Over the past few years, as cell phones have gained more and more popularity, we've started to see "no cell phones beyond this point" signs outside libraries and hear "please silence your cell phones" announcements in movie theaters, classrooms, and even church services--but never will you hear this announcement made at Connections.
Yesterday, in the "CMO Roundtable: Fuel for Thought" general session, ExactTarget CMO Tim Kopp made an interesting observation: in the past, speakers and presenters used to get offended by the use of cell phones during their speeches--but not anymore. Today, seeing your audience type away on their cell phones during a presentation doesn't necessarily mean that they're disengaged. In fact, it probably means that they're extremely engaged and that they're tweeting, blogging, or posting on Facebook about your discussion topic right then and there.
So as a speaker or facilitator, don't fret if your audience members aren't making direct eye contact with you because they're using their phone. They're most likely tweeting something interesting that you just said, promoting the topic you're discussing, or looking up more information about you or your business--and who wouldn't want that?
Even now, as I sit inside the "Ask the Experts: Release 139" Connections break-out track, plenty of attendees are typing away and using their cell phones to "share the good news" of the Interactive Marketing Hub with others. Even ExactTarget's own Doug Wilson emphasized this point when he presented on Mobile updates to the ExactTarget app.
"How many people do not have a mobile phone with them right now?" Zero hands raised.
People don't go anywhere without their cell phones these days (especially not when attending Connections) -- something you should definitely consider when deciding whether or not to invest in SMS capabilities. Want to stay connected to your subscribers at all times? You can bet they'll have their phone on them...