Beyond Digital: The future of Mobile Marketing by Tomi Ogunlesi, MBA

Mr Tomi Ogunlesi MBA
May 7, 2012 — 1,933 views  
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Taking a cursory look at the scenario which is playing out - The concept of social networking has been completely redefined beyond what we could ever have imagined just five (5) years ago. More people across generational brackets spend more time on the internet on sites like *twitter* and * facebook*, while mobile business is fast gaining ground, as more and more individuals are able to transact greater quantum of business on their mobile devices (such as the Blackberry). More newspapers are going online, and digital media is on the rise, at the expense of printed matter. It is instructive to note that in the U.S.A alone, Google is recorded to have precipitated the closure of up to 42,000 libraries in the last five years. No proactive brand is trifling with social media as a channel for engaging consumers and other stakeholders, particularly the twitter network due to its unparalleled capacity for personalized communication even with political leaders, celebrities e.t.c

I would however like to dwell on the tremendous potential of the mobile device as far as advertising/consumer engagement is concerned.....notwithstanding the fact that for a number of apparent reasons, in many parts of Africa, we still appear to be slow adopters

From available indications, it is evident that as a medium, mobile is fundamentally different and superior to other media on all counts that matter to advertisers (i.e clients/brands) – and these essentially are availability, targeting, engagement and measurement.

Like it or not, 2012 is launching us deeper into the era of M-O-B-I-L-E. From available statistics, globally, mobile advertising is expected to reach USD60 billion in the next three years. Advertisers see the opportunity to reach billions of consumers globally with a highly targeted, impactful, and measurable creative that will greatly improve ROI.

Bringing it closer home, particularly in most parts of Africa, Mobile advertising is still at a nascent stage. Aside from infrastructural roadblocks such as mobile browser constraints, data charges and delayed 3G rollouts, marketers are still largely unaware of mobile advertising as anything beyond SMS marketing. Furthermore, I would also point to the existence of knowledge gaps among the consumer set when it comes to sophisticated mobile technology usage as well as the concept of mobile advertising itself. Another key challenge that has deterred greater industry adoption is the lack of a standard set of metrics to measure the medium and its usage/users. There is a crucial need for this information to be made available to help the industry understand the evolution of the mobile medium and discover its value.

However, a key trend seen in the mobile market both locally and globally is the massive global consumer transition to high-quality smart devices. According to data from InMobi (a leading global independent mobile advertising network) which I recently came across, smartphone growth has outpaced advanced phones and they now represent 14% of the overall phone market. Smartphone impressions grew by over 44% in the October 2010 to January 2011 period, now representing over one billion monthly ad impressions. This, combined with 3G network rollouts, indicates the future acceleration of mobile media consumption, particularly in the emerging markets.

Discerning Marketers potentially stand to have an edge based purely on the strengths of the mobile medium - Its immediate, targeted and personalised reach is unparalleled, to say the very least. I would also submit that Mobile is advantaged over other mediums in terms of targeting audiences giving advertisers unparalleled ability to target individual devices, operating systems and customers of particular operators, in addition to the usual segmentation used by advertisers.

Finally, in terms of a parameter which most advertisers have increasingly become concerned about and on which they hold their agencies accountable more than ever before, the mobile medium makes for more detailed measurement of audience behaviour, as it enables advertisers to better track variables such as the number of seconds a consumer spends viewing a video or the percentage of consumers choosing a particular product.

Already, we have started to witness the advent of 3D advertisements which essentially allow consumers to have a deep engaging experience with products, and which is especially relevant for verticals like automobiles, consumer electronics and devices. Again, 3D advertisements are already running live on such networks such as AdMob in U.S and Europe as well as InMobi in Asia and increasingly in certain markets in Africa. Particularly intriguing have been recent successes with rich media ads (facilitated by HTML-5 programming) where users can watch movie trailers on the same page instead of having to open another browser. Click-to-call ads are also popular with retailers as mobile users can call the merchant directly by touching the ad. All of these deliver a truly engaging experience that Internet advertising is not quite able to provide to consumers.

However, going into 2012 and beyond, the traditional channels (TV, Radio, Print etc) will definitely not die....for print, its value as an advertising medium will only continue to be increasingly questioned….not just by marketers, agency execs and strategic/media planners but by creative people themselves. To grow, the Print medium will just have to provide increasingly innovative ways to integrate with other channels, particularly digital. The take-out from all of this? If they will survive, those in print need to realize that they are in the* content* business, not just in ‘print’

As for TV advertising, I see it still retaining commercial relevance in these parts, particularly for its entertainment value.

However, I have no doubts in my mind that these are extremely exciting times for mobile technology - Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, new developments are already taking off in the mobile advertising space.

Tomi Ogunlesi, a professional member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and MBA candidate at the Lagos Business School is a Strategic Planner at a leading marketing communications firm in Lagos. He is also an Alumnus of the Wits Business School, Johannesburg and the University of Cambridge – Judge Business School.

Mr Tomi Ogunlesi MBA

Bates Cosse

A consummate marketing communication professional with experience spanning diverse brand categories ranging between corporate, FMCG, financial services and aviation, among others. A member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM, UK) He is also an alumnus of both Vega, the Brand communications school and the Wits Business School Product Strategy & Brand Management Programme. He is currently a brand strategist at Bates Lagos, where he works as Brand Manager responsible for Segment and Product marketing for a leading African Financial services brand. He is also presently an MBA candidate at the Lagos Business School.