On November 9, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The test was conducted at 2:00pm EST and during this period, regularly scheduled television, radio, cable, radio and satellite shows were interrupted as the system was being tested.

The test produced “mixed results”, as many people were unaware and/or did NOT see or hear the test. FEMA itself was quick to point out that in hindsight, the test omitted the ONE most important communications channel where most Americans currently play or reside – MOBILE, and that in the next EAS test would incorporate mobile devices.

How could FEMA have missed the fact that there are more than 350 million cell phones or mobile devices currently in the USA alone, and that several million Americans currently do NOT own a land line? How could FEMA have missed the fact that the mobile device is the most widely held communications channel in the US today? How could FEMA have missed the fact that at 2:00 pm, most people would be at work and unlikely to be near a TV or radio? Globally, it is estimated that there are over 2Billion mobile devices currently in operation! Fortunately, FEMA has recognized its mistake and is taking the necessary steps to fix it.

Now, what does this lesson mean to you as a small or mid-sized business owner?

  • Have you adapted your communications and/or marketing channels to be in the same space as your current and prospective customers?
  • What communications/advertising channels do you currently use to reach your existing or prospective customers?
  • Are you using mostly radio, newspaper, TV or direct mail to reach your current and prospective customers?
  • Are mobile devices even remotely being considered in your future marketing strategy?
  • Do you have a multi-media marketing strategy to integrate and tie ALL your various marketing channels into one?

Some Compelling Statistics:

  • About 25% of current US mobile Web users are mobile ONLY and rising! They do not or rarely use desktops, laptops, read newspapers, except by mobile.
  • Web-Enabled Handsets: by the end of 2011, over 85 percent of new handsets will be able to access the mobile Web. In US and W. Europe, it is already surpassed that.
  • Mobile Marketing/Advertising: SMS or texting is the king of mobile messaging. More than 8 trillion text messages will be sent in 2011.
  • Mobile ad spend worldwide is wandbekleding predicted to be US$3.3 billion in 2011 sky rocketing to $20.6 billion in 2015.

Note this quote:

“In the last twelve months, customers around the world have ordered more than US$1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device,” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com (July 2010).

The Small & Medium Sized Business Can Still Compete:

Recent changes in technology and competition have now made the internet and mobile text marketing available and affordable to many small businesses. The small business may start to establish a mobile marketing presence with the following minimum functionality, and scale up as appropriate:

  • SMS Text Advertising: Get your long-code “keywords” that best describe your business name or products. A short-code keyword is also an option, but I believe short-codes have huge limitations and are long-tem, more expensive. A long-code is your normal 10 digit phone number. A short-code is special 5 or 6 digit number assigned to you by the provider.