Smartphone. Picture: ISTOCK
Smartphone. Picture: ISTOCK

Global mobile marketing trends tend to provide predictions for developed economies rather than for emerging economies, warns Candice Goodman, MD at Mobitainment and the Direct Marketing Association of SA’s direct marketer of 2016.

She stresses that smart phones are not “the be all and end all”, particularly in emerging markets. This is not only because of device penetration, but also because coverage and cost remain problematic. Ultimately, coverage is about the availability of Wi-Fi and 3G. SA is making a good effort in increasing initiatives to provide free Wi-Fi to customers, along with various business models to support the monetisation of these models, Goodman says. Initiatives such as #freewififorall is one such example.

However, the cost of data remains a constraining factor when it comes to the use of smart phones and the Internet, particularly in SA’s poorer communities. Goodman reveals that though many people own smart phones, they don’t use them as much as expected due to the continued high cost of data. She points out that in an emerging market such as SA apps should include unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) on feature phones, and not only the visual and function-rich smart phone apps commonly utilised in developed markets. This is because USSD provides utility through text-based functionality rather than requiring sophisticated user interfaces. Apps are about the value they can bring the consumer and not just about showing how technically advanced a brand is, so the target market must be kept in mind at all times.

“My big tip for 2017 is what I call ‘hyper personalisation’ or individualisation of the customer journey and touch points, enabled through digital technology,” Goodman says. Chat bots (a computer programme designed to simulate conversation with human users over the Internet) will play a significant role in facilitating personal conversation with visitors to websites and in helping them navigate websites and answer their questions intuitively. Chat bots will do the same for call centres, she says.

Personalised video is another trend Goodman says should be watched: allowing marketers to create and deliver concise and unique videos personalised for individual consumers. In this way, highly complex information can be explained in a captivating manner, and can be viewed on any Internet-enabled device.

Goodman adds that data-driven insights will use Big Data to help brands learn about their customers on an ongoing basis, improving when, where and how they communicate with them to provide individualised experiences.

The big take-out: MD at Mobitainment, Candice Goodman, considers localised trends that are expected to affect the mobile industry this year.

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