Thursday, March 25, 2010

Man’s Best Friend – An Update

Subsequent to suggesting in my previous
blog that spring is in the air, I have set up residency in Washington Square Park here in Philadelphia. Plenty of fun observations, but again validated cell phones, not dogs, are now man’s best friend. It’s a good time for an update.

Read On:
CTIA, the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry is wrapping up its spring show (CTIA 2010) in Las Vegas today. They reported, that as of June 2009, there were 276.6 million wireless subscribers which equates to a wireless penetration of 89% of U.S. Households. That compares to 39% of U.S. Households that own at least one dog; there are approximately 77.5 million dogs in the U.S.

In my original
Man's Best Friend blog, I utilized Nielsen statistics that indicated there were 263 million subscribers of which 203 were texting. On average, people were texting more than calling (357 texts vs. 204 calls per month). No surprise, teens lead the pack. Nielsen now indicates American teens send an average 3,146 texts a month, an average of 10 per hour when they are not in school or sleeping. According to Nielsen, overall texting will continue to grow as this segment of the population ages, plus older generations’ text with them to stay in contact.

All these statistics were floating around in my head as I sat in Washington Square Park, since I recently had the opportunity to present my current stump speech Cell Me The Snacks at an industry conference. I addressed how mobile marketing is exploding, based on the potential of short codes, marketing messages sent via text messaging and the advancement of smartphone technology. Consumer behavior will be monitored 24/7. As a result marketers have developed five different psychographics of cell phone users. Two popped to top of mind as I sat in the park observing more people on their phones than walking dogs. The first being mobiratis, 19% of mobile phone owners that represent a generation that has grown up with cell phones and could not imagine life without them. The second being social connectors, 22% of mobile phone owners – communication is central to their lives, their phone is the conduit to their social world.

The mobiratis and social connectors have been out in full force this past week in my local park, but candidly no one appeared as connected as the few dogs that showed up. Observe dogs; they have a nose for connecting.


  1. Great post! I am going to ponder the social networking of dogs to see if there are some key learnings that could be reapplied in business.

  2. Jim, I don't know if you have done much investigation of the use of mobile marketing in Japan, but you may see some "leading indicators" there. The Economist had a good writeup on mobile technology trends worldwide a few weeks ago, and their data indicated that Japanese are far more text-heavy than US users. US users, even teenagers, are still much more heavily weighted towards phone calls than the Japanese, as talking on a cell while walking or in subways is still considered taboo in Japan. I'm not sure if "texting" has translated into "mobile web use" but if you are interested in building further expertise on the subject, it may be worth some research.

  3. Jim,

    Love this post... I guess the creative marketer here (and I'm hoping there are some left) will find ways to use tech to drive human interactions. Flash mobs are a great example of how people come together because of technology. My hope is that something good will come out of all of this connectedness!

  4. I have a dog and a cell phone and love texting while I take him for a walk.

    Actually, the stats you mention are the reason mobile marketing is going to explode. Can't go to any marketing conference today without hearing about it. Marketers should not forget, it's just another tactic in the tool-kit.

  5. Hi Jimmy,

    As usual another thought provoking post. You can certainly take lessons in connecting from watching the behaviour of any animal that by natural preference are pack animals.

    Where dogs differ from humans is that they suspend judgement until after they have made the approach to a fellow dog they have spotted in their current environment.

    How often do we not make an approach to a potential connection because we allow our biases to prejudge people mostly based on appearance or on hearing of accents foreign to our own.

    Food for thought for all business owners and managers.