As I rub my Nokia N95, I get on my knees and make three wishes...
"Nokia N95, can I market to my customers directly to their personal phones?"
"YES, you can," blurts back N95 in its polyphonic tone.
"The cellular phone is changing the media landscape and the way marketers reach the consumer.
"The cellphone is South Africa's new media (well, the Internet was, but thanks to Telkom and some 'great' telecommunication regulations South Africa is way behind the rest of the broadband world. In fact, it could be said that South Africa is a developing country when it comes to being a player in the world of broadband Internet.) But thanks to the cellular networks building a world-class, high-speed wireless data network and then being so bold to offer the cheapest access in the world for it, as of the beginning of this year more South Africans will experience the Internet on a cellular phone than any other device.
"Is that incredible, or, with 43 million cellular subscribers, is it what would one expect?
"The cellular handset is not only a phone but also a TV, email, Internet, radio, camera, GPS... it is all the traditional media and more bundled into one device."
"So," continues the N95, "I grant you your first wish. Yes. you can access your customers on their cellphones and, yes, you can make use of multimedia to deliver the same message that all the rest of the media can offer like video, animation, images, text and audio.
"Now for your second wish... "
"Well... um... I would really like to run a marketing campaign and get accurate statistics on who is reading my adverts, and when? Am I am asking a bit much here?"
"Not at all," says the N95, "when you send an MMS (a multimedia SMS) you can also measure both when a person receives the message AND when they read it - in real time. So consider that your second wish granted."
"Great... now for my third wish I am really going to challenge you, N95. I would like to make my message viral so when people receive it and they like what I have to offer, they can easily forward it on to all their friends. Is that too much to ask, N95?"
"Bah! That's easy, in fact I will even go one better...
"Provided you have incentives that suit the consumer (mobile consumer profiling makes it easier to match the right incentive with the right consumer), the MMS can be forwarded with a simple click to anyone in your address book.
"Now here is where I go one better - if you have a call to action for the consumer to visit your MobiSite (cellular internet page), then we can even estimate how many people read the viral message, beyond your customer base."
As my N95 starts to ring, it parts with music to my ears, "Come back next week and I will grant you many, many more cellular marketing wishes."
Brett St Clair is a mobile multimedia expert who has spent 14 years implementing mobile multimedia delivery solutions to mobile operators across the globe. Recently he set up mobile media agency MobiOne (www.mobione.co.za), of which he is director, to help brands make the transition to the cellular phone. Contact Brett on cell +27 (0)83 981 6343 or email him at .
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