Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cell phones emerging as ultimate source of information and entertainment

Today's Wall Street Journal's article "A New Odd Couple: Google, P&G Swap Workers to Spur Innovation" brought to light some interesting data on the change in media usage.   According to the WSJ's sidebar "Where the Buyers Are" that accompanied this article, Forrester Research notes the typical American spends 12.7 hours using the Internet and 10.4 hours watching what my mother would term as the "boob tube."   More interesting to me is the 8.9 hours a week that the typical American spends on his cell phone.

For me, the Internet has replaced TV as the source of news and information.  First, I can get the info in real time without having to wait for the score of the Florida-Citadel football game on ESPN or Fox Sports.   However, the true source of information and soon, entertainment, is my cell phone.   Just ask my wife, and she'll tell you that I will sneak looks at my cell phone for updated news and information.

For one client, Crosslink Media, this change towards a heavier usage of the cell phone is an ideal situation for them.   I believe the company has created some truly innovative marketing applications for cell phones.  However, the cell phone has some other operational capabilities that make it appealing to businesses.

For example, south Texas gets one or two ice storms every year.   When the roads and bridges freeze because the weather gets below 32 degreees, a lot of companies use their local TV and radio stations to report business or delayed closings.

However, what if that business could enroll every employee's cell phone into a database that sends a message at 6 a.m. that because of inclement weather they can spend a couple of extra hours at home until the roads thaw out?  Imagine too, that you have a family of three kids, one in the local college, one in a public high school and another at parochial elementary school.   Each school could also send an advisory about possible class cancellation.

There are ways that marketing companies and advertising firms can make money by the use of these new devices.  However, the traditional ad firms make too much money on traditional TV advertisement for them to think of ways to use wireless advertising.   For traditional business, it's time for them to ask their advertising and public relations firms to show them the ways that they can embrace wireless technology as well as a better use of Internet campaigns.

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