Archive for October, 2018

GREAT, BUT LIMITED, FUTURE FOR SMS

As regular readers of this blog would know, predictions are so common in mobile marketing, it’s almost as if our discipline runs on speculation of what may or may not happen in the future! That’s not a bad way to go – without our eyes fixed on the horizon we wouldn’t make any progress. Future fixation can’t be worse than living in the past or worse, living for the moment without any hint of some planning going on. This brings me to speculation about the health or otherwise of the mobile marketer’s erstwhile favourite cellular network bearer, SMS. The text message is probably responsible for the scary fast growth of GSM around the globe. Before consumers cottoned on to this low-cost network engineer testing tool, mobile was really just your home phone without copper wire. Seriously. That’s how people viewed cellphones: they were just souped-up car phones and the home phone remained telecom numero uno. It was SMS that really made us all think about the non-voice-based potential applications of mobile. But now after a massive flirtation with the short text message, those in the know have been predicting its demise for the better part of two to three years – at least – now. I tend to differ in this assertion. It’s clear the numbers do not favour SMS. But, what’s happening is that SMS is simply returning to its business-based role. SMS has a solid future as a reliable bearer of mostly once-off business-to-consumer communication. Who can deny that SMS is the OTP (one-time password) king? And there are dozens of good, solid SMS-based applications that are being well used out there. SMS will continue to be around for a very long time because of some simple truths. Consumers trust it, for one. These days, all manner of dodgy person or business seems to be attempting to add mobile consumers to their WhatsApp contacts. With SMS, an unwanted message is just that – an unwanted, once-off message to be easily deleted. With WhatsApp, for example, a similar attempted contact situation feels like an invasion of privacy. SMS is robust, it is credible and trusted by consumers. Text messages with valuable information sent to consumers by their banks, insurance firms, and others, are easily stored in inboxes for later action. SMS is a manual gearbox, its a revolver, your dad’s car, and real buttons instead of a glass screen. It’s good, solid, dependable. And set to be with us for a very long time.

SPOTTING THE NEXT BIG THING IN MOBILE – THAT’S HERE TO STAY

The topic of today’s blog is innovation. Simply put, innovation in mobile is going to be the biggest contribution to human development over the next fifty years. Big words, but how could it be any different is one considers that mobile is the most used of all digital devices, perhaps of all devices? Over 75% of time spent online is time spent on mobile – whether tablets, handsets, phablets, you name it. While the early adopter brands cottoned on to mobile years ago, we still have some key national and global brands only now recognising that mobile is the key to digital success. Mobile is changing the way consumers and brands interact and innovation is driving this sea change. Some may be asking whether innovation in mobile has reached its limits, after all, one can only do so much with the small screen. That’s crazy talk! It reminds me of that well-known quote we’ve all seen from the chief of the US patent office in the 19th century who infamously stated that everything has already been invented! If agencies, their clients and brands can come to a better understanding of how consumers are using their mobile devices then it will soon become clear that there are still so many gaps to be plugged – with innovation. My impression is that innovation in mobile advertising needs to catch up with innovation in mobile devices. In 2019, we need clever mobile marketers to come up with more ways to use this amazing mobile technology that has dropped down on the marketing world over the past two decades like manna from heaven. As we ask ourselves what the key trends are that will drive innovation in mobile near year, we need to distinguish between flimsy buzzwords and real, habit-changing innovations that will transform our lives. Spotting the next big one is what we all are trying to do, but it’s easier said than done. From AI, to IoT, wearables, bots and blockchain, you decide what’ll be here to stay next year in mobile.

Four immediate easy mobile wins to implement right away!

As we race towards the end of what we hope has been another successful year for the mobile marketing industry, it is perhaps a good idea to take stock of a few mobile fundamentals. Mobile’s the order of the day, that’s for sure. How often do any of us view email messages on a desktop computer any more? If your client’s strategic marketing plan for 2019 does not take mobile devices into consideration, their brand will start trailing competitors significantly. The good news is there a plenty of highly-effective, yet cost-effective, mobile-related tactics that can be quickly employed to get clients on the right side of the mobile revolution. We’ve listed below some of the top mobile marketing best practices to consider before year-end. Get these implemented by 2019 and you can kick the mobile new year off with the best of them! Optimise your web presence for mobile display, first and foremost. It’s no good for that swanky and uber-creative designer to come up with some award-winning work that looks incredible on a huge desktop screen – your online presence needs to display more effectively, and less creatively, across a range of mobile screens. Brevity is crucial. With less cyber real estate on which to make your point, because screens are smaller, you need to come up with really punchy, hard-hitting web copy. Also bear in mind those millennials that are said to be reading less and less… Think local. Mobile devices with their ability to know locations have been a real boon for local businesses. More and more people are using their handheld devices to ask questions like “where is the closest atm” and “what time does Clicks close?”. Keep this in mind and make sure to include location-specific content. Finally, you need to plan for errors because typing on smaller screens can be challenging. Current and potential customers are likely to make plenty of errors when searching for your online mobile presence – take this into account, especially when register domain names. Be sure to include commonly-misspelled words relating to your business in your campaigns and know which relevant keywords are prone to typos.

Who asks for the wifi code when visiting someone? A lot of us, apparently!

Have you noticed how it’s becoming more and more common for people to ask you for the wifi code when visiting your house? I’m sure many of us were quite taken aback when hearing this request for the first time – I mean, does your house look like a coffee shop, mine sure doesn’t – but now it’s mainstream, coming after ‘where can I put the meat?’. As a mobile marketer, I find this all very interesting and it bodes well for our particular marketing discipline. Most plaudits will say asking for a wifi code the moment you step into someone’s home is a symptom of our hyper-connected society, but it’s more than that. It speaks directly to the ubiquity of wireless. After all, the person asking for the code is not plugging in a copper wire, after they? They’re not asking for the code so they can run a cable from the car to your house! Aside from the fact that this simple request means wireless is now being taken for granted (does anyone know if the last dial-up users in SA have been disconnected?), it also assumes that the home being visited not only has wifi, but uncapped wireless connectivity, delivered via fibre. At last count, there were a couple hundred thousand households in South Africa that were part of the magical-sounding ‘fibrehoods’. These are the suburbs where those nice people with the spades and pickaxes come to dig up the pavements in pursuit of the laudable goal of super-speedy web access. The mobile marketer will, however, have noted the recent entrance of companies like Rain that promise high-speed broadband over mobile. We also have the incumbent operators like Telkom Mobile also coming up with high-speed and high-data cap wireless options. I think the sum effect of all of this is that many more consumers are becoming open to mobile marketing campaigns delivered over high-speed mobile. There are all sorts of wireless opportunities opening up, from free high-speed public wifi subsidised by advertising, to wireless push advertising on a grand scale. Next ever is going to get really hot in wireless and mobile marketers, and their clients brands, had better be there!