Mobile allows marketers to get up close and personal with their customers


By Tony Smith, CEO of Oxygen8

“Imagine walking past your pharmacy in a shopping mall and receiving a notification that you’re running out of asthma medication, and if you press one button to complete payment, your package will be ready for collection in the next 5 minutes”.

“Whether you’re a retailer or a customer, isn’t this win-win situation the perfect way to transact business?”

This type of customer engagement is not futuristic. Many organisations are now using mobile solutions, big data, the cloud alongside mobile payment gateways to gain the competitive edge by understanding their customers’ needs and providing goods and services that add enormous value.

The customers like ACN, the world’s largest direct seller of telecoms, energy and other services, are using a sophisticated mobile marketing platform to reduce customer churn, improve response rate to contract renewals, and reduce costs by using less direct mail.

By integrating rich media mobile messaging into their contract renewal campaigns, the organisation experienced a boost in retention, improved awareness of upgrade offers and now have a solid data analytics by which to measure their success.

Unilever SA, part of the global group present in over 180 countries, was looking to evolve their product launch communications, but needed a platform that could easily integrate into their existing marketing solutions. Key to this was establishing a mobile database to enable them to roll out their mobile marketing strategy across other Unilever brands.

To achieve this, Unilever used an Oxygen8 solution comprising a mobile SMS competition platform, personalised mobile content delivery and customer data capture to re-launch the Royco brand, which resulted in increased brand loyalty and brand recognition, while at the same time establishing a large mobile database.

Mobile is the next big driver in the global economy that will reduce costs and increase efficiencies by communicating directly with customers. Marketers need to capitalise on the fact that globally 97% of SMS texts are opened immediately because everyone carries their mobile device with them most of the time.”

South Africa ranks fifth in the world for mobile data usage, according to a report by device, with the US coming in seventh. With internet penetration scoring 41% and mobile phone penetration at 135% in South Africa, it’s a no brainer that mobile has become one of the most important marketing channels. In fact, mobile is the gateway to the internet in this country and the rest of Africa due to our broadband and infrastructural challenges.

The benefits of mobile technology extend across all industries.

With mobile usage on the increase, businesses must be ready to consider it as a valid avenue for communicating their message. Any savvy marketer is exploring how mobile can improve their company’s efficiencies, whether they’re a publisher, TV production company, retail group, media buyer or brand. And it’s not restricted to the size of the company – even an SME business will find that mobile technologies will deliver huge cost savings and efficiencies.

The retailing and banking sectors will experience significant changes in the next couple of years. With the evolution of powerful mobile solutions, the banking sector will follow Kenya’s example in South Africa and other countries, and bring banking direct to the unbanked via mobile phones. This also means a transformation in the banking sector, as physical branches lose their relevance and tech startup companies begin to offer mobile only, frictionless financial services.

Additionally, the traditionally banked sector will migrate a substantial part of their banking towards mobile phones. Likewise in the retail sector, e-commerce will be accessed primarily via mobile devices. We haven’t seen this wave of e-commerce disruption yet, as we need to increase the proliferation of affordable smartphones devices into the mass market.

Mobile allows marketers to get up close and personal to transact in an intimate manner with their customers, and provide them with the products, information and services that they have requested. Mobile is the next revolutionary technology that presents exciting opportunities for the customer and the whole supply chain, from manufacturers to retailers.


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