Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Man’s Best Friend

Move over Lassie. I hate to deliver the bad news, but you are no longer man’s best friend. You have been replaced by the cell phone.

Read On:
It is estimated there are currently 263 million plus U.S. wireless subscribers of which 203 million are text messaging. Lassie, there are two other dynamics that are now coming into play here in Mobile U.S.A. You need to understand this as you take to the back seat as man’s best friend.

The first being text messaging which now outpaces the number of phone calls made on a monthly basis. According to the Nielsen Company’s latest estimates, 57 percent of all mobile subscribers 13 and older use text messaging on a regular basis. On average people text message 357 times a month compared to making 204 calls. No surprise that the 13-17 year olds led the pack with 1742 texts versus 231 calls.

The second factor will be the continual evolution of smartphones. Despite our recession burden economy which has caused a decline in mobile phone sales, nearly a quarter of all handsets sold in the 4th quarter of 2008 were smartphones, a significant increase (13%) versus the same period 2007. Remember these sales figures were recorded prior to the June 2009 release of Apple’s new iPhone and Palm’s Palm Pre. Lassie, man’s social expectation of always being connected is driving this phenomenon. Thanks to the advances in location based mobile services and applications, the rise of social media/networking, man is slowly becoming surgically attached to his mobile device of choice, his new best friend.

Implication: Mobile marketing is exploding. Consumer behavior will continuously be tracked as people move from site to site – restaurant reviews, checking out the latest baseball scores, booking airline tickets, etc. Short codes, marketing messages sent via text messaging (e.g., promotions) will be popping up on mobile screens everywhere in Mobile U.S.A. Right now mobile marketing is a $2.8 billion dollar industry that by 2011 will grow five times to $14 billion.

The good news Lassie, pet marketers are now using social media/networking to help connect owners to pets, pets to owners and pet products to both. So man’s old best friend is still an important partner in life, a topic I will address on my next blog, Pets U.S.A.


  1. I find it interesting that whenever a crowd is gathered (baseball games, concerts, street fairs) that the soft glow of PDA screens is on nearly everyone's face as they take fotos, twitter, post to FB, check email, or generally cruise the net while they are there. Doesnt anyone simply ENJOY the event anymore? I am as guilty as any; I am adicted to tweeting clever comments and sending fotos from every event I attend. Can we break our addiction? DO we want to?

  2. Awww. Poor Rover. However, everyone knows that 'naked' feeling if you happen to forget your cell phone.

    The future implication on marketers is to add cell phone numbers to your database. Just like email has become the mandatory information capture vehicle, so will cell numbers be moving forward. If you are prioritizing customer information, it may make sense to have email and cell phone at the minimum. If you are not using the technology today, that's ok; but, we probably will be a year from now.