by Marco Veremis, CEO with Upstream
As smartphone usage continues to grow at an exponential rate, reaching global consumers via their devices is becoming increasingly important for major brands and businesses. While this is somewhat commonplace in the West & North America, sights are now set on the emerging markets, where the number of mobile connexions is expected to make a significant leap over the next few years. In fact, by 2017 Ovum expects China, India, and Indonesia, to have 3 billion mobile connexions between them. here i’m going to discuss why I think that mobile is such an integral marketing channel in developing regions.
Accounting for and responding to different mobile markets, each at different levels of maturity, can prove to be quite a challenge.
“Taking time to consider the best format, frequency and channel across each market will help”
Where digital advertising and marketing developed markets is established, how should brands approach a new audience in emerging markets?
Mapping the differences
As people in emerging markets go straight to the mobile Internet – leapfrogging devices such as desktop PCs – these types of devices are becoming less and less of a luxury item.
The mobile device has become a multifunctional and essential device to consumers in such markets.
As a result, a great appetite for mobile marketing exists, given that mobiles are often the only mechanism that consumers can learn about new products, services and mobile content.
At the same time, making an impact with American and Western consumers is proving increasingly difficult for brands and advertisers, who are inundated with marketing messages across all digital channels.
To illustrate this point, the average Westerner is served over 1,700 mobile banner ads per month (according to comScore).
An independent poll we (at Upstream) conducted with YouGov last year of 2,054 UK and 2105 US adults, found that the majority of consumers in the West feel they are reaching a marketing saturation point.
Indeed, two thirds (66 per cent) of adults in the UK and USA say they receive too many promotions and exposed to too many adverts.
Specifically, most UK consumers (67 per cent) typically prefer to be targeted once a month or less by brands.
Whilst no UK consumers like to be targeted more than once a day, 2 per cent of US consumers believe this to be acceptable.
In contrast, results from our Upstream Emerging Markets Mobile Attitudes report we published this year, which polled the views of 3,670 consumers across Brazil, India, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, found that consumers are very open to mobile advertising.
For example, over two thirds (68 per cent) said that they are happy to receive promotions from brands on a weekly basis.
A further one in five are happy to receive advertising daily and up to 7 per cent of consumers would be open to receiving promotional material more than once a day.
Our research reveals that Western consumers are agnostic about which channels they use to respond to and engage with brands and their marketing messages.
The important point to note for marketers in the West is to avoid advertising bombardment, after two-thirds of respondents stated that they would unsubscribe from a brand’s promotions if they thought the messages they were receiving were too frequent.
However, around a quarter of UK and US consumers would be more likely respond to promotional messages tailored to their interests.
Similarly, 21 per cent in both countries would be more inclined to respond if the message was contextually relevant to what they were doing.
In essence, the data indicates that ensuring marketing messages are relevant, succinct and engaging should be at the crux of any digital marketing campaign.
Yet in emerging markets, SMS marketing is identified as the most welcomed format, with 51 per cent of wanting to receive promotional messages in this way.
An additional 26 per cent would like to receive SMS promotions as long as the message is relevant to their location, while 19 per cent would like to receive SMS marketing messages when they receive ‘top-up’ credit confirmations.
The research shows that email marketing is also set for success in these markets, with 43 per cent of emerging market consumers happy to receive promotions in this way.
However, even a small number (6 per cent) would never want to receive marketing messages via their mobile devices.
The world is not flat
As mobile advertising continues to boom globally, adopting different strategies to reach different consumers across the world is critical.
Understanding the nuances across each region will help ensure that messages are not sent too frequently and are received in the format which best encourages a response.
Ultimately taking time to consider the best format, frequency and channel across each market will help guarantee success and conversion.
- Indian consumers are most likely to trust promotions sent from a mobile operator (35 per cent)
- 72 per cent of Indian consumers are happy for brands to send promotional messages to their phone once a week
Marco Veremis is Upstream’s CEO and co-founder of Upstream. As an experienced marketing strategist at leading advertising agencies Grey Advertising; McCann-Ericsson and DDB in London, Marco developed global and Pan-European communications strategies for brands such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Sony and SmithKline Beecham. Marco holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and International Studies from Warwick University and a Master’s in European Studies from Oxford U