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Marketers don’t neglect the B side while the A side is playing

The world of mobile can essentially be summarised into voice and text-based communication, says Mike Laws, MD of Imaginatrix. He says we either communicate remotely by speaking or we communicate in writing – mental telepathy remains the stuff of science fiction, the movies and wishful thinking. Read more…
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!


Mobile Marketers Can Add Meaning to Consumers’ Lives


This time of year is traditionally filled with news stories about what resolutions we should be making for the new year. It’s the time when we all expect to read about giving up old vices and starting on new exercise regimes.

What I didn’t expect this week, however, was to see a mobile marketing-related headline that really spoke to me. It caught my eye because it was something different. It was about bringing “more meaning” to your mobile marketing over the year. Actually, I realised soon enough it was about the 2017 mobile marketing year, but no matter, let’s explore how one brings meaning to what we do as mobile marketers…

Sometimes we forget that what we do is actually quite meaningful. According to Anthony Laredo, writing in, “Mobile technology is changing the way people communicate and consume media.” By changing the way people communicate, we really are having life-changing effects on people. I like to think that by enabling purchasing over mobile devices, we are helping to provide the average consumer with more time to do the things that really matter. Less time spent traveling to, and in, bricks and mortar shops means more time with family, more time engaged in the leisure pursuits that bring us pleasure in our short lives.

So, the short answer is we bring more meaning as mobile marketers by getting better at what we do. This enables mobile-based research and purchasing to be done by the consumer faster and more affordably. And we can get better at what we do by experimenting with ways to connect to consumers meaningfully in this fast-paced, ever-evolving era. Let’s start with 2018 and see how it goes!


SMEs can use mobile marketing to reach two-thirds of the planet’s population

In 2018, an estimated 65.9 percent of the world’s population will own a mobile phone. This prediction by the international GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) Association has implications for the way under-pressure SMEs reach their customers. Read more…

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.


Black Friday Boosted by Mobile Technology

In the run-up to this past Black Friday, retailers were predicting that it would be one of the busiest on record with mobile marketing being credited for helping to deliver this pre-Christmas sales boost.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that South Africa’s own Black Friday did appear to be extremely busy compared to previous years with much more hype than we’re used to.

Indeed, normally staid local retailers with their historically-mediocre discounts of 10% to 20% really went to town on Friday, 24 November. The Game chain of stores, for one, opened some stores at 12am the Thursday before and this total commitment to the spirit of the Black Friday annual shopping extravaganza went down so well with consumers they broke down the glass doors of the Game store in Cape Town’s Canal Walk.

Things didn’t fare too well with online retailer, Takealot, either with their online shopping platform down for a good number of consecutive hours. News24 described the retailer’s woes as a total “own goal” on what’s become a very important shopping day in South Africa.

But back to the role of mobile this week. The growing importance of mobile in purchasing-based events like Black Friday is supported by figures from Google that show that 70% of customers purchasing in-store used their smart phones for research before the purchase and that mobiles have overtaken desktops and tablets as devices used for e-commerce.

So that’s the encouraging part. Unfortunately, and according to, despite such findings, only 50% of businesses surveyed are currently using even basic mobile tools like SMS marketing as part of their marketing strategies.

Let’s conclude with a brief, very un-marketing-like reference to what Capitec did on Black Friday – this fabulous bank sent out an email to all its customers urging them not to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have. Brilliant, bold and responsible.