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!