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Consumers want to feel wanted, don’t let your mobile strat skip on personalisation

Those of us who were convinced to study Consumer Behaviour before landing their first job in marketing will remember (forgive the upcoming pun…) how repetition is said to be the primary aid when it comes to getting consumers to recall things. Of course, this is why we’ve all had to put up with some pretty irritating, but effective, repetitive radio spots for so many years. Marketers understand the value of repetition. And this is why I’m going to say it again: personalisation is the absolute fundamental when it comes to mobile marketing. If you don’t believe me, and all the articles we’ve written on this blog about the value of repetition, you can believe a new study which says that 75 per cent of UK consumers feel that the majority of retailers don’t understand their interests. They feel this because consumers believe retailers are showing a distinct lack of… you’ve guessed it… personalisation. This lack of relevance to the ordinary, individual consumer could be hurting brands. Interestingly, in order to receive more relevant marketing, just over half of mobile consumers would be willing to hand over their personal data, according to this UK survey. There’s no reason to believe a similar study conducted locally would show any different results. Simply put, consumers are willing to trade privacy for greater personalisation. And why not? If you’re not the mafia, if you’re not into organised crime, human trafficking or cheating on your spouse, why wouldn’t you hand over a little inconsequential private information relating to location and other parameters, for a much better personal shopping experience? According to the survey by Ometria, women are more likely to hand over their mobile-originating data, and respond more positively to a personalised offer. Tellingly, and this is where mobile marketers’ ears would be red-hot with interest, almost a third of women say they would feel ‘very valued’ when receiving a personalised offer. In conclusion, retailers need to think way beyond simply sending out blanket, generic blanket marketing communication and use that wonderful device called the cellular telephone to make their current and potential human customers feel valued, wanted and appreciated. Now go to it!


Marketers have to think outside the box and no marketers more so than mobile marketers. We all know that the mobile phone has become ubiquitous. We all understand that the vast majority of human beings worldwide use their mobile devices to access the worldwide web. However, as the twin powerhouses of the African economy, South Africa and Nigeria, falter on the back of the twin evils of high inflation and low growth, it’s becoming clear that the greater mobile industry needs to increasingly pull out some innovative solutions out of its box of cellular tricks. We said recently that research shows teens in developed markets are cutting back on their screen time. The mobile industry in South Africa, in particular, is already suffering the effects of cuts in mobile termination rates and new rules in the way we can reach cellular customers, so we definitely don’t want customers reducing their screen time in our market. So what to do? Mobile marketers need to make a renewed effort to evangelize the technology we’ve all grown so passionate about. It’s crazy that so many million of Africans are still wasting transport, time and other valuable resources transacting in the bricks and mortar world when they could be conducting the lion’s share of their transacting online using their smartphones and even feature phones, with USSD. When it comes to thinking out of the box, mobile marketers need to think of new ways to accommodate clients also struggling under the weight of a slowing economy. For one, many brands are wanting to go the mobile route, but are unable to direct resources towards bespoke mobile solutions. Advise them on generic, or even white labeled, mobile solutions that won’t break the bank while still improving the current and potential customer’s mobile experience.


I like to scan the global mobile marketing news every week – just to make sure I’m staying top of my game! This morning, a headline on Mobile Marketing Magazine caught my eye: “TGI Fridays UK sees instant impact after launching mobile loyalty app”. It was the ‘instant impact’ phrase that I liked. After all, isn’t ‘instant impact’ one of the top reasons why we’ve all gone the mobile marketing route? There really is no other marketing discipline that offers instant impact combined with massive reach. Reading the above article, it became clear that the restaurant chain’s brand new mobile app was now a central part of its expanded customer loyalty and relationship programme. Apparently, it took just four weeks for TGI Fridays UK to see a significant increase in engagement across all customer touch points following the release of its app. Interestingly, the company’s new marketing chief made sure to update the in-store experience just prior to the new app’s launch – this is then a perfect example of the real world and virtual worlds colliding in a very synergistic way! It also underscores again the importance of implementing a mobile marketing campaign that does not sit in isolation of all the other pieces of the overall marketing jigsaw. TGI Friday’s excellent results can probably also be attributed to the fact that the company’s new CMO set clear and measurable goals for the mobile campaign. The results of this highly-effective, textbook approach to mobile marketing are clear: since the app launched at the beginning of August, loyalty visits are up 61 percent. To clarify what the campaign actually encompassed, and to give blog readers a few tips on what works in mobile, initially the loyalty program used a gamification approach, with a ‘Scratch, Match and Win’ probability-based program. Great idea. Now, however, the updated app uses a spend-based system of points or ‘stripes’ to unlock different reward options. The final word comes from the restaurant’s mobile partner, Punchh: “TGI Friday UK’s mobile marketing success is a shining example of how brick and mortar can leverage digital customer engagement strategies to grow their business.”


We heard last time that video is getting bigger and bigger. We said proof of this is to be found in news that Facebook has just launched group video watching. This first from Zuckerberg’s behemoth enables groups to watch live or recorded videos together in the same place at the same time, with an administrator controlling the experience, as always. As a mobile marketer presumably with his ear to the ground, I think it’s correct to say that many South Africans, in particular, have always approached news about video becoming big with a large dose of sceptism. This is because a large number of us remain unable to enjoy mobile video, or to utilise it to its full potential, on our devices because of the cost of mobile data in this country. Every pronouncement in the local marketing media about the rise of video seems a bit of a damp squib because so many SA mobile users have become overly-obsessed with their monthly data allowance after being hit time and time again by massive data bills. Local users reading about video are simply translating that news into the megabytes and gigabytes likely to result in huge bills if they dare use video for more than a couple minutes a day. Fortunately, there are local organisations like SA’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) that regularly issues information on how to save data. In addition, the local mobile network operators have implemented measures like slashing interconnection costs to help bring down the cost of the mobile data that video runs on. So a lot is being done locally to help ensure that SA mobile consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of video in all its forms very soon without worrying too much about what it costs to view the latest treat served up by X and Y brand’s mobile marketing gurus. Overseas, there are encouraging developments on the horizon. Just in the last week or so, Walmart (now operating in SA) hired a veteran US cable company executive to help it develop a low-cost video streaming service. Walmart has long been rumoured to be working on a low-cost subscription streaming service. Perhaps Walmart’s SA operations will soon be able to roll out such a service to local consumers to help them enjoy a worry-free video experience. We watch, wait and hope!


In life and mobile marketing, you can always count on an equal and opposite reaction. Regular readers of this blog will have no doubt seen us trot out a plethora of stats to back-up our assertion that mobile is the best thing to hit marketing since telesales. We’ve told you that more human beings on the planet now access the web via mobile devices than via PCs, whether laptop or desktop. We’ve also quoted that age-old stat that 80% of mobile users keep their mobiles within arm’s reach, most of the time. Now, it seems the inevitable pushback is making an appearance. Apparently, and according to a new survey by Pew Research Center (in the US), teens over there are starting to cut back on mobile phone and social media usage. My first reaction was where exactly are these teens? I don’t think any parent, or marketer, on the entire African continent has noticed any of our homegrown teens cutting back on their mobile phone usage! However, Pew says teens between 13 and 17 are consciously trying to reduce their screen time. Well over half think they spend too much time on their mobiles, and just under half think they spend too much time on social media. As a mobile marketer, all this says to me is marketers have to focus increasingly on that holy grail of mobile technology: personalisation. If teens in developed markets are indeed cutting back on mobile time, this simply says to me that we’re seeing a market correction. Teens took to mobile in droves, clearly, and now they’re wanting to see personalisation, value and they want more from content providers to keep their interest up. This is totally normal and applies to all media and mediums that have ever been used to flog good and services. Finally, when it comes to keeping interest up, video is the thing! If you get your brand to increasingly incorporate video in social and mobile marketing campaigns, you’ll keep teens – and their parents – interested and engaged with their small screens.


It’s rare in today’s challenging worldwide economic climate to see upbeat choices of words in the daily business, consumer and marketing press. It’s probably for this reason that I noticed a great article on this week that boasted a decidedly upbeat choice of words: “Digital Marketing Spend Roars” the headline announced. Great. So, what was the crux of the article beneath that wonderfully-perky headline? Apparently, a survey of CMOs revealed the top marketing cheeses across a range of top-notch large enterprises are planning on boosting their digital spend to the tune of over 12 percent next year. And, the good news for mobile marketers continues – the ‘digital’ part of their budgets (which, of course, encompasses mobile) is also set to grow, from 44% of total marketing budgets, to 54% digital within the next five years. That’s awesome news. Clearly, the robust evangelising of mobile by ever-keen mobile marketers is having a good effect. We’ve been going about the top three benefits of mobile marketing for at least a decade now, so it’s wonderful that mobile’s set to gobble up a greater share of enterprise marketing budgets. Briefly, mobile allows marketers to reach consumers on a medium that is the most personal humankind has ever invented. It also has the added benefit of enabling rapid and realtime transacting so interested potential customers can become current customers in a flash. Finally, mobile has the advantage of being able to produce rich reports chock full of interesting facts and stats that can then be directed back into the mobile effort to make it even more effective. After all that good news, let’s conclude with a ever so tiny downer. The research referred to above revealed that CMOs have certain privacy concerns. We’re fortunate in South Africa that imminent privacy legislation has brought issues over sharing of mobile subscriber data to the fore so we’re leading there, but let’s keep flagging this issue to make sure it doesn’t impact negatively on growing digital budgets. Mobile marketers, keep up the good work!


With all the focus on ‘content’ over the past couple of years, it’s tricky to know just how much ‘content’ mobile marketers should be producing. With the new focus on content, it seemed at one stage that more would surely always be better. Not so now, according to several recent mobile marketing news items relating to content production. As we close in on 2019, we hear, for instance, that music streaming service Pandora is focusing on way shorter ads (or commercial content) and much more personalisation. Marketers, it seems, are going back to basics and understanding again that while the focus must be on content, it doesn’t have to be on long reams of content consumers just don’t like. Mobile marketers know better than most that all content needs to fit snugly on a smartphone screen. Forget laptops, and even tablets, if it doesn’t fit on a smartphone screen, it’s not going to get noticed. Or rather, it’ll be noticed, and immediately deleted or scrolled past in favour of shorter, more personal content that is a pleasure to read on the small screen. Pandora’s new focus for advertisers is on three things we believe are key in mobile marketing: versatility, personalisation and short, impactful ad formats. Here at Imaginatrix, we’ve been punting mobile video for quite some time. However, how does audio fit into the new mobile admix? Pandora’s testing found that, for example, short form audio ads ranging from four to 10 seconds could still play a crucial part in driving brand lift, foot traffic and conversions. Working with snack brand Lays, the firm found that 10 second spots drove 56 per cent higher return on ad spend than 30 seconds, and were especially useful in priming audience interest. Perhaps the latter sentence contains the key. Content is king, but use short commercial content to prime interest and then longer format content across platforms to drive deeper engagement.


Before we get into the nuts and bolts of today’s blog post, readers in the industry might be interested to know that the deadline for entries into the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards has been extended to 10 August 2018. Now, onto today’s post! The big mobile marketing and social media-related news of the week simply has to be Facebook’s financial results. Industry pundits have been having a field day over the past 48 hours or so with their predictions of the social media giant’s impending doom, or at least hugely slowing fortunes. What nonsense. Let’s take a sober look at what was actually reported by Zuckerberg, Inc. While the results have been referred to as ‘mixed’ and there’s talk of ‘missed revenue oppprtunties’ what we have, in fact, is a company growing its monthly active users by 11 percent. Hardly a figure to sneeze at! Did your monthly salary go up 11 percent last year? Probably not, with inflation running at around 5% to 6%. So while daily active Facebook users managed to grow to a staggering 1.47bn human beings, something of a fuss is being made of the fact that this was short of the all-powerful Wall Street’s expectation of growth to 1.49bn users. Come on. In his results presentation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also revealed that at least 2.5bn people now use at least one of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger each month. Social media is massive, it’s not going anywhere and mobile marketers still need to figure out ways to integrate this communications behometh into their campaigns. A last thought is that video is one of the best ways to achieve this integration. And, lo and behold, it is Facebook that just this very month introduced another first, group video watching. This video experience enables groups to watch live or recorded videos together in the same place at the same time – Watch Party enables group admins and moderators to select any live or recorded public video to share with group members. Members can then comment and react in real-time to the video. Now this is going to be big, no matter what Wall Street says!