THE BUSINESS OF MOBILE MARKETING Mike Laws, Group CMO of InTarget, says the ‘Please Call Me’ service can help you exploit the awesome mobile marketing opportunities that exist out there Conventional wisdom has it that Africa is a continent of feature phone users. A feature phone is a mobile phone on which you can surf the internet and store and play music, but it lacks the advanced functionality and support for third-party software of smartphones. TechCentral has reported that by 2019, only 27% of cellphones sold in Africa will be feature phones. The vast majority will be smartphones, with 155 million being shipped next year alone. According to research by International Data Corporation, feature phone sales are declining by 20% every year. Statistics like these are relevant to mobile marketing because industry commentators often use them to signal the death knell of ̒ basic’ mobile marketing campaign tools such as SMS and USSD (standard GSM technology supported by all GSM handsets that is session-based and supports longer message content than texts). This is wrong, however. Just because USSD and SMS are the mobile marketing tools those with feature phones use most, doesn’t mean smartphone users don’t also use text messaging and menu-driven USSD. SMS and USSD have, in fact, become growing mobile marketing bearers in their own right. Just because a smartphone user has downloaded an over-the-top (OTT) messaging app (where third parties provide instant messaging services as an alternative to text messaging services provided by a mobile network operator) such as WhatsApp, it doesn’t mean they don’t regularly send and receive SMSs to and from people and organisations they don’t wish to add to their OTT app. 14
Here are a few tips you should bear in mind Thanks to the growing popularity of the most successful USSD application ever – Please Call Me – this technology will continue to prove one of the most effective and measurable ways for brands to reach mobile users, in 2019 and beyond. InTarget continues to partner with some of South Africa and the continent’s leading brands when it comes to exploiting the awesome mobile marketing opportunities offered by the Please Call Me service. InTarget’s established relationships means it is able to commercialise this service, which is highly valued by literally tens of millions of prepaid cellular users. This is achieved by adding text tags to the end of ̒Please Call Me messages for a specified time. Just as in SMS-based mobile advertising, there is a certain art in composing or structuring text tags that get your message across in the most effective way.
Don’t devalue the services you offer by reducing words to ‘SMS speak’ in an effort to save yourself space. Using SMS abbreviations such as “thnx” instead of “thank you” might be fine in a casual text conversation with your friends, but consumers expect the companies they interact with to uphold certain standards.
Because space is limited, don’t mix messages and ensure there is one clearly understandable call to action that is also just a click away. Know your audience by understanding that the products and services most suited to Please Call Me text tags are usually low-value recurring items that are also subscription or debit-order based.
Read back through your message before you send it, predictive text can make some strange and potentially embarrassing changes to the message you are trying to get across!
ABOUT MIKE LAWS Mike Laws is group chief marketing oﬃcer for InTarget, one of Africa's largest mobile aggregation and solutions companies. He has more than 23 years’ experience in the ICT industry and has worked in multiple MNOs in Africa such as Econet Wireless and Vodacom South Africa. He is currently commercialising mobile advertising across 33 countries in Africa and the Middle East for Airtel Group and MTN Group. He has an MBA from Oxford Brookes University and is an expert on the role of mobile as part of large-scale marketing. www.intarget.mobi
Pro Landscaper Africa / November/December 2015