Most of us understand mobile marketing to mean, simply, marketing conducted on a mobile device. If we wanted to delve a little deeper, we could look at how marketing professor Andreas Kaplan defines mobile marketing. According to him, mobile marketing is as “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”.
The key here is ‘ubiquitous’ and ‘constantly-connected’. One cannot run an effective mobile marketing campaign when consumers are experiencing patchy connectivity, or deliberately limiting their mobile voice and data connectivity because they find it expensive. Connectivity needs to be fast and always-on for mobile consumers to be able to interact with USSD menus, respond quickly to coupons, and more.
This brings me to Wi-Fi connectivity and the mobile consumer. In South Africa, many of us have come to view Wi-Fi as a secondary type of mobile connection option that’s used mostly when it’s offered for free at restaurants, conferences and a few other limited public places. In many places in the rest of the world, Wi-Fi is in fact the consumer’s first choice of mobile connection. This is why, for example, Wi-Fi-enabled tablets are more popular in the US than the 3G and Wi-Fi-enabled tablets South African consumers have to buy.
Today, there’s a renewed push for greater roll-out of Wi-Fi hotspots in South Africa and it’s being led by the Wi-Fi Forum of SA. In particular, the Forum is trying to get South Africans to buy into the concept of the ‘heterogenous network’ which is simply a nationwide mobile network using small cell networks such as Wi-Fi overlaid with 3G, LTE, etc. So various types of mobile connectivity will complement and switch between each other and deliver a seamless and affordable mobile experience that can only be good for the mobile marketing industry. Hopefully, it’ll catch on!