What makes EMEA the world’s most exciting mobile market? Interview with Paul Berney, managing director, MMA EMEA
With 119 different nations and innumerable different languages, religions, cultures and standards of living, there’s only one thing that unifies the distinct populations of Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA). That is the mobile phone. 1.35 billion people in this region have a mobile phone. You can’t say the same about PC or TV. The diversity of region has led to the mobile channel being used in very different, though equally innovative ways by companies that wish to engage their customers via mobile.
In the third in a series of Q&As with the Mobile Marketing Association regional bosses, mobiThinking catches up with the MMA’s EMEA managing director and chief marketing officer Paul Berney.
• Also get the Asia Pacific perspective from Rohit Dadwal, MD Asia Pacific, MMA.
• Also get the North American perspective from Michael Becker, MD, North America, MMA.
• The annual MMA Forum conference comes to London on October 4-5, 2011 (mobiThinking readers receive a 10 percent discount for this event using the code MMAF/mobiThinking10).
Q1. What makes EMEA the most exciting mobile market in the world?
The greatest things about mobile in EMEA region has to be the diversity and innovation. Every imaginable type of mobile marketing is being put into practice as marketers strive to find the most effective mobile mix to engage customers in each country, from the mass-market mobile-messaging campaigns in Africa right across the spectrum to the smartphone-led campaigns beloved by marketers in Western Europe.
The diversity in the marketplace stems from the wide-ranging cultural, political, technological and socio-economic differences. You just have to look at last year’s MMA Awards to see the prowess of the region’s mobile marketers, with three out of the five campaigns that won the top “Global Winner” awards, coming from EMEA (See the mrpricemoney.mobi video case study below). Some of the world’s most innovative operators from a mobile marketing perspective are found here, such as Turkcell, which has helped so many brands in Turkey engage consumers via mobile, and Vodacom in South Africa. Many international brands – such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, P&G, Kraft and Adidas – have found that mobile is a very effective way to engage consumers across the region.
One of the reasons the level of creativity is so high in EMEA is that brands and marketers are starting to understand and appreciate the value of thinking about mobile from the start of a campaign.
Mobile is rapidly establishing itself as the most effective channel for reaching consumers – this is evident in all EMEA countries I’ve visited and is also backed by research.
• A survey by Dynamic Logic of almost 70,000 people showed that 22 percent of respondents were aware of a mobile ad they’d seen and 5.4 percent had intended to purchase based on the ad. While online ad awareness was just 4 percent, and purchase intent was 1 percent.
• A survey by the MMA and Lightspeed Research found that adding a mobile to TV, print, outdoor or online advertising increased the likelihood that consumers would respond – finding that 25 percent of European consumers would be more likely to respond to an ad that included a response cue, such as texting a shortcode or visiting a mobile site.
MMA Awards Global winner Best Use of Mobile Marketing – Relationship Building Mr Price Group for mrpricemoney.mobi
Q2. What makes mobile such an excellent channel for brands to engage EMEA consumers?
Mobile is the most direct and personal channel available to any brand or marketer. Mobile-thought leader Tomi Ahonen quoting Nokia stats says that we look at our phones 150 times per day on average. Phones are continually changing the ways in which we carry out personal communication. They are changing the ways in which people engage with brands by giving each consumer a level of control over how, who and when they interact. This is the same all around the world.
Nowhere in EMEA is the importance of mobile more clearly illustrated than in developing countries in Africa and Eastern Europe, where mobile is becoming the first screen – the first mass media – that people interact with. Marketers in Western Europe have an array of mass media channels – print, outdoor, radio, cinema, TV and online – to communicate with consumers; but in developing economies, consumers are more likely to have access to a mobile than any other mass media. The proliferation of messaging-based mobile campaigns and services in developing countries shows that companies are wise to the opportunities of this channel. It is heartening to see the dramatic, life-transforming effect across all industries in Africa, particularly, where mobile messaging is revolutionizing everything – farming, education, health and financial services. The impact of mobile is only going to increase as Web-enabled handsets become more widely available – it is only a matter of time before people will have their first interaction with the Internet via a phone, bypassing the PC altogether.
Q3. What are the latest stats for mobile subscriptions, mobile Web, m-commerce, mobile marketing et cetera?
At the end of 2010, there were 1,356 million subscribers in EMEA, with 349 million mobile broadband subscriptions (25.7 percent), according to the ITU. In the Western Europe, mobile Web penetration is higher, for example in the UK mobileSQUARED
[http://www.mobilesquared.co.uk/news/Mobile+internet+usage+peaks+with+35-44+year+olds_75] predicts there will be 30 million people accessing the mobile Web by the end of 2011, about 48 percent of the population.
Gartner estimates that the mobile advertising market in Europe will be worth US $569.3 million in 2011, about 17 percent of worldwide expenditure.
Q4. What are the main differences – and similarities – between the EMEA mobile market and a) North America; b) Asia; c) Latin America?
The diverse nature of EMEA means that different areas have similarities with different areas of the world – but is important to note that every market should be treated differently based on the different local social, economic, political and cultural outlooks.
The level of smartphone adoption in Western Europe makes it similar to North America and the more developed countries in APAC, though unlike North America, the European smartphone market is dominated by Nokia. ComScore surveys suggest that smartphone penetration in Western Europe is 38 percent, with Nokia still dominating. Smartphones enable marketers to introduce more sophisticated campaigns using rich media and contextually relevant information, such as location. Some European marketers have focused their mobile marketing on this niche smartphone audience, sometimes neglecting the larger feature phone audience.
Western Europe – like North America – continues to take its lead from Japan when it comes to mobile innovation. Both QR codes (barcodes that hyperlink to a mobile site) and near-field communications (touch-and-go mobile payments) have been mainstream in Japan for years, but have only recently been introduced in Europe.
Throughout Eastern Europe and Africa, virtually all handsets are feature phones. This means that, in common with developing nations in Asia and LATAM, mobile messaging is the dominant way to reach consumers. The lack of advanced handsets has not held back mobile innovation at all in the developing world. Safaricom’s M-PESA in Kenya and Orange Money in Mali use mobile messaging to bring financial services to millions of people without bank accounts. Similar services are revolutionizing financial services in the Philippines and other Asian nations.
Q6. Is it a mistake for a global brand to assume that what works with Asian, North or Latin American mobile audience would also work in EMEA?
It would be a mistake not to take the learning points from other markets. The challenge for marketers is to take examples from other regions and implement them successfully within their country, taking into account the local cultural, political, technological and socio-economic conditions. In my view, this is one of the key skills that defines a really good marketer – the ability to take something, learn from it and adapt it to their own markets.
This is one of the reasons that the MMA was established – to help educate marketers by sharing best practice case studies from around the world. This is why, if you look at the agenda for the MMA Forum London, you will see speakers from all sorts of companies from all over the world.
Q7. And what distinguishes each of the EMEA regions – Europe, Middle East and Africa – from a mobile perspective?
Western Europe is typically far more advanced in terms of the phones and devices they have, with many moving onto tablets or mobile connected e-readers, laptops and notebooks. Eastern Europe is bypassing third-generation (3G) technology in many cases and jumping straight into fourth-generation (4G) networks such as LTE, though most people will be using feature phones rather than smartphones for the foreseeable future. Africa is also mostly feature phone based.
Q8. Which EMEA countries are at the cutting edge of mobile? How come?
Arguably Turkey has the greatest and widest adoption of mobile marketing by brands of any country in EMEA. There is huge acceptance of the value of mobile marketing among consumers. This ecosystem has been facilitated by the proactive and innovativeness of the operators, led by Turkcell. For example, the ring-back tone – now one of the most successful forms of mobile marketing – was pioneered in Turkey.
I recommend finding out more about what is happening in Turkey from , Ozgur Kolukfaki marketing director, Unilever and the co-chair of MMA Turkey, who is speaking at the MMA Forum in London.
The UK perhaps holds the greatest potential for mobile marketing, as smartphone adoption is slightly higher here than other European countries, according to ComScore. Also consumers appear to be genuinely interested and excited about engaging with brands and participating in mobile shopping.
• South Africa
South Africa is one of the most creative countries for mobile marketing. South Africa’s three Global Award winners at the last year’s MMA Awards proves the point. The level of innovation and energy is amazing. South Africa has both large-scale mobile marketing success stories like the millions of ads served through Please Call Me messages on the Vodacom network and smaller-scale innovation like the multi-language direct-response campaigns for Surf Pick-a-box.
Kenya stands out because of the success of Safaricom’s M-PESA, which provides an array of mobile banking services to 14 million people. I expect Kenya to become one of the first countries where mobile becomes the first screen for consumers.
Q9. What companies have had the most success with mobile marketing in EMEA? What are they doing?
It is impossible to list all the companies that have enjoyed success across the region, as so many different brands have been successful in different countries. Some of these are global brands some are local. Picking a few mobile success stories from the speakers at the MMA Forum London – BBC, BMO Financial Group, Debenhams Retail PLC, Dorling Kindersley, Mahou-San Miguel, Marks & Spencer, The Coca-Cola Company, The Economist, Best Cheese Company/Lactalis and Unilever.
Q10. What case studies stand out particularly?
Again a difficult question, but my current favorite live campaign comes from Garanti Bank in Turkey. This is a campaign run by Turkcell and Rabarba, a leading agency that combines online with mobile. The campaign focused on account holders at Garanti Bank who hadn't taken out online banking. Using the database (all of whom had accepted to receive information from the bank), the customer received an email with a link to a video news story. The news story focused on the last person in world without online banking, then as the report goes to a live interview, the customer’s phone rings and he is asked why he hasn’t signed up to Internet banking. The ultimate question asks will they sign up – yes or no? If yes, voice recognition software triggers a follow-up email. 21 percent of those who interacted subsequently signed up for online banking.
Q11. What are the most popular mobile sites? Are many local, regional or multinational?
The most popular sites are not available across EMEA, but for the UK, according to ComScore these are Facebook, Google, Yahoo, AccuWeather, Microsoft, BBC, Vodafone, Samsung, Orange and eBay. Social media taking up the top slots is no surprise, as mobile is one of the key ways in which consumers are accessing these sites. We would always expect to find news, search and communication sites hitting the top on mobile.
Q12. Which are the most prominent creative agencies, mobile agencies and ad networks?
Well you know – let me refer you back to mobiThinking's guides to ad networks, mobile agencies and Top 10 mobiThinkers, just look how many of these come from EMEA and are also MMA members. That is NOT a coincidence!
Q13. What are the major hurdles to exploiting the mobile channel in EMEA?
While great strides have been made and there is great enthusiasm for mobile, education still remains key. In order for mobile to become a permanent part of the marketing mix, there is still a requirement for us to educate brands and agencies about the full scope and potential for mobile. It is clear we need to help grow the understanding of what we mean by mobile marketing, how it works, how it can help brands to engage with consumers and many other points. The huge positive I see is that since I joined the MMA, marketers have moved from asking me “why?” to asking “how and what?”
These are questions the MMA is absolutely best placed to answer on a neutral, international basis. Through accessing the knowledge of over 750 members, the MMA can create the most comprehensive training programs yet developed in the industry.
In addition to providing training in everything from the basics to in-depth knowledge on individual subject areas, the MMA is developing a Certification program to allow people to validate their learning and be recognized by their peers for their expertise. MMA certification will be the only recognized, globally accepted qualification for mobile marketing.
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• Get the Asia Pacific perspective from Rohit Dadwal, MD Asia Pacific, MMA.
• Get the North American perspective from Michael Becker, MD, North America, MMA.
• The annual MMA Forum conference comes to London on November 17, 2011 (mobiThinking readers receive a 10 percent discount for this event using the code MMAF/mobiThinking10).
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