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Guest blog: Mobile SMS – The Undisputed King of Applications by Michael Marlatt

Let’s face it, our mobile device is with us 24×7, always within arms reach, and rarely ever shared. Regardless of what device you favor, one thing is certain: the mobile device connects us all and is the one piece of technology that we never seem to be without. With the recent buzz surrounding mobile apps, it’s important we don’t forget one of the most basic (yet powerful functions) of the mobile device – SMS (text-messaging).

Let’s first define SMS (text messaging)…

According to the CTIA:

SMS (Short Message Service) is a text-only message delivery system on mobile phone networks. As a compliment to voice calls, text messages travel through the wireless service provider’s network, routed and delivered much like a voice call. The messaging server for SMS or text messaging routes all messages to the appropriate mobile phone or application based on the number in the destination address.

SMS: Some amazing SMS stats…

  • On July 23rd 2010, SMS will celebrate its 18th birthday.
  • SMS (text message) user base in 2009: 3.6 Billion
  • By the end of 2010, it is estimated that we will finally reach 4B active users of SMS text messaging.
  • Worldwide, 4.5 Trillion SMS text messages were sent in 2009.
  • SMS usage is expected to grow by 22% in 2010, to – 5.5 Trillion total SMS text messages sent globally. The big driver in the SMS traffic now is North America, as Americans finally joined the SMS texting bandwagon along with the rest of the world.
  • 94% read rate for SMS (75% read immediately), 15-20% response rate vs 1% for traditional media

And, did you know…

  • 4.6 Billion actual mobile phones are expected to be in use by the end of 2010
  • 60 countries have already reached 100% mobile phone penetration rates (incl. Brazil, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Turkey)
  • Italy, Israel, Hong Kong, Russia etc are all at 150% mobile phone penetration
  • Europe has surpassed 125% mobile phone penetration rate
  • Worldwide email user base: 1.4 Billion
  • Worldwide Internet user base: 1.7 Billion (including those who access at internet cafe’s and those who use the internet on their mobile phones).
  • Worldwide PC user base: 1.2 Billion

Source: Tomi Ahonen, Almanac-2010

So what’s the point?

With the amazing apps being produced for the Android, and iPhone, it’s very easy to be enamored by all the slick new mobile applications flooding the market. However, let’s not forget that SMS is still the most widely used application on the planet and an extremely powerful communication channel for connecting and engaging our target audience. While many mobile users may not yet have a smart phone, or even mobile internet access, virtually every mobile device has SMS (text-messaging) capability. If you are a company planning on integrating mobile as part your overall interactive marketing strategy (and have a limited budget/resources), consider creating an SMS campaign and tie that into your mobile web site. Most importantly, remember that it doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.

As an aside, on April 26th, I will be co-presenting at SHRM in Orlando-FL to further elaborate on this topic (along with my good friend Chris Hoyt-AKA @TheRecruiterGuy). If you have plans to attend SHRM this month, please make sure to look me up and say hello.

About the Author:

Michael Marlatt is a Recruiting Consultant at Microsoft and Mobile Evangelist. He has over 13 years of recruiting experience and has worked for top-tier organizations such as Deloitte Consulting, Ernst & Young-LLP, Capgemini, Amdocs Consulting, and Hewitt Associates. Michael has recruited in the telecom/wireless industry for over eight years and has a strong passion for mobile media & technology, as well as emerging trends in the cloud computing space.

Michael maintains a blog at You may email Michael at or follow him on Twitter @MichaelMarlatt.

Prefer the mobile? Visit Michael’s mobile site at, or, visit his iPhone/iPod-optimized site by pointing your mobile browser to

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