Africa’s mobile revolution has been the subject of much discussion for businesses looking to target the continent’s growing consumer population using mobile phones. That does not however mean you can just have some form of mobile presence and watch the cash roll in.
In Africa the most effective marketing tool is the mobile as it reaches the broadest market. In South Africa alone there are around eight-million people accessing the internet via laptop or PC but the balance use their cellphones. There is also a whole generation who will probably skip laptops or PCs entirely and will only know mobile internet. And South Africa is just the tip of the African iceberg.
As mobile phone usage is so high (and increasing daily) in the African market, companies need to realise that understanding your target market is key when it comes to effective advertising. Although smartphone usage is growing with Chinese manufacturers introducing cheaper devices, the feature phone is predominately used. As such, if you are selling Starbucks coffees you are likely to be targeting a particular LSM (Living Standards Measure) so a smartphone app wouldn’t work.
But for Coca-Cola or other companies that want a broad reach, you should use a less sophisticated means of technology such as SMSes and Wap sites – a very basic mobile site that can be accessed on a phone is ideal.
To ensure your mobile marketing campaigns produce effective results within this market, I suggest adopting three simple strategies:
- Offer a reward or prize — whether it is a free ringtone or airtime, consumers want to know what they will get in return for engaging with you.
- Provide instant gratification — Consumers want a quick responses when entering a competition. You can’t promise rewards further down the line, they need to know whether they have won something as soon as possible.
- Offer consumers information — The hunger for information in Africa is enormous. People want the serious stuff like education or training courses, but also the lighter things like entertainment and lifestyle information.
If you get these elements right you will find the holy grail of mobile marketing which is actual customer engagement. Particularly as a business in Africa, ensuring you have established that engagement effectively through mobile is vital.