate the email or text alerts I get when I am traveling. I welcome them and they help me make take action to make travel changes. But I hate with a passion when AT&T contacts me about my bill or when one of the political parties message me to remind me to vote.

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