Fulfiling the promise of mobile marketing

Fulfiling the promise of mobile marketing2013 will be the year mobile marketing comes of age in South Africa, says Thumbtribe co-founder Graeme Haley.

March 5, 2013

Fulfiling the promise of mobile marketing2013 will be the year mobile marketing comes of age in South Africa, says Thumbtribe co-founder Graeme Haley, thanks to the “game-changing” WiCode technology platform from WiGroup.

“In the past everyone has got very excited about mobile, but the promise has seldom been fulfilled,” says Haley, who co-founded Thumbtribe in 2003. “People got drowned in the stats of who owned what handsets and how many consumers you could reach – but it’s been hard to translate that into real value.”

Part of the problem has been how to make good use of all the data generated from a mobile campaign, he says. “You can run an SMS competition to build a database of consumers – but most of them just want the prize. That’s box-ticking, not real brand engagement. What are you going to do with that expensive database afterwards? How are you going to make it useful?”

Haley says Thumbtribe has focussed on building a “check-in to check-out” ecosystem so that brand managers can actually tell whether their campaigns are selling more product. “WiCode has introduced the final piece of the puzzle, which is what happens at the till. Now you can not only get the eyeballs and entice people into stores, but also track what they are actually buying. That’s the real game changer.”

The challenge now is to develop campaigns that offer real value to consumers as well as brands, adds Haley. “Brands want to deliver relevance, not just spam,” he says. “The more detailed the profile you are able to build, the more finely you can craft your offer.”

As a result, he says, “this year is going to be all about how we mine the data. We have the opportunity now to get really creative about how we encourage and reward users. The platform allows a continuous relationship where brands can offer an incentive, reward people for taking it up and keep them interacting.”

“What’s interesting about the way WiGroup has put their platform together is that they’re open to all devices,” he adds. “Internationally everyone is hung up on smartphones, but in South Africa and Africa you need to cater to everything from smartphone apps through the mobile web to SMS and USSD. Agencies haven’t always understood that – there are only smartphones on their boardroom tables – but the awareness is growing.”

“I expect to see lots of really interesting campaigns coming out this year,” predicts Haley. “This is going to revolutionise the way people interact not just with mobile, but with digital across the board.”