By BING KIMPO www.bingkimpo.com If I Had a Few Drinks with... Sir Martin Sorrell
Iʼd tell him to acquire a mobile payment solutions company. Sir Martin Sorrell has been a communications conquistador. The Financial Times reported that his WPP empire has made over 300 acquisitions in the last 20 years or so. So, why should he look at mobile payment solutions? (Gulp.) Because it closes the sale. Marketing communications and media - in all their forms and iterations - have always been about selling. A marketer hires an agent to design, develop and deploy communications that will be experienced in media with the objective of getting the audience to buy his product, service or idea. Thatʼs been the game plan from the era of handbills to the age of hash tags: lead the guy to the store - brick-and-mortar or online - and get him to buy. (Gulp again. And another beer, please). But how does he pay? Payments, to my mind, represents the last piece of the marketing puzzle that needs to be put in its place. Another “P” to suggest to Philip Kotler. Developments in technology and the practice of marketing now enable sellers and buyers to meet and interact online or in person in ways never before done. In some mature markets, all the buyer has to do is key in credit card or PayPal details - or swipe plastic at the POS terminal. But what about the rest of the world, that Blue Ocean euphemistically called emerging markets? Half of the world owns a mobile phone, Sir Martin. Ideally, you should be able to pay for something on your mobile as easily as you can call, text, tweet or Google on it. The content, the services, the applications are all there. Yet, weʼre all still seeking the Holy Grail of Monetization. Simply put, Sir, you canʼt monetize if people canʼt pay. Three beers down, I donʼt think the banks or the financial service providers have the answer because they think like banks and financial service providers. And I donʼt think the telcos do either - because theyʼd have to worry first about selling airtime. What will drive mobile commerce is marketing. Because marketing is not focused on interchange fees and transaction costs. Because marketing is not motivated by metering minutes. Because marketing is all about closing the sale - whoever you are, wherever you are in the world and whatever time it is. This is the only thing missing in your portfolio at WPP. Your companies all move sellers and buyers to a point of transaction. All you need now is to offer a means of closing the sale - and getting the payment across. Check, please.