Archive for January, 2018


Three Hints to Keep Cell Safe This Summer

As we head ever deeper into the annual December festival of shopping, it’s perhaps worthwhile to take a look at the emerging threat of the legions of online and mobile-based fraudsters just waiting to take a cut of your hard-earned buck this Christmas.

The recent Cybersecurity Day held in October reminded South Africans of certain online threats perpetuated by phishers who are primarily interested in our online banking log-in details, but what mobile-related threats should responsible mobile marketers be highlighting?

We’ve spent most of this year – and the years before it – singing the praises of the mobile device as a products & services research and purchasing tool ‘par excellance’, so its perhaps time that we educated our regular blog readers about certain silly season potential mobile threats.

As you know, mobile marketing has to do with marketing ‘on or to’ mobile devices. This has to do with reputable brands engaging in coupon-based marketing, USSD research, Please Call Me advertising, and so on. There is always an ‘opt out’ mechanism if you’re dealing with a reputable firm.

Mobile marketing is not about randomly spamming tens of thousands of mobile users in the hope they’ll call back about non-existent offers. Here are three more detailed hints about what not to do this Summer:

  1. When you receive a missed call of very limited duration from an 087 number, don’t call back. Unscrupulous marketers use this trick to circumvent legislation and marketing codes, saying the consumer called them! The dirtiest of tricks.
  2. Don’t click on links sent to you via SMS or WhatsApp without first checking the link’s authenticity. Some handsets allow cursors and other devices to first be hovered over the link before actually clicking on it. This way you can check the web address to see if it looks legit.
  3. Change the way you receive one time passwords (OTPs). Go to your bank branch and call other providers and ask them to send to you via email rather. This way, you’ll know that every OTP sent to you via SMS from then on is fake.

Good luck and keep ‘em peeled!


Consumers Want Chat in their Personal and Business Lives

It should come as no surprise that a growing number of consumers find it much more convenient to deal with large companies via messaging and social media apps. There are a variety of reasons for this but one of them must be due to our fascination with multitasking. We seem driven to do more, more of the time. So this means that holding on the end of a phone line is preventing us from doing all the things that we can do when dealing with customer care via text-based chat.

We’re using these apps in our personal lives and mobile marketers, CRM practitioners and CEOs alike took note. Things in this regard are particularly hotting up in China where a BT and Cisco study found that 37% of respondents there use the messaging app WeChat for customer service as well as for its intended person-to-person social purpose.

According to a recent BT article on MediaUpdate that quoted the above figure, a whopping 46% percent of South African respondents think it would add value if they could speak to an agent on a social media platform compared to the 30% global average. My own view is that our notoriously long local holding times is the reason for the fact that almost half of us just don’t want to speak to a customer care agent anymore – that’s the simple translation of this interesting research.

Messaging apps are where it’s going for CRM and switched-on companies had better take note. The best way to inculcate a messaging culture within large organisations is to start at the top. This means the CEO needs to make a personal commitment when it comes to embracing text-based messaging and it doesn’t include firing off spur of the moment tweets in an in appropriate Trump-like fashion.

CEOs are all about leading by example and the personal touch. The personal touch doesn’t have to be exclusively about face-to-face contact – in this day and age, it can most definitely include electronic forms of reaching out.

The organisation’s leader must be seen to be actively using social chat platforms and using them convincingly, not via PAs and such like. They should reference social media at speaking engagements from the AGM to the annual end-of-year party, and regularly invite employees to engage in conversations via social messaging, and not just in the lift, the car park and the boardroom. Chat today is not a singular, once-off experience, it is a multidimensional way of using technology to enhance relationships.

Hand holding smartphone with media icons and symbol collection

Video is Really Going to Rock it in 2018

Since most of us don’t claim to be psychic (with the emphasis on ‘most’ of us!), predicting the hottest mobile trends for 2018 is a matter of simple, good old-fashioned research. These days, research is most likely to mean a super-fast, very broad Google search conducted in mere minutes or even seconds. So, from a quick trawl around Google, it seems very clear that 2018 in mobile terms is going to be dominated by location and video.

Yes, there is a lot of noise in other markets around programmatic marketing, machine learning and so on, but here in South Africa it’s really going to be about video and location – and video in particular. And not only video, but livestream video. All this really indicates is that humans are fascinated by visuals. And at this current stage in our development, video is the most complete and close-to-life artificial visual experience that we have.

To illustrate the growth in video, apparently by 2019, video will account for almost 80% of the globe’s mobile data traffic. With data prices plummeting in South Africa, there’s every expectation that the next two years for mobile video will be very interesting indeed. For mobile marketers, the news that Facebook says users spend three times more time watching live action content than non-live videos is full of promise.

In the US, the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade offered a 360 degree view of the event via a mobile app. South Africa’s agreeable climate means we host large-scale, public events by the bucketful every year and we’re certain that marketers will jump on the livestream bandwagon in a big way this coming year.

The rise of mobile video in South Africa has become especially pronounced over the last year. Video is catching on everywhere, from the video-on-demand sector where we’ve seen the recent launch of Vodacoms, videoplay initiative, to Cell C’s Black branded video service,  to PrideTV, to ad campaigns by the country;s biggest brands that encourage consumers to compose short form videos. We’re looking forward to a full colour, live and direct, mobile video 2018!