For all the acres of news coverage on the rising mobile medium, myths still persist around the hottest marketer’s tool since the 1976 advent of television in South Africa. Perhaps the biggest mobile-related myth out there is that mobile still isn’t ubiquitous. Let’s begin mobile myth-busting!
Those of us who have spent more than a few years in the corporate ICT world will know that ‘ubiquitous’ is easily one of the most over-used words ever. While that’s certainly true, what’s also true is that in 2015 mobile IS ubiquitous! And this means marketers can be assured of, for all intents and purposes, 100% campaign reach when using the mobile medium.
It’s no accident that, for example, one of the most recent retail loyalty programmes to launch – by Spar – uses the customer’s mobile phone to register via a USSD command. It’s quite a thing for a major mass market retailer to imply that virtually every one of its customers must have a cellphone. And Spar is not alone. When combined with web functionality, we find the mobile phone being used to receive One Time Passwords (OTPs) when paying TV licences, transacting with Internet Banking, and more.
In fact, according to accepted wisdom in the cellular industry, mobile penetration is now 130%. So we’re no longer talking about a mobile phone in the hands of every consumer, we’re now at a place where there are 1.3 phones in the hands of every consumer. In addition, dual SIM handsets are becoming very popular, especially at the lower end of the market.
We need to change some marketers’ mindsets that say the mobile phone can be a part of a marketing campaign, but it can never be the central element of the campaign because print, radio and television must still lead. To borrow a phrase from the medium they’re still erroneously glued to, that’s crazy talk! Perhaps a reason why some leading marketers still refuse to accept that as many people have mobile phones as have identity documents is because the people making the campaign decisions now were just starting out in business when the mobile phone was a novelty. They’re stuck with a mindset from 20 years ago that says only yuppies (remember them?) have cellphones.
There’s nothing wrong with having a frame of reference based on past experience. I still think Chappies are (or should be) one cent! However, it should be updated once in a while or else we risk losing relevance and there’s everything wrong with a brand becoming irrelevant because it doesn’t know where its customers are.