Archive for November, 2016


Santa….and Cell Phones Enable Christmas

A stroll through the aisles of any retail store in South Africa – and across much of the world – will reveal that the highly-competitive Festive Season is truly upon us. As marketers, this time of year is really where we need to shine. It’s traditionally an opportunity to finally reach sales targets that were set at the start of the year, and to generate significant goodwill between brands and consumers. While the Christmas rush begins in the aisles with tinsel signaling its start, the growth in mobile technology to the point where there are now 1.3 cellphones in South Africa for every person means bricks and mortar retailers are increasingly turning to mobile media as a way to engage with shoppers. In the UK, the biggest brands traditionally unveil much-anticipated Festive Season TV commercials. They’re like the Super Bowl TV ads we hear so much about from the US media. People joke about how they look forward to these annual ads more than the actual event itself! What’s really being felt this year is how brands are adapting their traditional TV campaigns to suit mobile and social media channels. So what are they doing exactly? With a quarter of retailers saying Black Friday is now the most profitable day on their eCommerce calendar, the first Christmas lesson for mobile marketers is that it’s never too early to start with a Festive Season promotion. Black Friday – thanks to globalisation – is the new traditional start of the Christmas shopping season, however, mobile marketers can start their campaigns well before 25 November. This is primarily thanks to the short lead times that are inherent in mobile campaigns. With today’s smartphone generation glued to their screens, tweeting their opinions, viewing videos that are easily shared, and browsing brands when on the move, it’s perhaps no surprise that retailers are acknowledging the important role of social media within Festive campaigns. says their research shows that one in 10 mobile sales takes place through social media at Christmas. With the economy in a nasty slump, businesses are increasingly reliant on short term seasonal periods to lift sales. Online discount days are more and more becoming central to these sales boosts which, more often than not, feature the mobile device as the consumer’s transactional enabler.

A Merry Mobile Christmas Awaits for Savy Marketers

With the annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday online shopping extravaganza upon us, it’s perhaps worthwhile very quickly mentioning exactly why festivals of free spending exist. A few years ago, I actually thought “Black Friday” must surely have something to do with commemorating a particularly bad stock market crash from the 1930s! I’m willing to take a bet that quite a few South Africans thought likewise. However, today I know that – apart from traditionally being a day of huge online discounts – Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. For the uninitiated, the term “Cyber Monday” was created to persuade people to help grow the worldwide web by shopping online. Black Friday, for its part, is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Now you know. Because Black Friday and Cyber Monday essentially signal the start of the Christmas shopping season, it is perhaps worthwhile to look at three top mobile marketing tactics brands can implement this time of year. There are, of course, many other ideas mobile-aware firms can focus on now, but these are easily-implementable. Be creative with your messaging: The more thought you put into your festive mobile messaging, the more you will emotionally appeal to your audience who are well-primed for this time of year. This can include adding holiday emojis to each call-to-action that you send out to your audience. Personalised messages via SMS: With personalisation being the holy grail of mobile marketing, don’t resort to broadcast messages, but instead carefully select customers to receive personalised messages that relate to what they’ve purchased before, so they know you are addressing them individually. Portable gift guides: With video being used more and more in mobile campaigns, brands have the opportunity to produce short videos that showcase their holiday gift guides in the mobile environment. These can be transmitted via MMS, over-the-top messaging, etc. Knowing that pricey bandwidth remains an issue in South Africa, be sure to package these digital guides in compact and easily-sendable formats.
Technology in the hands of businessmen

Mobile Marketers Take Note: IM is Set to Beat Email

In our previous blog post, we discussed the great potential of instant messaging used as Live Chat for customer care. Today, my attention was drawn to an article that proclaimed, simply and strongly, that instant messaging was “the future of mobile marketing”. That’s quite a statement to make if one considers the implication which is that IM is then set to overtake email as the world’s first or second most effective marketing channel (depending on where you live) by ROI. According to VentureBeat, it is the sheer number of IM users that makes it the channel to watch. Every social media platform seems to have an IM bolt-on these days, with Facebook being a relatively late arrival but catching up fast on functionality. IM available on a cellular device offers mobile marketers a 2.1 billion strong user base who are all keen on the immediate, peer-to-peer benefits that this communication platform offers from the convenience of their pockets. VentureBeat referred to “an almost Pavlovian response to that notification chime”. The fact that it goes off and all of us are ready, at a moment’s notice, to grab hold of our handsets that are never more than a meter away (remember?), just reeks of opportunity to me. Apparently, the average time from receipt to opening is under three minutes – compare that to old-fashioned junk mail! I hate to quote the site again, but the last word on IM belongs to VentureBeat: “That sure is a hell of a market to tap!”.

Mobile Marketers Should Optimise for Voice Calls

To the casual observer, the fact that so many people one sees in public places these days is texting, using Whatsapp or otherwise engaging in text-based communication, might make it seem as if voice-based communication is well and truly kaput. Well, that’s not true. It may be true that voice calls are declining but it is also true that people have become more selective in the voice calls they do make. And they do make calls, especially for purposes of consumption. The marketer would be wise to optimise the mobile user experience for voice calls and here’s why. As alluded to above, it is a common misconception that mobile phones reduce the necessity for phone calls when actually 70% of mobile searchers have called a business directly from search results. This means making a call needs to be a quick and straightforward action in order to stay true to the on-the-go aspect of a mobile, and not lose mobile customers. As with all elements of mobile marketing, driving calls from mobile marketing is measurable and that’s a great thing. For example, call tracking integrates with Google Analytics and AdWords meaning each phone call generated from a tracked number – whether through calls extensions, click-to-call ads or click-to-call landing pages will be mapped back to the ad group, keyword and campaigns that generated the call. It is absolutely vital that marketers become pros in driving calls from mobile marketing. Here’s some worthwhile advice to get you started. Adding click-to-call to your Pay-per-click advertising campaigns allows a user to click on a number or phone icon and dial your number immediately from your ad making accessibility through mobile web browsing considerably easier Even without PPC advertising, it is still possible to include your telephone number in a potential customer’s stock standard mobile searches. All you need to do is add your main contact number in your page’s description so mobile users can still contact your site without needing to load the actual page – this is a fantastic mobile web hack few marketers think of! To ensure your phone number is visible, include it within the first 130 characters of the description to prevent it from being hidden on mobile screens. Good luck!

Loyalty & Mobile Marketing are on Trend for 2017

The idea of cultivating customer loyalty is certainly not a new one but the strategy behind customer loyalty has been evolving since we first started hearing about “CRM”. CRM is yesterday’s news not because customer relationship management doesn’t matter anymore but because effective mobile marketing can achieve what CRM set out to achieve, and then some. According to eMarketer, the majority of marketers intend to allocate more of their budgets to customer loyalty in 2017, and about 13 percent said they anticipate significant increases in spending on such programs. For on-trend brands, their marketing strategy needs to go beyond just having a stagnant loyalty program. Mobile is fantastic because it enables that level of personalisation that has always been the holy grail of loyalty programmes. There are a multitude of mobile channels, methods of communication and personalisation capabilities that can be leveraged to really engage consumers through their mobile devices. After all, and as we keep saying, mobiles are the most personal of all devices, and they’re commonly kept well within arms reach. Measuring campaign success on whether or not an email was opened won’t cut it anymore. By leveraging the kind of advanced analytics tools enabled by mobile, brands are able to gather predictive data, detect patterns within massive databases and thereby power predictive responses for personalised marketing automation. Over half of consumers feel that it’s important for retailers to recognise them as the same person across all channels and devices used to shop. That really speaks of the importance of personalisation. Only mobile can enable you to recognise your customer – time after time and across all channels and interactions.
Technology in the hands of businessmen

“Be Carefull Out There” – The Potential for Erroneous Number Crunching

Marketing runs on numbers and nowhere is this more true than in the specific discipline of mobile marketing. It is of huge concern then that the leading social platform accessed via mobile devices, Facebook, has been misreporting a number of key metrics. First came the news in September that the company had been misreporting its video view time metric. With video becoming such a key mobile marketing tool, as we have previously mentioned in this blog, what marketers really didn’t need to hear just two months later is news that the social network has now also acknowledged another series of issues with its ad metrics. Perhaps the most notable of these is a basic calculation error in reporting average time spent reading Instant Articles, which has caused the metric to be over-reported by an average of seven to eight per cent since last August. Readers can Google for more as the details really don’t make for riveting reading. What’s coming across here, however, is the need for mobile marketers to be a little more circumspect in future and to avoid attributing unquestioning star status to platforms like Facebook. The above pointedly brings us to a very relevant article I spotted this morning entitled “The Year’s 5 Biggest Challenges and Trends in Marketing” by one Daniel Brzezinski, who is the impressively-titled “CMO & VP of Marketing & Product Development” at American firm, GetResponse. As 2016 rapidly winds to a close, top of Mr Brzezinski’s list is the fact that “ad fraud is still a big problem”. Apparently, while the problem has skyrocketed in recent years, so also has an awareness amongst advertisers. This has led to publishers eliminating high-risk, fraudulent inventory. We’re also seeing more industry-wide standards now in place than there were two years ago. Together, these things are turning the tide – albeit slowly, suggests Mr Brzezinski. It is interesting to note that he credits channels like mobile apps as having more inherent engagement, audience buy-in and therefore less potential for number fudging. Finally, all of this brings us to the one thing mobile marketers and cops alike need to remember: “Be careful out there”.
2017 Calender on the red cubes

Revving Up for 2017, Already!

What exciting times for mobile. On one ICT news website alone this morning – ITWEB – Vodacom is lauded for gaining a whopping 1.5 million additional users over the past 6 months, African mobile subscriptions are predicted to pass the magical one billion milestone and there’s a great story about the monetisation of African YouTube accounts to boot. It’s all happening in mobile, in Africa! As Discovery boss Adrian Gore said recently, we’re all too negative and South Africans need to be more upbeat. They can certainly achieve a happy state of mind just by focusing on the South African, and African, success story that is cellular on this continent. This multi-billion rand industry – created out of nothing 20 years ago – has delivered so much for all of us. And it’s only going to get better, enhancing our lives even more as versatile mobile and creative minds develop solutions to our myriad challenges. It’s never too early for a futuristic, positive prediction in mobile so let’s keep the momentum going and focus on Gartner’s newly-released “Top 10 Predictions For IT Organizations In 2017 And Beyond”. Much of these predictions centre on cellular with a whopping one million new mobile devices to be sold every hour within the next five years. Globally, the number of people shopping online is steadily increasing from more than 1.5 billion in 2016 to 2 billion in 2019. More relevant to our own industry is the fact that Gardner predicts that consumer appetite will only increase for immersive Augmented Reality experiences Pokémon Go. This suggests that mobile marketers really need to get to grips with monetising in-app solutions for their clients. One way to do this, is to speak to a dedicated mobile consultancy like Imaginatrix. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality – Gartner predicts that by the end of 2017, one in five leading global retail brands, or 20%, will be using augmented reality as an integral technology supporting the shopping experience. What this says to me is that the potential to significantly improve up-sell and cross-sell rates is startlingly evident. So let’s get moving!