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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 08, 2016

Expert: No smartphone? No problem

On a global basis, brands need to be able to share content across not only online platforms, but across devices. However, with so many consumers in emerging markets and without access to the lastest iOS or Android devices, many brands are unsure how to connect. One expert offers a few tips.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What is the role of local content in the rise of streaming video services in diverse markets?

Marco Veremis, CEO, Upstream: While American consumers can be hesitant to interact with companies on their mobile devices, 90 percent of Nigerian respondents actually prefer to interact with companies directly on their mobile phones. In addition to transforming the actual interaction process, brands must adapt content across different consumer markets, as language and interests change with different areas. Netflix has been one of the few major digital brands to understand the importance of providing culturally relevant content, as seen when executives announced plans to release Bollywood content ahead of its launch in India. However, this initiative is still a work in progress as American subscribers enjoy around six times as much content compared to viewers in other countries.

Kristina: What does the popularity of streaming media in emerging markets mean for brands?

Marco: Where pay-as-you-go was once the default, we're seeing a major shift towards subscriptions and streaming media. The subscription-based model creates a stronger bond between buyers and sellers, encouraging ongoing, loyal relationships with customers. With users in emerging markets vying for content on a regular basis at a lower overall cost, streaming subscription models work extremely well. We're finding that emerging market consumers are looking for quality content at a cost that matches their budget so by providing a solution to this brands can vastly expand their businesses.

Kristina: How can companies share content with consumers who still use basic feature phones?

Marco: It's crucial that companies not ignore the consumers who use feature phones. In fact, feature phones have been largely responsible for driving growth in mobile phone adoption in India, increasing 25 percent in Q3 2015. By 2019, 350 million non-smartphones will still be sold - a large sum that brands shouldn't miss out on.

First, brands must adapt their strategy and develop content and services that are device agnostic and able to reach consumers despite the technology limitations that exist in emerging markets of low bandwidth and limited device compatibility. Mobile operators offer over 20 different marketing channels including traditional SMS, SIM Toolkit to IVR, many of which can be used for brands to interact with feature phone users.

Second, companies need to know what content consumers are interested in. While feature phone owners can't stream videos on their devices, they are still eager to access interesting and useful content. Consumers in emerging markets actually are demanding for more health service and education content in addition to the social media and retail apps that developed markets prefer.

The key to sharing content and interacting through feature phones is to keep the process simple for the user. To maximize engagement with consumers brands need to optimize the content they share with consumers via differentiated combinations of audiences, channels, messaging and marketing set-ups consumers in each market prefer.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: mobile marketing, mobile marketing tips, mobile strategy, Upstream

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