Some forty years ago, Apple was founded in a garage in California, on April Fool’s Day no less. The ultimate joke, of course, is that this band of geeks would eventually build the world’s most valuable company. Tough economic times have meant that Apple is today the world’s second most valuable company. It’s clearly tough at the top!
Apple is the topic of today’s blog because there really has been no other company – ever – in the world that has done more to place the mobile phone in the centre of our lives. Before the iPhone, cellphones were just cellphones. You chose a brand of phone the way you chose a microwave or a television. It was that mainstream, emotionless and functional.
Apple’s iPhone turned mobile on its head and introduced a lifestyle factor that, in turn, did a lot to boost the fortunes of the mobile marketing industry.
It is perhaps strange then that despite Apple’s prowess for design, iAd didn’t exactly work out well for the ‘designed in California, made in China company’.
Launched in 2010, iAd was a mobile advertising platform developed by Apple for its mobile devices that allowed third-party developers to directly embed adverts into their applications. It was expected to compete with Google’s AdMob mobile advertising service but was discontinued in January this year.
Data-rich and oozing creativity, iAd should have worked. So what now for Apple and mobile marketing? The word is that Apple will no longer think about mobile advertising in the sense of a banner on a screen. The focus will be on one-on-one intensely personal experiences which is exactly the holy grail recognized by the rest of us for some time. The difference is if anyone can finally deliver on the much-promised “context and location” services, it is Apple.
Mobile marketing is defined as marketing either on or using a mobile device. That much we all know and this simple definition comes from a Google search. Usually on this blog, we tend to concentrate on this narrow definition of mobile marketing without focusing much on the actual hardware device that enables mobile marketing. Let’s look today at the device we mention above in the first line of today’s blog – the cellular phone.
While the consumer’s interaction with traditional media outlets like radio, tv and outdoor media contains to dwindle, our interaction with mobile phones just keeps on growing. That’s good news for mobile marketers. Let’s see why cellphones are playing a bigger roles in consumer’s lives and why, by extension, marketers need to keep investing in mobile.
There’s an app for that – no, really….
Legions of developers both in SA and around the world continue to build the most amazing mobile widgets that can quite literally light up your home and do the shopping. The mobile phone is replacing our remote controls, garage openers, wallets and more and this means even more daily interaction with our most personal of high tech companions.
The telecommuter has come of age…
Technologies like VoIP with its easy call-forwarding ability, work practices such as hot desking and more flexible HR polices have really become realities over the past couple of years. Whereas five to seven years ago we were speaking about their imminent acceptance, today we live and breathe the mobile work life. And the device that enables the life of the modern road warrior is, of course, the mobile phone.
Mobile network coverage is really good…
The mobile networks have been building base stations in South Africa for about twenty years now – and it shows. Sure, we still drop calls but the general quality of service experienced by the country’s cellular users is so good that there really is little excuse for having a landline at home. Way back when, radio stations used to insist that interviews with remote guests took place strictly over landline. The fact that this is no longer the case speaks volumes.
Mobile marketing has emerged as one of the central pillars of marketing strategy today. According to one senior Coco-Cola executive: “If your plans don’t include mobile, your plans are not finished.”
So while mobile definitely has the green light from those that matter, we should also consider another quote: “Only fools rush in”. Mobile plans have to be as solidly laid as any other element of the marketing strategy. They should, for example, recognize that certain important pieces of legislation exist to protect the South African consumer.
Foremost amongst these is the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act that a reputable mobile marketing advisory firm like Imaginatrix will be able to advise clients on. Did you know, for instance, that the sending of unsolicited commercial email or SMS messages (‘Spam’) is not, in fact, illegal in South Africa? Ask most business people and they’ll tell you a prior commercial relationship is necessary before a mobile marketer can legally send a potential customer a text message.
While spamming people may in most circumstances be poor business practice, spam per se is not illegal in South Africa as we can see from the below:
Section 45 of the ECT Act requires the sender of an unsolicited commercial communication to observe 3 rules: firstly, to provide the consumer “with the option to cancel his or her subscription to the mailing list“, secondly, to furnish the consumer “with the identifying particulars of the source from which that person obtained the consumer’s personal information, on request of the consumer” and thirdly, not to send a second unsolicited commercial communication to a person “who has advised the sender that such communications are unwelcome“.
Readers are welcome to contact Imaginatrix should they require any clarification on the above.
There are many theories about marketing in general and mobile marketing in particular but one could say that there is usually only one ultimate objective and that’s to get consumers to interact with brands.
This interaction can take many forms with mobile vouchers one of the most impressive when it comes to direct return on investment (ROI). When we refer to mobile vouchers we are speaking about electronic coupons and such like that can be redeemed on or received via mobile phones. Voucher Codes, Daily Deals, FMCG Coupons and more all form part of the realm of mobile discounts that are used to encourage consumers to interact with brands.
When it comes to mobile discounts and value based offers, a clear leader must surely be Vouchercloud.com and its co.za local operator. The company’s heritage is as a publisher of substantial, print-based voucher books that most of us would be familiar with. This means that it can deliver value to brands in its current incarnation as it already had a relationship with consumers, by converting them into mobile customers. Built on the premise of Fun, Food and Fashion the service in South Africa has grown tremendously and looks set to become the mobile platform of choice for voucher based offers.
Offers are available through their app and USSD service, which is most definitely showing itself to brands as a viable proposition. Mobile discounts are very well-received by consumers in the current economic environment because, in most cases, mobile vouchers mean real rands and cents back in our pockets. So with over 4 million consumers engaging the platform, and with adding over 2500 new consumers per week, it is a space worth investigating if you are a retail brand.
What do marketers love most? The answer is undoubtedly Return On Investment (ROI) measured in facts, stats and numbers, numbers, numbers! Marketing runs on numbers and this is even more so with mobile marketing because of the measurability that it enables.
Having a trusted mobile marketing advisor like Imaginatrix on your team helps navigate the often-confusing measurability associated with mobile campaigns – all that numerical feedback can be overwhelming the first time brand managers receive those all-important analytics.
Seeing as we’re talking numbers, let’s take a quick glance at the most interesting of them from this month’s latest mobile marketing news stories:
1. Global spend on mobile search by the end of 2017 is expected to be double that of 2015 levels.
2. A report by Deloitte suggests that digital channels currently account for about one-third percent of influence of in-store retail sales.
3. Over 61 percent of loyalty programme members want more choice of regards and fully 42% of members think programmes offering only core inventory rewards are old-fashioned.
4. Marketers who use mobile app ads on Facebook and Instagram generated a 196% increase in app downloads globally in Q4 2015 (compared with Q4 2014), according to a new report from Kenshoo.
5. finally, in 1970 the average person saw 500 marketing messages a day. In 2016 they see a whopping 7 000.
With so much clutter out there, now you have another five reasons to get into timely, relevant and personalised mobile!
With mobile marketing’s reliance on technology to communicate with consumers, one could easily be forgiven for thinking that IT is all there is to it.
No doubt some brand managers really do believe that the key to a successful mobile marketing campaign is an automated bulk SMS platform that does what it is supposed to do, nothing more or less. Well, that’s certainly one element.
However, I found something particularly interesting this week that backs up the fact that the creative element that comes from partnering with the right people remains key to mobile marketing. According to one learned commentator, what we’re seeing in 2016 is marketing’s growing autonomy from IT.
Apparently, at many Fortune 500 companies, the marketing team is completely separate from the IT guys which speaks volumes about mobile marketing eventually coming into its own.
Sure, there has to be integration to ensure that IT systems developed for mobile marketing do a good mobile marketing job, but it’s becoming clear that the marketplace is learning the fact that mobile marketing is a bona fide commercial discipline and not just how you get a bulk SMS platform to work.
New technologies, legislation and codes of practice are seemingly making it more difficult for marketers to reach consumers on a one-to-one basis. This is clear from news this week that Samsung’s soon to be released Galaxy S7 will have software built in to identify numbers that aren’t in the phone’s address book. In addition, a cursory look at email users’ junk folders will reveal that spam email filters appear to work pretty well these days.
Mobile marketing remains the exception – it’s one of the few marketing disciplines that can offer brands practically unfettered and undiluted access to millions of individual consumers. There are no random gatekeepers in mobile marketing, no spam blocking programmes, for example. Of course, there is legislation and the WASPA code of conduct, but stay on the right side of the law and conduct your business in a responsible manner with due respect for the consumer, and you’ll have no problem reaching millions of them in a very affordable way.
Here’s why mobile marketing promises the best reach:
1. Consumers’ love affair with mobile continues and they enjoy utilising their devices and receiving personalised commercial offers and promotions on them.
2. The highly personalised nature of the commercial communication possible on mobile devices mean there is every chance your brand’s message will reach its intended recipient.
3. Much mobile marketing communication in SA is transmitted by other consumers and doesn’t come direct from the brand. Think of Please Call Me text tags.
4. Mobile marketing can introduce a fun element that’s missing from traditional marketing channels. Think of the trend towards gamification.
5. Finally, the fact that mobile marketing is often the ‘closer’ in a wider marketing effort means those initial hurdles of contact and reach have already been overcome.
One of the great advantages about doing business with specialist marketing consultants is the fact that one don’t have to keep up to date with every aspect of a certain sector. Keeping tabs on the latest technologies and the most up to date news in mobile marketing is all handled for the brand by dedicated outsourced mobile marketers.
For example, few business people would even know that some fairly important mobile marketing-related milestones have recently taken place. Your mobile marketing consultant would be able to digest this news, select what’s important and apply it to your mobile campaign for best effect.
Let’s see what happened. This very week, Google’s parent company eclipsed Apple “as the “most valuable company in the world.” This is the first time that Google has been more valuable than Apple since 2010. What’s important for mobile marketing clients is that this development has – according to Google – been driven by “mobile search as well as YouTube and programmatic advertising”. If mobile search, for example, can help a company grow bigger than Apple, well then that’s something brands need to invest in and Imaginatrix can show you how.
Also this week, WhatsApp passed the one billion monthly active users mark. It’s the most popular of the new wave of over-the-top messaging apps that have been garnering so much attention in the South African media these past two weeks. According to the company, it now sees 42bn messages, 1.6bn photos and 250m videos shared daily over the app, and 1bn chat groups have been established using the service. What’s significant here is that owner Facebook has previously said it wouldn’t consider monetising the app until it reaches the R1bn mark. Well, now that’s happened, mobile marketers can surely look forward to some interesting developments and opportunities this year.