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If you want to communicate to your audience, change the way people behave and perform, or simply provide information on demand (and when people need it), make sure you take a giant leaf out of marketing’s book. If you don’t, your outrageously good content risks gathering dust.

Have you ever seen the statistics on how people prioritise reading their SMS (text) messages over email? Reading a post recently about this topic, I thought the following numbers from the Oxygen8Blog were worth sharing*.

  • 97 percent of mobile subscribers will read an SMS message within 15 minutes of receiving it; 84 percent will respond within 1 hour (studies by Nielsen Mobile)
  • SMS produces engagement rates 6 to 8 times higher than email (Cellit)
  • 98% of text messages are read, compared to 22% of emails, 29% of tweets and 12% of Facebook posts (Frost & Sullivan 2010, Slick Text)
  • The average person looks at his/her phone 150 times per day (Nokia)

*These stats are changing all the time. The above numbers are from a range of sources , and I have seen other numbers that vary slightly (‘same same, but different’). What’s important is the dramatic difference your success rate when trying to communicate. Email vs SMS: Email’s knocked out in the first round I think.

For some great reads and more stats, visit:

Mobile marketing review

Tatango SMS marketing blog

Phone arena news

So after you’ve looked at some of this data and perhaps gone to one of the links – are you thinking: Ok, sure, but I’m an educator, I’m in L&D, I’m in HR, I’m in IT managing a system’s rollout, I’m in corporate affairs/communications and… I AM NOT in marketing.

As I said at the start, if you want to communicate, change the way people behave/perform or provide information on demand, you need to make marketing a large part of your strategy from the start:

Without marketing, you have no learning campaign.

With mobile, your hit rate improves dramatically.

We’re starting to see some smart organisations jumping on board the SMS bandwagon; using it to their advantage to communicate with their workforce. Note: make sure it’s not spam though; this is the fastest way to ‘kill the messenger’.

For example, your company is going through a new systems rollout to all staff – but your employees are tired of seeing what they perceive to be the ‘same old’ messages coming via email and eLearning – white noise, blah blah blah. We’ve learnt that SMS is far more effective. Couple instant messaging with some ‘Just in time, Just enough, and Just for me Mobile Learning (mLearning)’, and using a tool such as our Mobile Learning Service (MLS is a brand new offering. Pssst… we’re very excited about it), you can push out updates to staff, create dynamic and just in time content with ease for mobile, users can learn when and where they need to, and it’s all recorded and fed to your central learning records (LMS/LRS etc or just keep it on the MLS data base).

And how about your corporate communications strategy?

Tony’s Communicating >>>

Tony heads up corporate communications and on a yearly basis helps coordinate his CEO’s strategy launch. The cool thing with MLS is that within hours of the CEO’s presentation, Tony has uploaded an edited video and asked three key questions on core strategy that the CEO covered; it’s pushed out to all staff and is tracked.

Fiona’s listening <<<

Fiona gets the message from Tony that she needs to watch a video and answer some questions. She’s in a hurry but she knows this is tracked, so she’d better do it. She taps the link on her phone and launches the training. She skips the CEO video thinking ‘same old same old’ … and guess what, Fiona doesn’t pass the simple assessment because she couldn’t answer what the three critical strategic pillars were … so she asks a friend, who did watch the video – why not, watching video on smart phones is second nature now – people in fact associate entertainment to their phones. Fiona then gets the questions right and guess what? Fiona’s now listening…and will pay more attention next time. Tony’s communicated!

Using SMS to market your learning within your organisation is just one idea from many we can take from marketing professionals – the statistics add up. As a learning professional, I know I get a lot of ideas from related fields and some completely unrelated as I’m sure we all do. mLearning has a big part to play in the coming years I think in terms of content delivery – but also, and perhaps more importantly, the marketing of the message.

Make sure you drop us a line at The Learning Hook if you have any queries, questions or even quagmires about mLearning – we have solutions that are powerful in their simplicity and practical in their brilliance. We’ve designed it, so you can train people – it’s that simple. Talk to us.

This image says it all – one of Australia’s leading SMS gateways, SMS Global, posted it on their Facebook page (26/8/10) – thanks for sharing!

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