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"Content, context and customer proclivity" will be the mantra that drives this year's marketing metamorphosis in the arena of mobile technology. I believe that we will see a year of repositioning - of un-automate, de-campaign and game-play - but also of tighten, regulate and measure. In short, 2013 will see the 'mobile moth' turn into a butterfly.
'Death by automation' is very real
Mr Email will become more sniper and less blunderbuss; the outbound 'sausage-machine' email marketing won't feed the sales funnel this year. The opening rate on unsolicited emails is about 15% - and trending lower. So, start to allocate resources, with the instruction to create product interest and consumer conversations to generate inbound messaging traffic.
The social/mobile intersect
The combination of Facebook/SMS/Twitter/Pinterest creates a strange media animal that will have your customers doing your advertising; they will make 'posts' delivering your messages or images and your strategy needs to develop skills here. So, start thinking differently. Reward social posts with digital vouchers, for instance, and run competition entries aligned to brand images posted on the internet.
TV vs YouTube
The 3rd largest provider of TV content in the UK is YouTube, and mobile video viewership is advancing at a rate slightly ahead of broadband development - with huge opportunity. So, develop short, punchy, 15-second video content for the small screen and run it in mobile banner ads and roll backs.
Cut the boring long-term marketing and go for short-term, predictive, reactive infotainment, using topical advertising that demands the viewer's attention. Mobile dominates real-time marketing because it is personal and specific: if you flight a hotdog ad during a game, someone may get up and buy one (campaign), but if you deliver a voucher to his phone (personal) 10 minutes after the game (specific), while he is walking past your store, he is all yours.
Social-Local Mobile is exploding. Use Social to get your message out; Mobile to attract people who are Local; and Mobile and Social to pull in Local friends.
Opt-in over opt-out
'You're in until you opt-out' will cost you money in 2013. So, ask for opt-ins. Be specific about what people are opting into and then don't overstep your permissions. (Latest in the US: US$1bn class action suit for spam SMS. Valuation? US$500 per SMS sent.)
Real mobile ROI
Mobile is less about page visits and exit points and more about real results. Clicking the 'call now' button on a mobisite logs the direct inbound messaging generated by the ad, while the hits on your mobisite's store location map indicate the 'walk-ins' generated by the ad. Social media interaction initiated on a mobisite measures how many people are promoting your product.
In 2013, we'll hear more about dynamic data analysis and data-adapted content as context becomes increasingly important in any inbound marketing strategy. Dynamic content enables marketers to predict behaviour and serve highly personalised messages to the right audience at the right time. So, content, context and customer's proclivities (know thy customer) should generate inbound messaging.
Mobile vouchers, loyalty systems, NFC and QR codes
"SA has never been into vouchers..."? Really? Make it relevant, make it easy and then hold onto your hat! Deliver personally-focused value to my handset and I'll be in your store or on your mobisite if you deliver. Vouchers, loyalty points, NFC and QR codes are all tools in mobile marketing and you need to start using them.
Brands will develop games with point rewards for achievement, as well as the ability to challenge other players for prizes. The brand awareness is huge and scores can be Facebooked and tweeted to attract non-gamers. Which brand are you going to support: the one that entertains and offers you a benefit or the other one - 'whatsitsnameagain?'
A picture worth R1000
Increasing broadband will allow for mobile visual marketing that creates shopper familiarity with a brand. Whether this is driven by the brand to your handset or by individuals on media such as Pinterest, expect to see a lot more brand visuals in 2013. Apps such as Snapchat allow a sender to determine the period for which an image is viewable: 'Show [this voucher] to the cashier in the next 20 minutes to receive...' creates real pressure not to miss out!
Showrooming on the rise
Brick retailers need to combat online price comparisons in their stores by using the same tech to leverage their position. Some US retailers offer in-store scanning that allows shoppers to check out and bag their purchases. Others, such as Starbucks, facilitate mobile ordering and payment for their frequent customers and reward them for using it. So, retailers can start with mobile vouchers, special offers, shopping services, free delivery and loyalty points to combat the online discounters. But don't turn the lights off - offer free Wi-Fi in your store and track who your real competitors are.
The mobile fingerprint
Phones are on the verge of being wallets (Standard Bank has recently announced NFC credit cards) and soon they will be keys, health consultants and maybe even ID.
Embrace the challenge. Earn some stripes. Turn your mobile moth into a butterfly.
Kevin Bassett, a mobile communications specialist, is the founder and CEO of Floodgate Communications (2004). Floodgate (www.floodgate.co.za) specialises in mobile communication strategies that deliver solutions for marketing and advertising, corporate internal communications, call centres and customer queries. Call Kevin on cell +27 (0)82 652 0530, email , follow @KevBassett and @FloodgateComms on Twitter or SMS kevin to 34007 (R2), and he'll call you right back.
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