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What You Need to Know About Mobile Campaigns from Evolve Strategies

In their Nov. 3, 2006 e-newsletter, Evolve Strategies reports the following Trends From the Trenches:

What You Need to Know About Mobile Campaigns
Is there anything to text messaging besides voting for the next American Idol winner? In a word: Yes. Here's what you need to know.

Texting is Not Just for Kids

Internationally, 52% of mobile phone owners have sent or received a text message on a mobile phone.

Americans may be mobile phone laggards compared to the rest of the world, but 35% of U.S. cell owners already use text messaging on their phones — and 118 million of us send text messages at least once a week.

Organizers Are Texting

In 2001 a million Philippinos used text messages to organize street demonstrations and topple President Estrada. Supporters of Roh Moo-hyun used text messages to turn the tide of South Korea's 2002 presidential election in its final hours. Texting increased the youth turnout in Spain's 2004 presidential elections.

With open rates of 95-98% and response rates of up to 97%, it was only a matter of time before American organizers realized what international organizers have long understood: mobile phone texting is a powerful organizing tool.

Already, American organizations like the NRDC, the ACLU, and People for the American Way are testing the waters of texting campaigns, as are John Edwards and Rick Santorum. Earlier this year organizers used mobile text messaging to organize the huge immigration protests. And the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Ad Council, and the wireless industry to deliver free wireless AMBER Alerts.

How it Works

This month the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund encouraged people attending Lollapalooza to use their cell phones to send the text message "MABO" — for Move America Beyond Oil — to a special number, or short code.

Specialized software then compiled the text-messagers' phone numbers. Later, the NRDC Action Fund will call those numbers to enlist support for its MABO petition, which lobbies for specific policies aimed at reducing American oil dependence. Later still, the NRDC Action Fund could send campaign progress reports to those numbers as well.

Where it Gets Tricky

Texting is easiest using the Latin alphabet, but it's a little more difficult with Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai scripts. "One way of circumventing this problem," one researcher suggests, "is to choose readymade messages from menus presented on web sites: once romantic messages, jokes, or short poems have been downloaded to a mobile, it is then easy to pass them on."

For more information, visit the Evolve Strategies website.

November 6, 2006 | Permalink


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We are hosting a web conference this Friday, Nov. 17 to introduce our exciting new project: BeGreenNow.com

I would like to invite you to participate in this discussion. Please send me your contact information and I'll get you more details.

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Posted by: Kelly at Nov 13, 2006 11:11:59 AM

TrakRunnas recently did a text message campaign and attracted a lot of new hip-hop artists to use their recording studios in Philly.

Posted by: Anthony Wayne at Nov 8, 2006 9:54:38 AM

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