Some readers of this blog would have seen the series of fairly new Telkom television adverts. It basically shows a bunch of young people being amazed by the lack of technological savvy displayed by some older people when it comes to online awareness. The kids all laugh when an old guy asks “don’t you go to the mall anymore?”. The implication is that your future customers are all shopping online. The company’s use of the medium of television is ironic, of course, but that fact clearly escaped their marketing department.
The Telkom ads are pretty good, I must say. They’re rare entertaining gems in a very predictable TV ad world. However, one wonders whether the conclusion is a bit overdone – are all the kids really not going to the mall anymore? Of course they are. A visit to any mall around South Africa will reveal an assortment of top-end hoodies and entry-level cellphones en masse.
What’s interesting is that in many cases what got the kids to the mall with its brick and mortar retailers is mobile marketing – proving, once again, that traditional marketing and mobile marketing really do complement each other very nicely. Brands should worry less about the split between traditional and mobile and focus instead of their overall bottom lines.
What got me thinking about all of this was an article this week about a very clued-up someone called Mary Meeker from a certain venture capital fund called Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. She had conducted an ‘exhaustive study’ on Internet trends and presented the findings at a conference in Silicon Valley – findings that have major implications for US retailers but which are certain to be relevant here in the next few years.
Internet sales in the U.S. have steadily increased since 2000, but are still just about 10% of total retail sales. However, Meeker believes that mobile ads will continue to grow—by tens of billions of dollars— in the near future as more people use their smartphones to buy things and services. For example, mobile marketing spending in the US is just 12% of ad outlays and yet consumers there spend 25% of their time on mobile devices. These findings are food for thought indeed for the local market!