Introducing the ‘sell’ phone… yes, the cellphone is a communication device but it holds tremendous opportunity to be used as a selling machine. We can use this simple mobile phone as a tool to create ROI for brands, enabling them to reach at least 32 million mobile users across South Africa. This simple mobile phone was an indispensable tool for Mobitainment’s Award winning Boxer Super Shopper Show – as it recently walked away with 3 awards at the Standard Bank Mobile Marketing Association’s Smarties SA Awards: Bronze for Cross Media Integration; Bronze for Brand Awareness and a Silver in the Lead Generation, Direct Response, Conversion category.
As per the latest local mobile stats released in the MMA’s #MobileRocks report, shows that mobile penetration in South Africa is high, with 87% of adults either owning or having access to a mobile phone. “Today, mobile is used more than any other communication media – in fact mobile surpassed television as far back as 2009. Add to this the fact that the Internet is accessed more frequently via mobile phones than PC’s and you have a winning formula on your hands,” comments Candice Goodman, Chairman Emeritus and head of Education & Training committee at the MMA of SA, and CEO of International award winning mobile marketing consultancy Mobitainment.
That said, marketers using mobile as a medium should be aware that in developing countries such as South Africa, mobile is used differently to that of developed countries. With this in mind, Goodman believes that it is the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa, coupled with the need for communication, commerce and community that has seen the creation of pioneering solutions in the mobile arena in Africa, by Africans. “It is not the technology itself that is changing the landscape of mobile marketing in Africa,” she stresses. “Rather, I believe that African people are changing technology and creating new opportunities for marketers to learn and share.”
One of the greatest differentiators of the African mobile landscape is the fact that while the mobile penetration rate in South Africa is high, only an estimated 41% of these users have smart phones. The remaining 59% make use of non-smart phones, a statistic which has led some South African mobile marketers like us, to the development of mobile marketing solutions that do not require the use of smart phones. With 39% of all SA mobile users only using voice, SMS or USSD on their phones, these solutions leverage the innovation of African born technologies that were a world first: Prepaid Airtime, USSD, Please call me’s and Mobile Money.
“USSD is probably the most successful technology you’ve never heard of,” Goodman reveals. Essentially USSD is a call communicating through text as opposed to voice. It’s a method that is cost effective, works across all phones and networks and most importantly, is familiar to the mass market – a tool with unlimited potential for marketers communicating in this sector, as seen for the Boxer Super Shopper Show campaign.
In the same vein, ‘Please call me’ (PCM), a technology that was first created in South Africa, has become one of the most widely used functions on a mobile phone, with 40 million adverts sent via PCM per day. PCM is a free service that will allow a user to send a notification to another user, even if they do not have any airtime – the cost is supported by an advert.
Statistics published by our MMA member, Millward Brown have revealed PCM to be a highly effective marketing tool – nine out of 10 South Africans know what a PCM is, while one in two people claim to have sent a PCM in the last week. Moreover, 64 percent of people who have read the advertising on a PCM claim to have responded.
Automated voice messages too are an effective tool and one which allows for interaction with consumers via the phone’s keypad, for example allowing for language selection, multiple choice answers, barcode entries and SMS replies, as well as hot key transfers to live agents.
“Ultimately, a choice of mobile marketing channels for your brand message is the key to developing loyalty in commoditised markets,” Goodman maintains. “offering a ‘lowest common denominator’ option which allows for the lowest cost to the consumer, can be used on the most basic of entry level phones and provides a multi-language option.”
Effective mobile marketing relies on an understanding of the market you wish to target – it’s about asking the right questions and more than that – really listening to the answers. To this end, we believe the use of mobile surveys – creating a mobile platform which allows brands to converse with potential and existing customers to understand them better, also allows for the up-selling of products. Key here is allowing the customer to decide how they want to answer the survey: via SMS, USSD or mobisite.
“While your campaign may take place via the mobile platform, the objective is ultimately to drive consumers in store,” she comments. “Sending out unique mobile coupons is a method that has been in use for years, but closing the loop in store has remained a challenge. Integrating the redemption process into a retailer’s point of sale is a viable solution and a powerful option for FMCG brands and one that promises great success.”
Of course, no retailer can be successful without the support of an educated and motivated sales team. Frighteningly, in many cases, the consumers themselves are more knowledgeable about the product than the actual sales team. Combating this is simple – it’s about empowering sales staff with product knowledge, providing them with the motivation to go out and sell and ultimately, driving a behaviour of service.
As such, we have seen much success when using mobile campaigns as learning instruments that assist in educating and supporting sales teams to understand the target markets of a brand, as well as coaching them on service delivery. Mobile competitions can also be used to reward staff easily through the issuing of mobile coupons.
“At the heart of every campaign lies one key factor – make it fun,” stresses Goodman. “Aren’t loyalty programmes essentially a game for consumers to play – with rules, levels and rewards – that should ultimately drive the behaviour you want from them?” she continues.
Indeed, mobile campaigns, like the Boxer Super Shopper Show, have proved time and time again to work extremely effectively in the mass market. With a variety of channels to choose from, a wide reach and the opportunity to create real engagement with consumers, brands stand to benefit from significant ROI on these campaigns. “The golden thread is speaking to the right person, at the right time, with the right message,” Goodman concludes “and it’s our job at Mobitainment to take care of that message, and like we did for the Boxer Super Shopper Show, turn the mobile phone into a “SELL” phone for your brand”.