Cell Phone Outreach

My 2nd three week trip to China and Taiwan continued to reinforce my interest in how the cell phone can be used for communication of various messages or as a follow up tool to another media campaign. Just looking at Taiwan with cell phone penatration at 120% of the total population and 3G in full use and China’s cell phone ownership at over 500 million  one wonders how we could use this pervasive medium more effectively. When I am in China I get at least 10 text messages a day on news items and advertising offers. Could we send out similar types of messages with prosocial or gospel messages.

So, from a strategy perspective, one should integrate the cell phone as part of an internet strategy. On every media message stent out, whether radio, video or literature use a sms phone # for people to respond. The goal is to have a low commitment approach to encourage people to respond. Systems like FrontlineSMS allow the cell phone to be connected to a browser on the Mac or PC. The SMS message is ported to the computer and a person can answer from the computer keyboard. It also means that followup must be done from one computer. This week I am investigating a system that will port directly to the internet with SMS and email capability built in. The advantage is that (for example) an outreach in a specific country could generate SMS responses which will migrate to the web. A person with the same language skills in, say, California, could build relationships with SMS, leading that person towards the truth!

5 Responses to Cell Phone Outreach

  1. Eileen says:

    Cell phone is the way to reach folk in Africa. Nearly everyone has one, even young kids and folk in low income groups.

    It’s not used much by marketers.

    One minister’s wife sends me a Bible verse (unsolicited) once a week & I’m not in her church. I fwd it to a friend.

    Folk with internet on cell now want websites. It has introduced them to the web without the expense of a computer. It is about to explode in Africa

  2. Eileen says:

    Many folk in Africa live in rural areas where there are no telephone lines, so they get cell phones. I’m sure it’s the same in many countries. Cell phone evangelism is underutilised.

  3. What was the results of your investagation?

    “This week I am investigating a system that will port directly to the internet with SMS and email capability built in.”

  4. Eileen says:

    Frontline SMS sounds a great way to communicate. It could be used by a pastor to send a “Verse of the Week” to his flock, many of whom will not have email. It can bridge the digital divide in developing countries.

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