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By 9 April 2018 | Categories: Events

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We’ve been having the “year of the mobile” every year, for some time now, says Sagren Pather, Standard Bank’s Executive Head: Digital, Direct Marketing and Marketing Analytics, one of four industry thought leaders who offered key insights at the recent Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA SA) first Thought Leadership Breakfast series event of 2018. “This year, and those in the future, will be no different as the industry continues to rapidly evolve,” says Pather, who is directly involved in Standard Bank’s “Mobile Everything” strategy. 

Pather was joined by Uber’s Head of Marketing, Sub-Saharan Africa Lindsey Elkin, KFC’s Digital Manager, Benjamin Schoderer and World Wide Worx’s MD Arthur Goldstuck, who gave the keynote talk.

Always armed with the most up-to-date mobile stats, Goldstuck shared highlights from visits to three international mobile conferences. He said there wasn’t one or two main themes this year, but eight. All of which are imminent for general consumer uptake. Among them are voice-enabled everything and 5G.

He also surprised guests with stats on the take-up of futuristic tech among corporates. 60% are using IoT, and of those who don’t, 84% intend to soon. Robotics however are favoured by only 6%, with among those who don’t, 47% say that they plan to use it in the future, cost being the primary hurdle.

Goldstuck also gave the humble email a plug. According to his Mobile Corporation South Africa 2018 Report, 82% of enterprises see e-mail on the go as a vital use of mobile technology – this despite the under-25s using IM more often than email.

Luisa Mazinter, CMO for Tyme Digital and MMA SA Chair later convened a panel between Pather and Elkin, debating the “Impact & Effectiveness” of mobile in developing and growing businesses. Key highlights from the discussion follow: 

·         We’ve only been using mobile for 10 years. It was after the iPhone launch in 2007 that things got interesting…. A decade later and we’re talking about using mobiles to call for a flying car from UberELEVATE in the very near future. 2020 anyone?

·         The humble phone is the only device that can truly claim hyper personalisation by reaching an individual with content that is relevant to them;

·         The ‘tap’ culture will continue to grow. Users want instant gratification and hyper convenience, now;

·         Customer experience is a given. In banking, an app that works seamlessly is expected, and those brands that don’t have one, or offer a clunky experience, will soon be out of the game. Customers want frictionless convenience;

·         To grow into Africa acknowledge that, despite the massive growth of smartphones elsewhere in the world, organisations need to have a dual mobile strategy to avoid missing engaging with a population that still uses feature phones. Brands also need to start at the bottom of the pyramid and bring consumers up to the smartphone market, over time;

·         Only the big organisations are using mobile advertising en masse. This needs to change. In the case of KFC, half of its digital marketing budget goes to mobile. Given the significant opportunities that this platform/ channel affords, there are benefits to using mobile to engage and market to customers, especially in Africa;

·         That said, the rise of Ad-click fraud in mobile marketing isn’t doing anyone any favours, and in Standard Bank’s case, it continues to invest in their platforms and app that drives organic usage to mitigate inflated results that add zero to their bottom line. Brands are also advised to better target their marketing and deliver an excellent customer experience.

There’s no doubt that mobile innovation is enabling huge waves of change, across the world, in different sectors, in counties and among their very users.  Pather’s analogy is a case in point. “What once used to take and make calls, is now used as an alarm clock, wallet and payments, navigator, library, to use to FaceTime or WhatsApp, to take photographs or videos and connect and share with the world in real-time.” If only Alexander Graham Bell could see what his telephonic invention has become….

In closing, Sarah Utermark, MMA SA’s Country Director said that it was encouraging to hear such personal insights from leading industry voices. “By encouraging brands to speak out and be able to openly share their key learnings, it allows industry peers to remain on track and in line with the demands marketers face, helping them to solve problems and strive together to achieve common goals together, while collectively advancing the mobile industry.”

To attend the next MMA SA Breakfast visit www.mmasa.org or follow on @MobileInSa.

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