Archive for September, 2016


In the spot light: Legacy Project

Mike Laws is an expert in mobile communications and is currently the CEO of Imaginatrix, a company providing mobile marketing and advertising consulting services. He has worked with some of South Africa’s biggest brand names and was instrumental in the commercialisation of Vodacom’s “please call me” service. He strongly believes that mobile communications have the ability to change the way we experience our lives and has dedicated his career to exposing this belief to the world. We invite you to learn a little more about his endeavours to use mobile technology as a means of inspiring people… Read more at the Legacy Project:
Hand holding smartphone with media icons and symbol collection

Lets Grab That Low Hanging Fruit…

A recent WASPA press release encouraging mobile, tech ventures and women in Africa to submit entries for the upcoming innovation awards had me thinking about app development in South Africa. We know that app development is the next mobile frontier. App development now is like value-added services 10 to 12 years ago when the fledgling wireless application service provider (WASP) community was trying to go beyond SMS-based competitions and short codes. It’s correct to refer to ‘frontier’ and apps in the same sentence because it still seems like we have yet to reach that magical tipping point where the app development market just explodes with bundles of creativity, legions of developers and a ton of apps specifically designed for mobile hitting the local SA market every week. I still see those small groups of developers scattered about the more trendy parts of our biggest cities. We need to get to that point where every smart kid in every far-flung corner of South Africa is building some clever app to make teenage life easier. Let’s use the example of the humble vending machine to illustrate how so much more can be done to build much-needed mobile apps. How can it be some 20 years after our local networks were telling a disbelieving SA public about Swedish vending machines that dispensed Cokes after receiving a simple SMS that we still are not able to do that here? Apparently, even in the developed UK, three out of four vending machines still only accept cash when just over 20 percent of retail shop transactions remain cash-based. The few machines there that accept mobile wallets use a brilliant customised mobile app that involves customers waving their mobile devices over a smart icon on the machine. It just seems such an obvious, easy-to-implement mobile app solution. Let’s really start upping the mobile app development game in SA, and we can start with some of that low-hanging vending machine fruit!

#MobileFocus: Where Marketers ‘fail’ at Mobile Marketing

orbes magazine made a fairly amazing statement recently that was as low-key as it was food for thought. The respected business journal wrote, almost as an aside, that “most of the world accesses the internet for information”. The implication was that mobile marketing is a must.   Read more:

Mobile is Marketing too many Mobile Devices

Mobile marketing is most often defined as all activities which connect marketers to consumers through mobile devices. Mobile marketing, the experts say, is marketing on, or using, a mobile device. Sounds simple, enough, doesn’t it? Well, as we learnt in our previous blog post, the devil is in the details. Marketers often refer to mobile ‘devices’ as if everyone knows exactly what type of technology we are talking about. Let’s expand on the term – ‘devices’ include cellphones, PDAs, media devices, portable gaming consoles, tablet computers—and, of course, those devices which function as all of the above. What does this mean for the would-be mobile marketer? Because several different categories of devices are at play during any one mobile campaign, we need to remember a few basic facts. One is that some mobile devices may only be open to a few advertising channels (for example, a feature phone phone any only be able to receive SMS messages). Other smartphone devices will support many additional possibilities, including mobile web access, video messaging, and the ability to actively initiate and interact with commercial marketing messages, for example, by scanning a QR code. Secondly, while potentially vast numbers of different devices are at play, it would be good for the marketer to remember that South African consumers are using several different mobile networks to access mobile marketing messages. Unfortunately, not all networks can lay claim to the same degrees of performance and indeed, the same network will have varying degrees of performance across different coverage areas. South Africa is a vast country and while the cellular operators have rolled-out world-leading networks, it’s unreasonable to expect consumers in challenging, remote terrain to be able to access a state-of-the-art, data-chewing mobile marketing video as effectively as consumers in major metropolitan areas. Again, this means that personalisation remains the holy grail of mobile marketing efforts.

Directories, QR Codes & Check-Ins are Vital Mobile Tools for the SME

The need for small businesses to adopt a mobile marketing strategy is now becoming so accepted that even the facts and statistics that introduce SME mobile articles have become mainstream. Whereas before we might have needed convincing through some impressive looking and minutely detailed numbers, a recent article I read simply says “half of adults” now use a smartphone to surf the web. Another said, almost in passing, “two thirds” of mobile users use their phone to access the information they use for purchasing decisions. Stats like that say to me, “OK, we know this, now tell us how.” So here’s the mobile how for the SME. Mobile marketing is wonderfully scalable and that means the small business owner on a lean budget can direct as much money to it as is available. It’s also very measurable and comes complete with a litany of graphs, charts, and so on that will please any results orientated marketer. I have to say this ability to measure exactly how every hard won rand is doing its job is the single biggest thing that lights up every SME owner I’ve evangelised. Even if you are running a traditional brick and mortar retail store that has zero to do with the web, you need absolutely need to make your SME website mobile friendly. Regardless of what you sell, if people cannot find you after a quick, mobile search, you’ll soon be selling nothing at all. Part and parcel of the above is encouraging mobile users who use social media like Facebook and FourSquare to check in their location when they are nearby. You need to also offer them a reward for doing this. Examples include special discounts and prizes that recognise a certain number of visits. The SME owner must not leave marketing up to “the social media guys”. Use your own phone to keep your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles up-to-date and engaged. I personally love QR Codes. I think the simple act of adding a QR code sticker to the front door of a bricks and mortar and business instantly transports it to the 21st century. A QR code pasted on the front page of a website has the same updating effect. Using ‘Quick Response’ codes allows users to access a specific content area in order to obtain a special reward or to take advantage of a specific promotion. The small business owner can create their own QR codes easily using websites like for business cards, pamphlets, and more. Mobile directories have replaced the phone book for most consumers. If you want to ensure your small business is found, you need to absolutely register with several mobile directories such as Yelp and Google+Local. Include the name of your business, the product or service you provide, business hours, phone number, physical address and link to your website. Directories are not dead, they’ve just gone mobile! Finally, 75% of adults take their mobile phones with them when they go to the bathroom. Far from arising feelings of revulsion, that’s a huge opportunity for the SME who takes the trouble – at the very least – to implement the above easy advice.

Now Mobile is Everything

Some time ago, we wrote about the need for brands to ensure their web presence is mobile friendly. That means either opting for a dotMobi (.mobi) website, or at least a site that’s entirely mobile friendly. We said that Google was placing a premium on mobile friendly sites, ensuring their search rankings were higher. Google’s overtures towards the mobile web simply reflects good business practice because more searches have been conducted each day on the world’s best known search engine from mobile devices compared to desktops since 2015. Webmasters too, have noticed this: some 85 percent of website content is now mobile-friendly. Bearing all of the above in mind, it was strange for me to read marketing columnist Bryson Meunier writing that it’s no longer possible to treat mobile as a separate niche of SEO. He attributes this to the basic fact that more and more people are essentially using mobile to do everything. Well, yes, most people are indeed using mobile – that’s why there are no ‘niches’ in SEO, Mr Meunier, there’s just SEO. Mobile is the web and the web is mobile. The merging of the web into one consumer-friendly purchasing resource accessible on the go – without the fixed / mobile distinction – is important for mobile marketers because it speaks to a bigger picture. And this bigger picture, you’ve guessed it, is all about the gradual but strong ascendancy of mobile marketing over traditional media. So, forget talk about SEO mobile versus fixed web niches – the only niche going forward will be who’s been left behind in the mobile marketing game.

The Lofty View Keeps us Grounded in Mobile Fundamentals

With mobile marketing so focused on the usual metrics so integral to campaigns, sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. The long-term growth potential of our industry is assured when one considers that way back in 1995, less than one percent of the world’s population had Internet connectivity. Read More:

The Devil is in the Details in Mobile Marketing

Many South African mobile marketers would be familiar with the often-quoted fact that some two-thirds of our customers are now mobile marketing consumers. To be more specific, two-thirds to three-quarters of us consume digital media and do our Internet research and shopping on pocket-sized handheld devices. That should be obvious to local marketers who have watched with interest the growth of such now-familiar shopping sites as Superbalist and Spree. Three years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a dinner party guest who shopped on these sites. Now, it seems everyone and their partner is a Spree regular! What’s particularly interesting for our sector is that we could go further – with accuracy – and say that not only are so many people you meet at braais these days Spree and Superbalist regulars, chance are they shopped on their mobiles on the way to the braai. In 2015, recognising the way people shop these days, Google’s “Mobilegeddon” algorithm change penalised websites that weren’t mobile-friendly. This was a wake-up call that mobile could no longer be viewed by marketers as an afterthought. Indeed, do you remember the days when mobile was a small subset of the wider Internet that we didn’t have to pay a whole lot of attention to? The question is no longer ‘should we be paying attention to marketing on mobile devices?’ because the answer is clearly ‘Yes!’. Instead, we should be asking ‘how can my company be the very best at mobile marketing?’. Let Imaginatrix answer that for you in one easy statement. Pay an extraordinary amount of time to the details. If you don’t realise early on that the devil is in the details when it comes to mobile marketing, you probably aren’t getting the maximum return on your mobile marketing spend.