Mobile marketing is here to stay and it will continue to evolve into the definitive cost-effective marketing channel with the greatest reach and engagement potential. Marketers must also awaken to its possibilities with some urgency as they might continue to put their marketing dollars in channels that do not deliver similar results at the same cost.
The mobile phone is now manifestly a pervasive and highly addictive device due to its increased scope of functions. From entertainment, news, online shopping, banking, online payments and even health, a simple handset has turned into a near sci-fi gadget with lightning-fast internet capabilities and incredible processing power. Manufacturers have created an in-demand device that simplifies how people communicate and execute online tasks.
According to reports on the global growth of smartphones, vendors shipped a total of 432.1 million mobile phones in Q2 2013 compared to 407.7 million units in the second quarter of 2012. The Q2 2013 total was also slightly higher than the 428.8 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2013.
There is also good news for the marketers in Africa. According to a Global Media Intelligence report mobile phone usage is skyrocketing in the Middle East and Africa, and the region is expected to become the second-largest mobile phone population of any region in the world.
Additionally, reduced wireless data prices and the fervency with which high-speed networks are being rolled out have increased internet usage on the continent.
Africa presents a unique landscape in that whilst the smartphones dominate in western societies, it is the feature phone that is more prevalent on the continent as smartphones only make up 18% of the mobile phones in Africa
Marketers should consider this pattern and factor it in when creating their plans and selecting the digital properties that they will leverage on. This is not a strange expectation though because digital marketing is based more on the laser-targeting of an unpacked market whose peculiarities are taken into consideration than on how sophisticated an app or anything trending. What works in London might not work in Johannesburg for instance.
These statistics and trends demonstrate the opportunity that marketers have to put their brands on millions or even billions of handsets and consequently benefit from the increased visibility of their brands and enhanced market penetration.
It should rather be obvious that mobile is adopted as the advertising medium of choice given its reach, intimacy and proximity but alas, many marketers and business owners are skeptical about its viability as a sustainable marketing channel. Those concerns are informative to the extent that they reveal the absence of reliable, solid and actionable social media insights that can be best put to use by virtually everyone to achieve their goals or meet personal targets.
If one can be generous, the ignorance around the ability of social media to bring the twin towers of market reach and brand awareness can be traced directly to how the digital revolution unfolded. Like most of its kind, the social media tsunami caught everyone by surprise by virtue of its speed and driving power. No one was prepared. Everyone had to learn as they used the various social platforms.
But then we are living in a world where the dictum is “walala wasala” (You blink you lose). Marketers and business owners must quickly understand how mobile marketing takes their brand to where most people are spending their time and money on.
Mobile offers unlimited potential to marketers and business owners. However mobile marketing is a different kind of universe with nuances that are different even to its other digital cousins. Mobile marketing is not exactly tight rope walking but rather it is like handling an aggressive pet which can turn on its owners due to negligent handling.
For example, the fact that mobile devices are both intimate, personal and always within proximity are both a very good thing and it can be a trigger of disaster stemming from an ill-thought, pushy and aggressive mobile advertising campaign. People don’t want brands on their phones as it will turn their most personal device into a highway filled with billboards. That would be gross intrusion of a personal space and consumers detest it with their all.
The way to win in mobile marketing is to create content that echoes your target audience, its aspirations, psychology and its location. This gives you an effective camouflage approach that works wonders. With proper planning, creative content and excellent execution, you can engage the consumers without them realising that they are giving your brand amplification and ultimately this leads to increased sales from word of mouth marketing.
As an example, when Nelson Mandela passed on, eNCA created a website, candlesformandela.com in which people could “light” up at the click of a button. The site also carried biographical stories, funeral arrangements and condolences from the visitors. eNCA thus managed to put its brand right in the face of the people without distracting them from their daily lives.
Let your brand speak their language and provide content that matches their world. You would have done the hardest part and remember, It’s all in the etiquette.
Mobile marketing also has unique content requirements that you as the marketer need to be aware of. Mobile users consume content in byte sizes due to the nature of the screen resolutions of mobile devices and the fact that most browse on the go whilst multi-tasking. Understand the psychology of mobile content consumers or any app users and you will have them eating out of your hand for a profit.
Joseph Neusu is a digital marketing specialist with Yookos, an emerging social networking site headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an avid researcher of digital media trends and best practices with special focus on the African markets. Joseph is a social media marketing trainer, consultant and writer and helps brands to build awareness, enhance their market penetration, promote the brand-client relationship and customer service. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
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