I saw a commercial yesterday for a service called kgb (yes, it is all lower case). I was intrigued by this service that offered real time answers to any question you may have, via text messaging. I went to their website to learn more and here’s what I found:
“kgb’s text answer service currently operates in the US and Canada, 542542 (kgbkgb) combines the power of the company’s best-in-class knowledge database with the judgment and skill of a specially-trained community of kgb Special Agents who provide quick, accurate responses to any question. Users who text 542542 (kgbkgb) receive real-time responses to questions any time, day or night, from any cell phone, for a cost of ninety-nine cents. Our Special Agents are specially-trained home-workers who provide you with human answers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”
So let me get this straight. This company is offering answers to questions for $.99 each via text messaging when I can get the same answers for free via Google? At first glance, this seems like a doomed business venture. And yet, the company obviously invested heavily in television advertising (their catchy commercials are viewable on their website, and they ARE catchy). Why would any savvy investor choose to invest in this company? Then it dawned on me.
Not everyone has internet access on their mobile device. Though the numbers of mobile phones accessing the internet are increasing, there will continue to be a steady number of people who don’t purchase such phones. This service is not being marketed to me…or my husband…or my friends…or my brothers…or my father. It’s a service for people like my son.
Consider the target audience. I saw this commercial when watching Family Guy, a show my son watches, and I occasionally watch with him. It’s not a show I would record on the DVR, though I do get a laugh out of it quite often. My son is 21 years old with a below-poverty level income, living at home. He doesn’t have the credit or the money for a hefty deposit to sign up for a contract with a mobile carrier. So he has a pay-as-you-go phone – the kind you buy in a box, not view, play with and test out with a sales agent. He doesn’t have internet access on his phone. He has unlimited calling and texting. My son is the target audience for this service. And apparently, he’s one of many.
I imagine market studies reveal that consumers like my son (those who don’t have access to free Google searches but do have access to cell phones and text messaging) are watching the television shows in which kgb inserts their commercials. In which case, people like my son might see this service as quite valuable. Some people might actually use it! And apparently, they are!
Sometimes it takes a second glance and a little digging to figure out why something is marketable. It’s not marketable to me, but it seems there is a market for a service like kgb. By the way, they’re hiring agents – just another sign that there’s a demand for what they supply.
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