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ADVICE FOR A 24HR POCKET MOBILE PLAN

Imagine you had only 24 hours to put together a passable mobile marketing plan. What mobile tactics would you prioritise over a day because they are such non-negotiables? There is, in fact, a lot one could do in a normal working day that stretched into the evening because of less than optimal mobile planning. Pay attention to this core mobile marketing advice first and then, in 2019, take some time to really draft something awesome: The first thing one would need to do is to quickly skim through what company marketing platforms currently exist that can be rapidly tweaked towards mobile. So, take a read through your company website and cut the copy down so that there are never more than 100 words on each page and pages are ideally limited to about four. Seriously. You should and need to say it on mobile in under 400 words. If you can’t, you’ve lost the majority of Africans who are navigating the web on some exceptionally tiny screens. In the same wordy email to your designer, tell them to chop out all pictures except one cool and small one on the landing page. That should be enough for even the most creative of creatives to accomplish in one day! Try also impress upon your web people the importance of thinking 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. Plan for errors because typing on smaller screens can be challenging. Be sure to include commonly-misspelled words relating to your business in your campaigns and know which relevant keywords are prone to typos. Come up with a few mobile text tag ads to tag onto the end of Please Call Me (PCM) Messages. If you’ve only got a day for your pocket mobile marketing plan, you definitely need to have a Please Call Me campaign feature as part of your 24-hour mobile plan. Here you can reach tens of millions of mobile consumers in one fell swoop. The text needs to be exceptionally brief and contain a clear call to action. PCM campaigns are ridiculously affordable, measurable and super effective to boot. Finally, use your 24 hours to get in touch with a proper, specialist mobile marketing outfit so that, next time, you don’t have to waste the potential that is mobile marketing with a hastily put together plan-on-the-go! Mobile’s too awesome to rush and the benefits for your brand of engaging with a specialist are too numerous to mention. As part of your plan, you can name-drop your 2019 future mobile marketing partner, impressing all and sundry with your exhaustive sector research. By way of underscoring the importance of a mobile-first web presence, the absolute final word today belongs to Unilever: “Brands have to be prepared to meet customers where they are, they should prepare to have assets mobile-ready, including optimising websites for small screens with contents repurposed for any screen, pre-aligning creative and media teams to build relevant assets, and understanding viewability.” That’s very sensible advice you don’t need a day to digest!

THE END OF MONEY? READ ON…

Does anyone remember a South Africa that was so awash in supermarket shopping bags that the thin plastic bag was once dubbed ‘SA’s national flower’? Then, about 20 years ago, consumers in South Africa started paying for these bags and suddenly their willy-nilly usage plummeted. Today, many of us see value in these bags (that we’ve forked out 50-odd cents for) and would never dream of simply discarding them all over the place. This shows how powerful hitting us in the pocket can be when you want to direct behaviour towards a more environmentally-conscious end. It also shows how on-the-ball our country is in many areas. The National Credit Act is another beautiful piece of legislation that was introduced just at the right time, that is, shortly before the global credit crisis really hit. Much of the world is now seeing how damaging the cousin of the plastic bag is turning out to be. I’m speaking, of course, of the plastic straw and its partner in the environmental crime of the last century and of the current young century: the styrofoam cup. Mostly used for coffee, the styrofoam and other plastic derivatives of this takeaway favourite is now being recognised for the rotter it is turning out to be. Forget caffeine keeping us awake, the caffeine holder is now giving us all sleepless nights wondering what damage is being done to our world. We often mention real-world examples of mobile marketing in this blog and today I have such a cracker for you that’s related to the above. Not content with offering customers discounts for bringing their own cups, Costa Coffee in the UK has now teamed up with Barclaycard to launch a coffee cup that’s not only reusable, but which incorporates a mobile payment element. What? Yes, seriously! Your coffee cup now pays for itself, well, sort of… The ‘clever cup’, which comes with a mobile app to run the whole thing, is part of a wider campaign by Costa to encourage customers to avoid single-use coffee cups. Essentially, the cup has a contactless chip embedded in its silicon base which screws off off so you can wash it – presumably without washing your money away! Mobile users can track their spending, top up their balance and block or cancel the contactless payment element using the dedicated app or online. This has to be 2018’s best example of the deployment of practical yet awesome mobile technology out in the wild. What a way to (almost) end what’s been another great mobile year! Let’s end off by issuing a challenge to the African mobile marketing community to come up with something equally outstanding.

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!

GAMIFICATION COUNTS & PROGRESS MARKERS ARE KEY

Who has time any more? Simple question, but I bet I already lost half of you! Time has become as precious a resource as water in Cape Town over the summer months. Seriously. Recognising this, in a recent post I provided some handy mobile hints and tips one could implement in a day. Who has time to draft lengthy strategies when the competition is already implementing while you’re preparing? With all of this in mind, let’s not beat around the bush with a long list of 7, or even 5, top mobile tips for the coming year. Let’s rather look at one thing you can do right now for your brand to immediately reap the benefits of society’s mobile-first culture. Mobile devices are the new horizon for marketers, and they need to be taken seriously as a core marketing priority and not as some fringe platform as if we were all still living in the ’90s. The dominance of mobile marketing is complete and now it’s a question of not if brands are in mobile, but just how deeply they are embedded in mobile-first culture. Unfortunately, while knowing what to do is obvious, knowing how to do it has become much trickier as mobile technology evolves into a hugely-complicated, yet hugely-appealing, plethora of ways to reach the consumer. So, you need to gamify your approach to reach those individuals who are growing increasingly-accustomed to researching and navigating their customer decisions via their smart devices. Most people in the developed world, and across the developed parts of the so-called developing world, now spend at least six hours a day accessing the web on their mobiles. With that amount of time being spent looking at the small screen, brands need to start making access time fun time, and gamification is the key. Work on engaging consumers through something legitimately fun and stimulating. This will keep your brand in their minds! The key word here is ‘legitimately’ – consumers will soon wise up to gimmicky gamification. Mobile marketers keen on a gamification approach would be wise to integrate campaigns with social media platforms. This way, friends and family members can act as brand advocates as they bring new people into your mobile brand games. Lastly, when it comes to gamification, a system of rewards is important because people like to know when they’re making progress in the game or getting closer to some real-world discount. So while badges and points are important, remember that it’s discounts in the real-world that count and progress tabs in this regard are hugely important!

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.

Video & bots, that’s your mobile marketing 2019 in a nutshell!

As we settle firmly into the last quarter of 2018, many mobile marketers and their clients will be wondering what the mobile hot buttons will be for 2019. Interestingly, or perhaps predictably for those of us who believe in the power of consistency, there’ll be much of the same on the mobile front for next year. Don’t take my word for it – a quick scan of such leading mobile media platforms as Mobile Marketing Magazine, Adweek and Marketing Land reveals that video, for example, will continue to just grow and grow in importance. So there’s the first trend to keep your eye on in 2019. And it’s related to the second trio of trends for next year. But first, Video. Not only are the pundits saying that traditional video will account for 85% of all Internet traffic in 2019, but way more than half of mobile users already watch web and social media video on their cells. The message here is that mobile marketers seriously need to investigate video ads next year, if they haven’t already done so, because 65% of ad impressions – apparently – on Instagram this year have been the result of video content. So pencil in traditional video. And me using the term ‘traditional video’ here takes us to our next mobile hot button for 2019. Live video is making waves on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram right now and will continue to do so in 2019. We’re all watching more live video than we watched the year before and that’s an upwards trend the mobile marketer really needs to underline for next year. Do NOT let you brand be late on the live video bandwagon. Finally, you need to stay ahead of the curve and get your client, or your own firm or employer, to develop a chatbot. In 2019, the gurus are saying chatbots will become a normal thing. We’re seeing a lot of banks and insurance firms, in particular, using chatbots for CRM in South Africa, and next year the novelty will fade and consumers will simply expect to engage with their favourite brands in this manner. It used to be science fiction – now it’s science fact and bots will continue to grow in leaps and bounds in 2019.