The cellphone is the most ubiquitous communication device on the continent and yet some South African companies are still slow to embrace the power of mobile marketing. If they’re looking for examples of how effective – not to mention cheap – mobile marketing can be at getting consumers to answer the call of their brand, they need look no further than the work being done by Strike Media, a Cape Town-based mobile media marketing company. The company’s short code SMS and mobile internet campaigns are getting noticed for their high hit-rate, powerful messaging and ability to gather customer information.
Hitting the sweet spot
A recent campaign for a well-known cider brand is just one example. It generated 680 000 SMSs, which equated to an equivalent number of bottles sold, and 89 000 unique cell numbers. CEO, Russel Stromin, talks about what made the campaign so successful: “The brand wanted us to help them increase sales and build a database of their customers so that they could market directly to them in future. We ran a competition where the prize was a luxury cruise and people had to SMS a unique number under the bottle cap to enter. The prize they won improved the more SMSs they sent – for example if they sent one SMS they would go on a cruise and stay in a basic berth, but if for example they sent four SMSs and they won, they’d get to take four friends and stay in the best suite onboard.”
The idea worked wonders and gave the brand the opportunity to get permission from customers for future communication. This is particularly useful at a time when the alcoholic beverage industry is anticipating legislation that will restrict their marketing in a similar way to the tobacco industry years ago. “Mobile marketing provides them with a chance to change the way they reach customers and harness the power of direct, opt-in, one-to-one messaging,” says Stromin.
Getting customers to call you
Strike Media has also been very successful in getting delinquent debtors to pay up. The Association of Debt Recovery Agents (Adra) turned their outbound call centre into an inbound call centre, thanks to the work that Strike Media’s SMS campaign did in getting debtors to call their debt collectors, instead of the other way around. “We enabled them to send long SMSs with lots of information with details of what they owed and who to call if they didn’t want to be blacklisted. The instant nature of SMS, and the fact that it’s a medium that’s not typically ignored, means the debtors would phone in to arrange payment, or use the info in the SMS to pay on their own,” says Stromin. Research shows that 90% of SMSs are read within 15 seconds of being sent, unlike emails and letters. Adra president, Arnold Olivier, describes SMS as “the perfect tool” enabling debt collectors to contact hundreds of people in a reliable and cost-effective way.
But while SMS is highly effective, Stromin is quick to point out that it’s only one medium in the mobile marketers toolbox. “What we’re really excited about is the work we are doing in the mobile internet space. Almost everyone in this country has a mobile phone and this has given millions of people, who don’t have a computer, access to the internet,” he says. Research shows there are more people browsing the internet on cellphones than there are on PCs. As broadband access becomes cheaper and handsets become more sophisticated, this group will continue to grow. “The new consumer has their phone with them all the time, which means they can access your mobisite wherever they are. So if you’re running an SMS campaign and you don’t have a link in the SMS to your mobisite, you’re really missing a trick,” says Stromin. With mobile as the seventh media fast becoming a mainstream marketing channel, companies that don’t capitalise on mobile technologies to interact with their customers will quickly get left behind.
Stromin sees it as Strike Media’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Players Russel Stromin
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