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New findings from a Nielsen & Yahoo study find a previously undiscovered, strong connection between the mobile phone and eating out. The facts are quite interesting and important, particularly for popular restaurant chains, and they also shed light on the amount of distance that people will travel for a good deal on a meal.

The demographic used within this study was 34 million Americans who seek information about restaurant deals on their mobile phones. This population is skewed with a majority falling within the ages of 13-34. A surprising 58 percent of these people live in the suburbs, highlighting an opportunity for restaurants outside the city limits. Incomes for this population were on average $87K USD, and the majority is classified as married. Forty-one percent have one or more children in their house. (Mediapost)

The positive finding within this study is that 34 percent of respondents saw a dining ad or coupon on their phone, and 77 percent of these people sometimes or always looked at it.

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You’ve probably heard that over 90 percent of text messages are opened. This is a statistic that is proven over and over again by numerous studies and is pretty much a matter of fact these days. For marketers and business owners new to SMS marketing, this fact is comforting and encouraging.

What will comfort newbie’s to the world of SMS even more is a recent finding in a SinglePoint research study. This study found that 90 percent of text messages are read within 3 minutes of delivery! That’s truly amazing when you think about the possibilities this brings to your marketing campaign. If you own a restaurant and have a surplus supply of salad that needs to go by the end of the night, you have the comfort of knowing that if you send out a text message at 6:13pm, the moment that you realize the surplus exists, you could potentially have customers opening your doors at 7pm, showing their “free side salad with entrée” text message coupon you sent less than an hour before.

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In school, marketers learn a variety of different promotional channels they can potentially use to reach their customers. Traditional channels include T.V., radio, billboard, telemarketing, and newspaper. With T.V., you can really only estimate the number of people that will actually see your ad, and nowadays with TiVo and new ways to avoid commercials, the intended effect of your ad diminishes further. Radio, where it’s also hard to calculate the number of listeners that truly engage with an ad, is still a pretty viable marketing channel, one that mixes quite easily with mobile actually. Billboard? Same as radio. Marketing educators now need to get with the times and update their curriculums to include online and mobile advertising.

Within online and mobile advertising, there are different categories and the effectiveness and reach of each of these varies. Take online for example. You can be online on your computer, laptop, or mobile phone. And each of these marketing channels will need a different approach to make sure consumers see your advertisements. The same goes for a mobile phone. You can either reach people by call, a text message, or online, if they have all of those features. The reality still remains that the vast majority of phones don’t have either the ability or the relevant plan to be online. However, almost all phones have the ability for you to call and text. Narrowing this down even further, a telemarketing call is a tried and tired practice. However, a permission-based text message is still warmly welcomed, and even requested, by consumers.

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It’s perceived by some that luxury brands, by their very nature, would stay away from text message marketing campaigns. This is because most consumers and business owners alike still perceive text message marketing to be a medium to send out a coupon or a discount, an action that is contrary to the essence of a luxury brand. In reality, this is not the case at all- text message marketing actually works quite complementarily with luxury brands.

Take Cartier for example. Over the past holiday season they launched a campaign called “Winter Tale” to get consumers talking about their business and luxurious French watches. They used the keyword “FOLLOW CARTIER” for consumers to text into, and by doing so consumers received information on the brand’s seasonal offerings and knowledge of new products.

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Of all of the market research companies available in the world, Nielsen is one of the most respectable and credible. It is Nelsen’s job to stay on top of market trends, and it’s no surprise that they have created a factsheet called the “U.S. Media Universe” that focuses on reporting the key trends in U.S. consumers’ relationships with their favorite media tools. Read on for some facts that will help you understand U.S. consumers and predict their media-related behavior for 2011.

As of January 2011, there are 228 million mobile phone users in the U.S. Of those, 83.2 million have access and use the web on their phones. That’s about 36 percent of total mobile phone users. Sixty six percent of mobile phone users send text messages, according to their study. Nielsen has broken down the amount of texters by age group. The highest amount of texts comes from 13-17 year olds, an age group that sends 3,705 text messages a month! That’s over 44 thousand text messages a year. The remaining age groups usage goes down steadily. Eighteen to 24 year olds send 1,707 a month, 25 to 34 year olds send 758, 35 to 44 year olds send 583, 45-54 year olds send 349, 55 to 64 years olds send 124, and all 65 plus year olds send on average 41 messages a month. The key thing to note is that there is not a single age group that is NOT texting, they all are.

When it comes to gender, women tend to send more texts and talk more on the phone than males. On average, a woman will send 716 texts a month compared to a man’s 555.

How can this information help you? Well, if you are a marketer or business owner, knowing that the total U.S. population is 310 million and that 228 million of them are texting, it’s safe to say that if your target market is between the ages of 13-64, you can reach them by text. Also, if you are targeting various age groups, you can use this information to help allocate your advertising budget based on your understanding of how that group communicates. Obviously, if 13-17 year olds are within your target market, the unparelleled communication tool to get their attention is a text. The same goes for allocating budgets for targeting women versus men.

With consumer spending set to increase in 2011, now is a good time to get your marketing message into the hands of your target consumers via text.