Even though the ‘year of the mobile’ is quickly becoming the decade of the device, many business owners still have reservations about the efficacy of mobile marketing and are unsure about how much of their budgets to commit to mobile advertising.
Does mobile advertising reach a smaller market than traditional campaigns? Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul by redirecting traditional marketing budgets towards mobile? Is a fully integrated campaign just agency fantasy?
A roundtable facilitated by African mobile marketing industry leader, Mobiclicks, recently gathered a table-full of key industry influences who all expressed the same sentiment: marketers are not taking full advantage of the relatively new mobile platform.
Statistics reveal that South Africa is a mobile mecca. With more SIM cards than people and indications that on average people spend more time on their phones than watching TV, the country boasts one of the world’s highest mobile penetration rates. With this in mind, mobile advertising is fast becoming an attractive option for marketers.
So what’s holding us back? How do we become a part of this mobile world?
What should we change?
Roundtable participants agreed that many companies fall into the trap of making short-term, data driven decisions that lack longevity. A shift from a data-led focus to a future-led strategy could go a long way towards encouraging traditional retailers to adopt more innovative marketing techniques.
This paradigm shift needs to start within the business and cannot be forced by external influence.
A lack of knowledge around mobile in the higher marketing ranks can create fear and uncertainty and result in complete avoidance. Seasoned marketing professionals are so well versed in traditional communications campaigns that there’s a risk of getting stuck in a tried-and-tested rut.
How do we address device discrepancies?
Over the last 12 months, South Africa has seen a major move from feature phones to smartphones and a steady rise in demand for low cost smartphones. Research reveals that approximately 2.7 million sub-R750 were sold in SA last year, compared to just 590 000 units in 2013.
Although these figures support a smartphone slant to mobile campaigns, it doesn’t discount the enormous potential of the feature phone market. The marketing challenge here is to create content that spans devices and enhances the user experience regardless of screen size or capability.
As one of the panellists points out: “successful advertising depends on 3 key factors: placement, relevance and creativity. The consumer is spammed to death. Content needs to be engaging, it has to transcend the limitations of advertising-for-advertising’s-sake.”
Roundtable participants agreed that advertising should not be the initial reason for the development of an application.
Content platforms that are created for the consumer and then layered with advertising are far more effective than short-lived, gimmicky apps developed solely for immediate commercial gain.
Can a mobile device be the glue that holds it all together?
Debate rages over the measurability of mobile. Pinpointing the exact moment of conversion may be as difficult as splitting the atom but the panel were unanimous on mobile’s ability to deliver a deeper, more interesting audience.
Collaboration between industry players and the integration of traditional and digital marketing methods can ensure that campaigns reach a wider audience and produce more meaningful content.
TV, radio and even billboards can create a call to action to a mobile device. And from here, digital can have a significant influence on the outcome of the campaign without having to resort to a single push activity.