The common thread across campaigns, is mobile

By katpotgieter, 12 June, 2013

 - An interview with Nicholas Haralambous Interview post IMC Conference - 

The Integrated Marketing Communication (@IMCConference) Conference’s first key speaker on Monday morning earlier this week was Nicholas Haralambous (@nicharry), Mobile Entrepreneur and GM of Lodestone Mobile Consulting.

For those of you active on Instagram or who attended NetProphet (@netprophetlive), will also be familiar with If this still doesn’t ring any bell, maybe you’ve heard of Motribe, the 2010 Silicon Cape mobile community start-up that was sold to Mxit at the beginning of October last year? Haralambous, along with Vincent Maher, co-founded Motribe.

“Mobile isn’t a channel, it’s a thread”, was the angle of Haralambous’ address. Mobile is not simply a single channel that we can dip in-and-out of occasionally, says Haralambous. It should be approached as the most important part of all effective campaigns (be these PR, marketing or adveristing) and should be used as a common thread running through all aspect of such campaigns.

As a digital marketer, I had a few questions for Haralambous after his address. His answers proved both interesting and instructive.

Why are marketers/advertisers so slow on the adoption of mobile-centric campaigns if mobile is as pervasive as you say it is (we have all heard about the pervasive influence and reach of mobile)? Haralambous responded:

 “I think there's a "cool" factor that's missing. Many mobile campaigns don't look as sexy as a great looking website or TV advert. Clients are often inspired by look and feel, sight and sound and a lot of the time mobile doesn't provide this wow factor.”

He continued by explaining that it's a matter of delayed gratification, too. You have to spend money to get into the mobile arena, then spend a bit more money promoting that fact, then spend a bit more money to continue your push and then after all of that reap the benefits. It's a long terms investment not a short term burst.” 

I think many smaller companies are often wary of mobile and spending money on its development for their brand. Which resources can marketers/advertisers use to study to present a convincing argument to their CEO to increase the budget for mobile spend?

 “World Wide Worx - a local research firm - provides a decent report, but one that comes at quite a hefty price. For more accessible data, head over to Opera Mini and look for their report. InMobi has data on their website that people can view freely. Lastly there is a wealth of information available at MobiThinking's website.”

As you know, different sets of data can tell different stories. What are the best tools out there for measuring mobile usage, besides Google Analytics? 

 “In my previous companies we simply built the tracking and analytics ourselves. Google battles with lower end device tracking and analytics so the truth is it's quite tough to pick and off-the-shelf solution and make it really work in an African context.”

You spoke of the iPhone as the "Silver Bullet" of the mobile market in SA ​and the accompanying blinkered mindset (akin to 'kick-ass' advertising campaigns) as standing in the way of brands connecting meaningfully via a relevant thread with a broader customer base. How do you think one can proceed to unhinge and change this thought paradigm?

 “Slow and steady education and a healthy understanding of the available technology that works for the relevant markets. That's all it comes down to; simple and straightforward stuff. Education and knowledge.”

Can you please share some thoughts on the unsaid rules ('best practice', if you like) of "front door" communications in relation to a) social media, b) SMS and c) email?

 “There really is one rule of thumb that I think brands, agencies and marketers need to think of: would XYZ campaign irritate me or feel unwelcome if I received it?

If your answer is yes, then it's spam. 

Going by the law, the simple truth is that the user needs to have opted in twice to receive the message according to the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ACT) Act in South Africa. If they have opted in twice, then you are able to message them provided you give them the ability to unsubscribe.”





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