The future of e-mail / text message alerts and mobile Web sites

Research proposal

Alex Kreitman

As media outlets continue to evolve and come up with new products, ideas and ways to deliver the news to their readers, mobile news has jumped out as a popular avenue.

E-mail and text message news alerts started several years ago and have grown in popularity. This form of news delivery is effective because the recipient is able to pick and choose what kind of content they want to receive. They have also chosen to receive that specific service, making them a willing recipient as opposed to spam recipients. For the media outlet sending the messages, it is the most effective way to reach an audience immediately and target advertising to that audience.

UnknownText message alerts are delivered immediately to cellular phones making it the fastest way to get news out to readers. But, with the increased use of mobile phones like the Blackberry and iPhone, many users receive e-mail alerts just as fast, with alerts dropping into inboxes on mobile devices immediately. E-mail newsletters have become the newest addition to the marketing campaign. Newsletters pull an RSS feed of the latest headlines from the news outlet’s Web site and deliver it in e-mail newsletter form. This presentation allows for more advertising positions and sends more information to the recipient, therefore increasing the click through rate. Some experts believe that this practice is the future of news distribution.

Media organizations are putting serious money into e-mail and text message campaigns and have also focused efforts on developing and improving mobile Web sites. These sites allow readers with mobile phones to view a much cleaner news Web site. Mobile Web sites eliminate big graphics that take long to load and represent information in an easy to read form.

E-mail and text message alerts and mobile Web sites have become the new standard for presenting news with the increase in mobile phone popularity. In the future we will see more efforts put into these tools.

In order to find out how much concentration media organizations are putting into these campaigns and to learn best practices, interviews will be conducted with at least 10 professionals that have experience in this field. Possible interview subjects include Elizabeth Stevens, director of e-mail marketing at Freedom Communications; Melissa Monk, director of text message marketing and mobile Web site development for Freedom Communications; SilverPop Systems, e-mail marketing provider; Verve Wireless, text message alert provider; Bob Kempf, Vice president and director of product development at The Boston Globe; Dan Barkin, Senior online editor, Raleigh News & Observer; Jason Silvenstein, Vice president of interactive media, Charlotte Observer; Barry Klaus, news director WXII Channel 12, Winston-Salem, NC.

Interviews will be conducted in person, via Skype, phone or e-mail depending on availability restrictions. The desired information from the above professionals includes details as to what service their organization is using to send out e-mail and text message alerts, what kind of marketing efforts are being implemented to grow list totals and what they think the future holds for this kind of delivery system.

In addition to interviewing professionals related to the topic, research will be conducted on different types of e-mail and text message alerts, specifically layout and design options and methods of advertising. Data will be collected as to when alerts are distributed and to how many people. A large number of mobile Web sites will be used as examples of different setup options and which are more effective than others.

New organizations are just now starting to launch major e-mail and text massage alert campaigns and the delivery of mobile news is constantly changing as the demand increases. It is important to understand the future of this type of news gathering and delivery because there is a great opportunity to capitalize this market and make it profitable if it is marketed correctly and to the right audience.

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