Marketing Mobile Marketing

A couple of weeks ago I attended the first day of the Mobile Web East Africa Conference in Nairobi.  The day was focused on Mobile Marketing Africa and I was immediately struck by quite an ironic thought, the mobile marketers don’t know how to market their own product.

Allow me to explain. The morning started off with a very good presentation by Moses Kemibaro on why we should invest in mobile marketing. In a market like Kenya where mobile ownership is growing exponentially and surveys have indicated that people would rather go without food than air time.  It is also shown that people actually welcome direct marketing communication rather than detest it like in more developed countries – who can argue that mobile marketing should not figure large within a marketing communications strategy?

The second part of Moses presentation focused on how we can get maximum value from our mobile marketing spend.  This also made perfect sense, because it talked about the same marketing principles that have been around for the last 50 years. Mobile marketing is no different to any other marketing; it all starts with understanding the consumer. If you don’t know who your target audience is, their values, their ambitions etc. etc. then your campaign will fail, because you will be talking to them in the wrong language or over the wrong device or trying to sell an offer that has no value to them.

So far so good, solid marketing principles backed up by a real thirst for communication by a growing consumer base, so if that is the case why is mobile marketing spend not growing at the same rate as the user base? My feeling is that the mobile marketers need to think more carefully about how they can positively influence the purse string holders of major clients.

A couple of examples from last week I believe highlight where some of the problems lie. With Moses presentation all was good, however subsequent discussions then moved on to what was probably only a very basic technical level to the majority of those in the room, but non the less it was too much for me and left me baffled about what we were discussing. Now if we are going to sell the benefits of mobile marketing to Marketing Directors and General Managers, you techies need to put all your technical jargon to bed and talk purely in consumer terms, otherwise they just will not get it.

Then as I looked around the room and at the attendee list I noticed there were very few clients in the room. Now this conference was surely a great opportunity to show case the many success stories of mobile marketing in East Africa, of which numerous were presented, but how many clients and how many budget holders where actually there to hear it? Very few I’m afraid.

So if the mobile marketing industry in East Africa is really going to attract the sort of spend that the medium deserves, due to its amazing reach capability, then marketers need to up their game – and I do include myself in this!

John Dowd – Director 2020 Marketing

Mobile Marketing