I do about 20 public speaking events every year and regularly speak on all six inhabited continents. I get to see most of the 'usual suspect' speakers and companies on a regular basis and know most of their stories. I also follow the industry with a passion and try to keep abreast of the developments, especially where they relate to industry innovations in mobile, and the statistics relating to this business. As I tend to know most of the stories that I've seen just in the previous few weeks at previous conferences, for me, a typical conference may yield one or two good tidbits or cases or stats, that I will find so useful in my work, that I end up creating slides about them and speak about them in my upcoming events or workshops.
The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) events are famous for very high quality speakers of very innovative brands and companies in the mobile marketing area. I've done MMA events on several continents and even done a keynote to the MMA Global event in New York City, so I kind of knew what to expect when I landed in Singapore this week. I knew that mobile is very high growth area here in Asia where I live here in Hong Kong. And I've observed that the advertising and marketing industry has recently jumped into mobile with both feet. Trusting that the wild and wacky (some would say crazy) mAd men of Madison Avenue are now bringing their best creativity to mobile as the newest (ie 7th) mass medium, the most inventive, creative, innovative and magical space of mobile, in 2011, is definitely the advertising and marketing side of mobile media.
Thus I had high hopes for the MMA event in Singapore. The biggest growth region of the strongest growth industry on the planet, and of that, its most vibrant and creative sector. Boy was I surprised. This was so much more than I could have imagined. It was by far the most astonishing event I have ever attended in over 250 public speakerships over two decades. Just read this blog and see how much creativity, how much innovation, how many factual actual stats and case studies and real world results were reported. There is so much material, that I could well write a whole book out of just the stories told at this MMA Asia Forum of 2011 in Singapore.
TRYING TO BE FAIR
Now, it was a two-day event, I was called into some press interviews so I could not see all speakers. We had two streams for part of the event, so I missed some speakers. And on Day 1 the event had severe WiFi connectivity problems and many heavy Twitter users lost a lot of time being disconnected and attempting to re-connect, so my Day 1 coverage is far weaker than that for Day 2. I have tried to collect quotes and observations from the Twitter streams to supplement my own notes.
I have tried to keep the order roughly in the sequence the speakers first spoke, but as several were seen more than once (gave presentation and sat on panel, for example), I have tried to collect all statements by any one speaker, into just one paragraph by that speaker which somewhat messes up the pure chronological order, but I think for the random reader of this blog, it makes more sense to see all statements by one speaker in one section of this blog rather than sprinkled all around it. But with that, lets go to the stories.
START DAY 1
Greg Stuart the new CEO of the MMA, opened the event and pointed out that: "Asia is the heart and soul of mobile. There is more innovation and excitement about mobile here than anywhere else." How prophetic considering the event. I ask you the reader to consider any event you ever attended, and did you learn this much new as I did at the MMA event this week.
UNILEVER BIG INTO MOBILE
Next up was Rahul Welde VP Media Asia for Unilever. Unilever is one of those cryptic brands for me that is difficult to pin down, which toothpaste is their brand, which deodorant, which detergent, which ice cream, etc. But as he spoke, the audience heard several of the world's most famous mobile ad campaigns. One of my faves currently is the Virtual Wake-up Girl campaign in Japan by Axe the deodorant brand. (I only didn't know it was a Unilever brand). He also showed that the concept works in other markets not as advanced as Japan, where the wake-up is only as a sexy voice service.
What was new to me was what I believe is the first successful mobile social network that is brand-specific. Pond's Dream Girl is a youth social network on mobile, set up by Unilever in Indonesia. Rahul also talked of how mobile is used to teach consumers to brush their teeth twice per day in many emerging world markets using celebrities like sports stars in India teaching their kids to brush twice. And in less developed markets, SMS messages to receive airtime credits is a good campaign method, as Unilever uses in Africa with contests on Omo detergent packages rewarded with airtime credits.
My keynote was next. I will not cover it here (I have it at the end of this blog) because regular readers of this blog, and my Twitter followers will tend to know most of the stats and cases I mentioned.
Next up was Naveen Tewari, the CEO of inMobi who gave us many good stats. For example in Asia, consumers from age 18 to 64 prefer to shop via mobile than via web. Only older than 65 year olds prefer web over mobile. More amazingly, 80% of Asian mobile users are also mobile shoppers. Somewhere here, possibly it was inMobi but might have been some other speaker, showed a good slide (but my picture has the branding of the slide obscured), which said that 61% of consumers wont return to a website they tried to access on mobile that was not easy to get to (ouch). 40% said they'd then proceed to a rival's mobile website (ouch-ouch). And 19% would consider it a negative impact on the owner brand of the website, if the mobile site is not easy to access on a mobile phone (triple-ouch!). (Tomi comment - as so many pointed out during the MMA Forum, most people who surf the mobile web do NOT have smartphones today, most use featurephones and there are many - especially in the Emerging World countries - who do so on very simple crude old second-hand WAP phones. Test your mobile website for simple phone use! Remember 'No phone left behind' and do not fall for the iSyndrome here..).
Andrew Knott Chief Digital Officer of Euro RSCG quoted Eric Schmidt: more content is produced every 3 days today, than in the entire history of humanity up to year 2003. He also pointed out that while the world had a recession past two years, there was no consumer recession in the use of mobile
Anuj Kumar the Executive Director of Affle showed us a campaign in India using a cricket sporting athlete to star in Maruti Suzuki campaign, with SMS and IVR (Interactive Voice Response). (Tomi comment, in India and many markets where illiteracy is still a major issue, voice-oriented services are still a big growth opportunity)
CHERRYPICKS OF HONG KONG
Then we heard from Jason Chiu the CEO of Cherrypicks in Hong Kong. He showcased several exciting campaigns, I didn't catch all details but a few: First, another superb Japanese invention by D2C and one of my current fave stories of how magical AR Augmented Reality can be, is the the iButterfly AR butterflies of Japan. They exist locally, each is regionally unique and obviously only seen through a mobile phone when hunting for the iButterflies. This service is now coming to Hong Kong (so cool! I will have to collect a few to show when I travel elsewhere). The marketing side is, that each butterfly carries coupon by a sponsor, to reward its capture. Then Jason talked of the Hennessy location-based 'stamp' collector, where virtual stamps would be collected at bars serving Hennessy. He showed a cool AR drinks mixing guide based on codese embedded on coasters in bars and pubs.
64% SAVING IN VISITOR AQUISITION COSTS
After all that AR and science fiction-ish futures stuff, what did Jason Chiu of Hong Kong, a country of high smartphone penetration, say about mobile marketing today? "SMS and MMS are still best channels to reach mobile consumers". He then showed their award-winning campaign for the Hong Kong Trade Dev't Council (who runs congress center and conferences, Hong Kong is a major global congress hub with massive events here for anything from say toys to watches to telecoms). The campaign was designed to lure visitors to the Congress Center by offering free passes to conferences. The campaign started with incoming visitors to Hong Kong, by targeting them at the Hong Kong International Airport, with targeted visitors from 31 countries, based on their phone number (international country code prefix). The campaign also offered passes based on the location for those who approached the Congress Center. And for domestic Hong Kong residents, the campaign targeted segmented users, such as owners of Blackberries. The campaign was extremely successful, going now into its third year. They have achieved a 64% savings in congress visitor aquisition costs.
MAGIC OF AR 3D EYE GLASSES
I was totally blown away with Jason's last example. As part of working with the trade conferences, his company has the opportunity sometimes to do some showcase mobile solutions. For the eye glasses and sunglasses congress, Cherrypicks designed what many at the MMA Asia Forum thought was the coolest campaign yet seen, an Augmented Reality eye-glasses tester - which worked in 3D! So its not just like all previous AR samplers we have seen, that only let you 'overlay' that T-shirt over your body. You cannot turn your body sideways and let that virtual T-shirt turn with you. It stays flat, 2D in front of you no matter how you spin your body. Not with this cool 3D eye-glasses AR tester. You use your cameraphone to take a picture of yourself, you position that face to a specific set-up on the screen. Then you pick your glasses, and they appear 'overlayed' on your face, like any AR solution. Except now, if you pivot your head turning left or right, the 3D eye-glasses will twist with your head, so you see the side-view of your face with the glasses! This is magical (and shows how much AR is the bleeding edge of innovation in mobile today)
MY PANEL - ALL SAY mAD WILL DOUBLE THIS YEAR AGAIN
My panel was on the topic of the Brand's View on the Potential for Mobile Advertising and Marketing. We had three brands in the consumer space, represented by Danilo J Mojica II, Director of Wireless Consumer Division at Smart of Philippines, Aditya Save, Head Media of Marico in India; and Victor Hernandez Luhan of Unilever out of Singapore. Daniel pointed out that he was a schitzophrenic brand on the panel, as Smart being the biggest mobile operator/carrier of the Philippines, was both a consumer brand and a mobile advertising media channel. Marico is like Unilever, a FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) company out of India.
I was not able to take many notes but jotted down a few, and gathered a few comments also from Twitter commentary on the panel. Perhaps the most telling point of these big brand owners in three Asian markets, was what they said about their mobile ad spend. Bearing in mind that the global mAd market doubled last year, each of Smart, Marico and Unilever said when I asked point-blank, how will their mobile ad spend grow this year. All said it will either double, or grow by more than double this year.
Some quotes. Victor of Unilever - In Asia, mobile is more important than digital. Danilo of Smart: the best of mobile advertising is not yet out there (ie not invented yet). Aditya of Marico - India has more mobiles than TV and PC added together. Danilo of Smart: mobile will challenge legacy media. Victor of Unilever: Mobile is becoming centerpiece of many marketing campaigns, not just the periphery. Victor of Unilever: focus today in Asia is on featurephones, not smartphone
The panel agreed that now the main task is to figure out what consumers want from you not what you want to give them. We also talked of pricacy and all supported opt-in permission based marketing activities. I reminded the audience of the MMA's long-running efforts to promote permission based marketing and that the MMA has issued guidelines about it. I also mentioned the books by Tony Fish (My Digital Footprint) and by Ajit Jaokar, Alan Moore et al (Social Media Marketing). And yes, while regular readers and my followers on Twitter know how negative I am about the smartphone apps economic viability today, I said it at the MMA event in public, that inspite of the big growth in SMS, MMS etc today, smartphone apps will be relevant everywhere this decade, all marketers will need to master the use of apps in brand mobile marketing strategies.
SMS IS NOW READ WITHIN 3 MINUTES
Avtansh Sharma of Alcatel-Lucent/Optism told us that 90% of SMS are read within 3 minutes. For context, that stat was 4 minutes two years ago, and 5 minutes in the middle of the past decade. Wow.
MORE COOL SPEAKERS
Joshua Maa CEO of Madhouse - told of the China market, which is immense and diverse. China has 900M mobile subscribers, 300M mobile internet users - and 340 mobile phone handset brands (ie Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Apple.. thats four!) with over 7400 individual phone models (most markets have between 1,000 and 2,000 individual phone models in use). Also before you think the iPhone iOS app store is the only thing going, China alone has over 30 app stores! Joshua then showed us the Pepsi Music case study from China with a 'Battle of Bands' united 3 screens TV, web, mobile - and had 83,000 players joining.
Aman Narain of Global Head of Remote Banking for Standard Chartered Bank told us of the new language of digital marketing today. The language has words such as: Follow, Like, Check-in, Share (haha, sounds like 'Communities Dominate' to me..)
Hannu Verkasalo CEO of Zokem: apart from voice, SMS and MMS are the most engaging features of mobile in terms of reach, frequency and engagement. Adult oriented apps not popular, probably need bigger screen. Zokem measurements found that iPhones have 9 apps vs Android devices with 8 vs Blackberry with 3
My very dear friend Madanmohan Rao the Author and guru had a very insightful presentation just as I struggled with my WiFi connections and I missed taking notes on most of it. One of his many pearls was a comparison of Asia. Asia is very varied. Mobile ads in Japan are AR, South Korea financial and games, Indonesia smartphones/blackberry and Twitter, China cosmetics, Hong Kong near field Octopus, Philippines SMS and remittance, India rural sports entertainemnt and education. I wish I had a chance to see his total presentation again, I missed so much more of it. Oh, and Madanmohan mentioned the 7th media concept recognizing me, thanks!
99.7% OF PLANET DOESN'T OWN A TABLET PC LIKE iPAD
Jeff Tennery Sr VP of Millenial Media: 8% of media consumption is mobile but only 0.5% of ad spend (which suggests mAd has a huge gap to close, and will grow strongly in years to come). He offered stats for ebay on mobile 2010: value $2B, double in 2011. And on the iPad and rivals, Jeff pointed out that 99.7% of planet does not own a tablet PC
MOBILE COUPON REDEMPTION FROM 5X TO 25X BETTER THAN PAPER
Ogi Redzig, VP Sales APAC for Navteq/Nokia - Ovi: 100M use Ovi maps daily. M-coupon redemption rates b/w 5%-25% vs paper coupon 1%
MORE AND MORE AND MORE
Chris Hobson COO of TxtEagle - to engage with next billion you need to use featurephones, we use talktime/airtime as as incentives
Patrick Mork CMO of GetJar has done 1.8B app downloads so far. in 2010 GetJar revenues $2.1B vs $1.7B on Apple
Firat Ertem Head of Marketing of Rabarba - Pepsi m-campaign with rich content - 2.9M users in Turkey. Pepsi ringback tone 12M calls, 3M uniques,
Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, the Founder of Bubu - Indonesia annual phone market 40M, 35% are local branded. Blackberry sells 4M units annually ie has 10% of total phone market - and Blackberry clones sell 16M, ie 4x more than genuine BB, and QWERTY phones form half of Indonesia handset market! Esia 'Islamic' phone - with prayer reminders, digital Quran, and embedded prayers, has sold 700,000 units. Also in Indonesia, 92% of Facebook users in Indonesia are thru mobile (is 2nd biggest country of FB users).
DAY 2 - COCA COLA SAYS SMS IS FIRST PRIORITY
Then a true bombshell announcement that was referenced by at least half of the following speakers. Gavin Mehrotra, Director of International Media for the Coca Cola Company, started his presentation stating categorically that "SMS is the number 1 priority at Coca Cola in mobile" and that you need it to reach just about every person on the planet. He later added that the mobile web is number 2, and smartphone apps are a distant number 3. Talk about shock and awe. The world's undisputed number one advertising brand, Coca Cola says categorically, SMS is priority number 1. Wow.
SMS INCREASED VENDING MACHINE SALES BY 14%
Gavin talked of Coca Cola's long involvement with SMS, as the world's first SMS vending machines were invented by Coke in Finland in 1999 (Tomi comment: actually it was even better than that, yes by Coke yes in Finland yes in the 1990s but not 1999, it was in 1998) and recently they launched Coke vending machines in Spain - increased vending machine sales by 14%, excellent in a mature market for soft drinks. SMS enabled mobile activation by Coke is still just scratching the surface of whats possible. Coke waits for 20% inflection point before going mass market. In Japan 1M vending machines, Coke m-payments and m-coupons increase frequency of use. In Japan Coke uses Mixi and Mobage Town for social networking on mobile in marketing. In Argentina AR use of coke bottle itself to manipulate avatar on PC screen.
Still, mobile ad spend by Coke globally is less than 1%. Coke finds that its mobile banners get 3% CTR. In Australia ran LBS campaign of 'find secrets' that were hidden in a mall, was a success. Gavin very kindly mentioned me and some of my stats referencing me first as 'the man with the hat'. And no doubt just to make me happy, he added a cool stat from a Coca Cola perspective to my collection: "Just about every person will have mobile in one hand. We hope they will have a Coke in the other hand." Gavin said there are 1.7B cokes served daily.
SOUTH KOREA IS DIGITAL CONVERGENCE
Sunyoung Lee CEO of Isobar of South Korea gave us some great examples of mobile marketing and digital convergence from South Korea. It is common in South Korea to use mobile phone as remote control such as car, home keys, lights, air conditioning etc. She showed a cool Chevrolet AR campaign in Korea - find one of the parked AR Chevys, get coupon by sponsoring brand like McDonalds. Then Sunyoung ended with what really sets South Korea apart from the rest of the world, the extent to which convergence has already happened there. She showed their integrated 'Family Board' on idle screen of flat panel TV, post content & control via phone ie pictures etc. Able to send to friends and family, ie let grandparents watch pix of kids on their TV in their home. Also replace black dead big screen with lively moody things like aquarium (feed the fish with mobile), etc or see what sky is like with stars above your home (even on cloudy day) etc. She said it was their mission to help consumers to create time, not just find time or kill time.
TURKEY PROBABLY EUROPE'S MOST ADVANCED mAD MARKET
Next up was Sinem Soydar, the Head of Mobile Advertising of Turkcell. 3G launched Turkey in 2009, today 31% of Turkish subscribers have 3G (wow! in just 2 years!) In 2010 Turkcell's mobile advertising unit ran 1,600 individual mAd campaigns for 353 brands in 50 industries. The unit, staffed by 22, delivered 56 million mobile marketing messages, and achieved 700 million mobile web impressions. Their mobile marketing reached 20 million mobile subscribers. And the most astonishing number, Turkcell has already built an opt-in permission-based database of 12.1 million customers! They incentivize their opt-in customers with rewards of airtime and 'jingle tones'.
SOLD OUT IN 20 MINUTES
Sinem gave several great examples of the uses of mobile media in its rich forms. Renault MMS campaign for tickets to car show. Sold out in 20 minutes. 7% response rate. Flo Shoes opt in SMS/MMS campaign 500K SMS, 400K MMS got 160K responses (20% response rate). Turkey has a lot of Ringback tone advertising similar to radio ads (won awards).
4M OPT-IN FOR PEPSI BRAND ALONE, JUST IN TURKEY
Turkcell offers several free media content ie m-magazines funded by ads: Weather, womens' healthcare, food, cooking, automobiles. Pepsi campaign with famed Turkish TV actor on SMS+RBT, get code from lid of Pepsi, send code of SMS, get airtime and messages from the actor. Pepsi theme ringback tone for free to those who replied, those RBT jingles heard by 4x bigger audience than responded to SMS. Pepsi also MMS with embedded video. cross-platform mobile+TV campaign got 75% participation rate. Achieved 4M opt in for Pepsi. Turkcell has an easy, active opt-out mechanism but under 1% churn out from opt-in database. Sinem said "The key to success is permission - then consumers see messages as offers, not ads."
MORE GREAT SPEAKERS
Joseph O'Konek CEO of CSL the Hong Kong mobile operator/carrier - HK has 186% penetration rate, 5.3M 3G subscriptions (to population of 7M). We are good friends with many of the speakers and Joseph and I go back many years speaking on many events together. So he knows me and my passion about stats, so he surprised me when he talked about penetration rates around the world, and asked me (out of the audience) if the CIS stat (Commonwealth of Independent States, ie the 'former Soviet Union' countries) stat is for real - they have the highest mobile phone penetration rate. I yelled out, yes, Ukraine, Russia etc have very high penetration rates and regionally yes, CIS is the global leader right now. Thanks Joseph, that was very nice of you to engage me from the audience. The next drinks are on me! He continued with the stats and industry facts telling that more people in Africa have mobile phones than have access to clean water. Complexity of mobile phones quadruppled in 5 years. Data used in the world in 2015 in one day, is same as was consumed in one month in 2010. And Joseph reminded the audience that "The way to reach everyone is SMS"
Rachel Ooi of Ericsson stated that ad spend follows eyeballs. Eyeballs are shifting to mobile.
Christian Cadeo Head of Mobile Google Asia - Admob now doing 60B impressions monthly, USA biggest, 1/3 from Asia. Mobile search doesn't cannibalize online search, are complementary. Bulk of m-search in Asia is from non-smartphones. And Christian gave a great one-liner bit of advice contrasting mobile web to fixed web. "when you design for mobile web, design for the thumb, not for the mouse."
COMMUNITIES DOMINATE EVEN IN MALAYSIA
Ranganathan Somanathan CEO of Starcom Medivest Malaysia - showed the 4 C's of mobile marketing (which is slightly modified from our "Flower Diagram" on the cover of the book Communities Dominate Brands, the signature book of this blog). He listed it as Currency, Conversation, Community, Content. We list them as Commerce (vs Currency), Communication (vs Conversation), Community and Content. But its essentially the same thing and good that this model is being promoted around the world...
BLYK - OUR INDUSTRY'S BIGGEST GURU, ANTTI OHRLING
Then we had a rare treat: Antti Ohrling the Chairman of Blyk. Antti is my personal grand guru to mobile advertising and marketing. I first saw him mesmerize an internal meeting of the biggest egos and hottest mid-managers when I was employed at Nokia and we had Antti present his views of what mobile would mean to media and advertising, about 11-12 years ago. I was literally the youngest and least influential of the hotshot execs in that exclusive meeting of Nokia's top executive talent, and like all others, we left that meeting with our brains aching, and fully congizant that Nokia was facing a revolution in media, led by that gadget in our pockets.
Antti remembers that meeting but obviously I was silent and he and I didn't meet at that time, so he didn't know until years later when we met, that I had been in that audience at Nokia HQ. But I am certain that Nokia's deep passion into pursuing a strategy of media on mobile, from N-Gage gaming and naming the N-Series the 'multimedia computer' to Comes with Music, Ovi, Navteq and maps - stems from that one earth-shattering internal meeting at Nokia. Antti was at that time the CEO of Finland's most award-winning digital agency, Contra and in very many ways, could be seen as the grandfather of mobile advertising and marketing worldwide, through especially his indirect influence of those who came and commercialized some of his early ideas.
But Antti didn't sit still. He joined with former Nokia President Pekka Ala-Pietila and the son of past Finnish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari, his son Marko Ahtisaari a very influential Nokia executive, to launch Blyk, the revolutionary mobile marketing channel and MVNO in the UK and expanding to many markets since. I have had many opportunities to sit with Antti over a good whisky and ponder the near future of mobile, marketing and media, and every time I leave the meeting with my head abuzz with new ideas and new views to the existing world. He is not just a giant, he is a genius in this industry. And we had the privilege of hearing him speak on insights into youth marketing in India (where Blyk recently launched). I could write a chapter just on the insights he shared. Let me try to do justice to the observations in this blog.
Antti told us that mobile is 1st medium in India and that by next year 1 out of every 5 mobile phone users in use in the world will be in India. Mobile messaging is a youth medium. Blyk in India launched 5 months ago on Aircel, and have 1 million paid youth users today on SMS and MMS. (and I have to stop right here. Just to see the context, the Blyk concept is so potent, they reached 1 million users on mobile in less than half a year. In a USA context, its equivalent to 400,000 youth audience! Ask any youth media if that is astonishing. Take the UK or France or Italy, the scale is 100,000 in less than half a year. Compare this to say circulation of youth magazines or audience of youth TV shows or listeners to youth radio channels. But yes, sorry, lets get back to Antti's words.
I loved this anecdote. Antti said "5 years ago when I spoke in the USA about SMS, they hated it. Today Coca Cola says SMS is first priority." (regular readers of my writing know I had the same experience at a conference in Florida ten years ago, US mobile media audiences HATED hearing a European talk about SMS. They thought SMS would never succeed in America). Yes yes, lets get back to more Antti:
1 MILLION YOUTH AVERAGE 25% RESPONSE RATES ON BLYK
Antti told us that the youth of same age around world are more similar to each other, than they are to people of other ages within their country. Its not who they are, or where they are, its what they are up to, today. (youth change their preferences and activities so fast that) all info on youth of past is obsolete. Blyk offers relevant messages, sends 6 per day, not same messages. for ads on Blyk in India to 1M users, get average response rate of 25% (ie 125x better than online CTR). "we engage youth in dialog, to find out what they think are top cool and relevant brands in India".
A Blyk survey of 25K India youth found top brands of choice - top 6 are Levi's Facebook and Jockey, Reebok, Adidas, Nike. What makes brand cool to youth? 4 things in this order (in India): 1 value for money, 2 make me cool, 3 cool friends use them and 4 cool ads. What if parents start to use brand, will it still be cool - 80% (in India) said yes, only 20% said no. If you could wish for anything what would you want - 17% job/career, 16% happiness/world peace; 33% love/romance.
YOUTH WANT TO BE LISTENED TO, TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY
Then on Blyk's philosopy, it is open marketing where consumers co-create marketing experience. As he is prone to do, Antti again quoted our Alan Moore 'We embrace what we create'. When you start to see the youth as brand ambassadors and product developers, they become your most effective marketing asset. Asking via SMS is a simple way of engaging with young people on mobile. "What do youth want most of all? To have their opinion count. So listen to them." Involve them; product development is marketing. Let them get involved. Look at Blackberry and how youth taught RIM that the formerly business-smartphone is also suited for youth chat, rather than RIM deciding to expand its non-funky, non-cool, non-game-non-music boring non-colorful Blackberry, to the youth segment. It was the youth who taught RIM management, not the other way around. RIM openly acknowledges this, they were utterly astonished by youth adoption of the BB in many Asian markets. And after seeing more than a decade of creativity and innovation in the mobile marketing space, this is what Antti advised the audience: "We need more innovation even more today in the mobile marketing industry."
(One last observation. Blyk has said many times it was designed based on principles from our book Communities Dominate Brands, and it is the first new company built as a 7th mass media pure mobile media company. It is the first 'baby' born of our book with Alan Moore and we are both immensely proud of our little contribution to this huge success. Now we see ever more those lessons spreading and more companies thriving in this space. But for me, to see that Blyk manages to capture a million youth in India in just five months, years after the first Blyk launch in the UK, and still true to all those principles we outlined in our book and on this blog for the past 6 years, it truly makes my heart sing. Thank you Antti for sharing those thoughts with the MMA Asia Forum and my very best congratulations to the Blyk team in India and the rest of Asia).
MAXIS OF MALAYSIA
We are not even nearly done with the event. Next up was Heather Wee, Head of New Media of Maxis. And echoing the Coca Cola keynote, Heather said that "Mobile marketing in Malaysia is all about messaging, SMS and MMS." Needs to be relevant, targeted, opt in. Less than 10% of phones in Malaysia smartphones but double annually. Smartphone users consume 5x more than 3G dumbphones, and 10x more than 2G dumbphones. "I was so happy to hear Coca Cola also say their nr 1 priority is SMS" (was worried she'd be out of touch somehow in an industry of apps and AR etc). Heather advised the audience that "Any brand can embark on their digital strategy through SMS. SMS is trusted, has to be opt in, permission based. SMS works." And that brands need to be careful not to spam or annoy customers, "you don't get a second chance to make first impression" (she kindly mentions me and our discussion at lunch about incentives).
25% OF TOTAL SUBSCRIBER BASE ACCEPTED OPT-IN ADS IN 10 MONTHS
Heather spoke a lot about their opt-in database and the results are uplifting. In just 10 months they achieved 2.9M opt in subs with OutThere Media and it is currently the biggest opt in subscriber base of any operator/carrier in Asia. They give rewards in airtime credits and free messages. (Tomi comment - the number is about 25% of Maxis total subscriber base - achieved in less than a year! Don't think opt-in is impossible!).
Heather also shares dome numbers with us from Maxis. Some campaigns get 50% response rates on Maxis. Nokia N8 campaign got 47%. Comparing SMS/MMS to mobile web banners - Heather told us that Maxis banners get 5% CTR. Heather's top 5 tips: engage with customers, keep it simple, keep it fresh, incentivize and tie with other media.
CONQUER CHINA WITH VIRTUAL FLAGS
Joseph Tsang the GM of Icon Mobile showed us North Face China campaign race to conquer China, plant VR North Face red flags in China, claim any place as yours, the first to plant the flag, gets it. Your apartment building, your school, the bridge near your home, and then in true North Face philosophy, get the audience to go seek the adventures, who climbs that hill first, who swims to that island in the middle of the river, etc. Plant the first flag, its yours. A big map of China was at the North Face flagship stores and visible on the web and on mobile phones where you could see the red flags as they started to populate places in China. 651K flags in 18 days.
MOBILE RESULTED IN 106% INCREASE IN SALES WORTH $2M
Was this successful? You betcha! 106% increase in sales (each planted flag gave a coupon for North Face goods at their stores). 300% ROI. 15M RMB in new sales (abt $2M) mainly through 2 flagship stores in Shanghai and Beijing. Joseph reminded us that mobile is only device that can engage anywhere at any time. Mobile should be integrated, not done alone.
SILLY STATS MOMENT (BY NOKIA NO LESS)
Chris Schaumann Head of Online Sales & Marketing of Nokia SouthEast Asia-Pacific gave an interesting prediction that "more people are expected to use the internet via mobiles than via PCs in 2014". What annoyed the statistically minded amongst us was of course that someone from Nokia should not be making such a 'prediction' after the Nokia (then) CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said already back in 2010 that the majority of the world's internet access IS on mobile (has been since 2009). Chris should have known this but is perhaps forgiven, as he joined Nokia after OPK had famously made that statement. But also, it is quite unforgivable for a Nokia exec not to know that, as Asia was the first region where this trend was observed and Asia has had majority of internet access from mobile rather than PC for four years already. Tsk-tsk, Chris, please check up on your numbers and especially, don't go contradicting past Nokia execs with 'obsolete' stats..
Dilip Mistry, Head of Mobile Advertising for Microsoft - MS earns $2B-$3B annually from advertising
Sandy Monteiro, President of Universal Music SouthEast Asia - Mobile is the most important platform for music. Music industry has more info on its consumers than ever before because of mobile. And Sandy offered us a great rule of thum - the motto of brilliant ad should not be 'have you seen this ad' it should be 'have you seen this'
MOBILE OPTIMIZED WEBSITE GREW SALES BY 125%
Ronnie Liew, Sr Technical Director of R/GA Singapore - consumers are buying jewelry on mobile from Tiffany's mobile website. When they made mobile optimized website (vs same on both PC & mobile) increased conversion rate on mobile by 125%. Ronnie also showed a very smart, simple, AR based running shoe-tester for Converse. You point your cameraphone down when you stand, then the AR shoe appears replacing your shoe. Clever, simple, powerful. Ronnie added "If you don't change, everything will change anyway, you will be the one who has to step back, or be left behind."
STILL MORE SPEAKERS
Sonya Madeira of Globe the mobile operator/carrier of the Philippines - HSBC credit card campaign on SMS, MMS and m-web - more credit card sales, 15% signed up for credit card, call centre prepared for 800 calls per day, was utterly swamped receiving twice that, 1,600 calls per day. Globe has 23M subs. Sonya pointed out that "Very different skills needed for mobile marketing done via SMS, these skills are not found in traditional ad agencies." Its not 1 to 1 marketing, its 1 to 1 million. "its not a profile, its a person. Focus on relationships"
Jojit Alcazar, Head of Mobile Advertising at Smart (the national rival celco to Globe also in the Philippines) echoing the same themes as Sonya "SMS usage should focus on keeping customers engaged." (our Alan Moore would be so proud). Tactical promos need to evolve into longer campaigns. Mobile should be part of campaign (with other media)
PITCH SHOOT-OUT: GREEN BILLING, WEBCAMS, AR CAR ROBBERS
There was an interesting new mobile service shoot-out, each innovative company who was selected to this final, had 6 minutes, were allowed no powerpoints, and had to demo their solution on a phone, with the phone screen projected to a big screen. Not surprisingly there were several location-based services that I think are mere modern copycats of 10 year old concepts from Japan, so I wont' bother to mention those here on this long blog. But we did see several very innovative and creative examples. Nigel Hembrow of Greenpost - smartphone app - put your bills onto converged mobile & web service, no more killing trees. Cool 'green' solution. Varun Arora of Go To Camera - very simple monitoring via webcams and mobile, ie monitor your pets, kids, grandparents, office etc. Also includes smart motion detector.
CAR-JACKING VIRTUALLY IN AUGMENTED REALITY
And to show the AR space is so hot, Anders Fardigh of Monterosa Sweden showed their case for promotion of the Mini. The ran a 'Mini car-jacking' campaign in Stockholm. The concept - find out who has the AR Mini now, go grab it from that person. When your phone is near enough, you get it, then run away with it. The last person to have the Mini wins the real car.
OUT THERE MEDIA
I left the event to catch my plane, just as Kerstin Trikalitis of OutThere Media was about to chair her panel. But I want to make this mention here as a preview - occasionally on this blog we have singled out some fresh new companies that are truly amazing, that you have to keep your eyes on, that seem to be destined to be huge. Companies (or services) like Admob, Blyk, Flirtomatic, Angry Birds, Layar etc. There is a new one now to add to your radar, this is another game-changer company: OutThere Media. They do permission based mobile marketing on SMS and MMS, and already support millions of subscribers from Europe to Asia and launching in the USA. Maxis for example at this event kindly mentioned OutThere Media as their provider. This is a rare company that truly understands how to deliver satisfaction and engagement through mobile, with averages in those astronomical spheres, of 25% to 35% to 45% response rates, yes across millions of consumers in all markets, over thousands of campaigns for all major advertising brands. Kerstin is a dear friend of mine and I've kind of had part of my eye on their company since the very early moves with Tomato Plus out of Croatia. Now I can say, this is one of the hottest strongest young new companies for the 7th mass medium, and if you're a telco, book a meeting with them now. If you're an advertiser, don't go for banner ads, if available, get your ads on the networks using OutThere Media and messaging, and get far more satisfied customers.
I know that as she moderated a panel, Kerstin didn't get a chance to talk very much about her own company and the successes they are having. But she shared some numbers with me already at the event during a break, and promised to send me some more shortly. I will be doing a separate blog about OutThere Media, but for all who read this blog, that is now a new hot company to monitor, they are likely going to be huge very soon.
Finally we had great observations and comments from several MMA execs. Michael Becker MD MMA North America: 47% of Americans get news on mobile. Kaiser Health saved $275K in no-shows by SMS reminder service. In Turkey SMS signature is accepted as legally binding digital signature in contracts. Also Michael spoke of the "Evolution of mobile marketing from SMS to... SMS."
Greg Stuart the CEO of the MMA - internet has remade business models, brands, careers. Mobile is now doing the same
Rohit Dadwal MD of MMA Asia Pacific said 'people are same everywhere: they want honesty, respect and integrity.' 'Permission and Privacy have been key words at the conference today' and 'There comes a time in an emerging industry when everybody speaks the same language: that time is now in mobile marketing.'
And on Twitter. One of my tweets that was very widely retweeted was the one where I remarked that it was bound to happen, but now I've seen it - one US based speaker actually claimed that Steve Jobs had invented the smartphone. And a funny line from Twitter, @andrewknott1 tweeted 'perhaps unsurprisingly there are a lot of Finnish accents'.
For those interested, my keynote on Day 1 was entitled: Mobile Advertising: A View of the World. I showed examples outside of Asia, stats and cases built around the 8 unique abilities of mobile as a mass media channel (Only mobile is Personal, Always carried, Permanently connected, Payment channel, Accurate audience measurement, At point of creative impulse, Captures social context, Enables Augmented Reality). I showed the Nokia stat we look at phone 150x per day ie once every 6.5 minutes of every waking hour. I shared the Jeffrey Hazlett of Kodak observation that mobile phones replaced photographs as the only things we'd run into a burning building to save.
As usual, I sprinkled my presentation with stats (and SMS). I mentioned the Retrovo study that 10% of UK youth think its ok to send SMS while having sex. An Ipsos/Google study of US consumers finding 70% of smartphone owners use the phones in stores while shopping. I showed the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) latest stats from the US newspaper industry that daily newspapers have circulation of 34 million, and contrasted that with the ComScore measurement that 118.5 million Americans consume news on a phone, ie news on a phone is consumed by 3.5 bigger audience than total newspaper circulation, which is also bigger than US online consumption of news which is 105 million Americans according to the Newspaper Association of Ameria. (and the biggest media channel to deliver news on mobile - even in America, even in this time of the iPhone and Android smartphones ... is.... yes... SMS!) I gave the latest count of how much Kenya's GDP has shifted to SMS based mobile payments - 30% this March according to Grameen Foundation. I showed the m-education stats from South Africa where Nokia and MXit developed math exercises for high school students together with school books publisher Maskew Miller Longman, and mobile phone math practise helped boost math scores of the students who took part, by 14%. And I showed the Young and Rubicam cheeky rule of thumb for creating mobile services - that at any point in time when consuming mobile services, of the audience, 10% is watching TV, or 10% is in the dark, or 10% are nearly asleep, or 10% are drunk (or any combination of the above on a good night some weekend). The stats got a lot of attention and were widely retweeted.
The main point of my keynote was the case examples from around the world and I expressly did not show Asian examples to the Asian MMA Forum, knowing most other speakers would cover those. So I showed some of my current favorites from the rest of the world, where we have had recent innovations in mobile marketing. I mentioned Adidas's simple SMS campaign on Mobinil's network in Egypt using Alcatel-Lucent's new Optism platform - that reached an audience of 200,000 and achieved a 35% response rate. I showed the Nivea intelligent sun screen bottle and SMS integration from Finland, where the system uses location info and real time weather to know how sunny or cloudy it is at your beach, and sends you an alert via SMS to your phone when it is time to put on a shirt. I showed the USA example by Daffy's 'Window Dressing/Undressing' case of the clothing store where passers-by were invited to send SMS instructions to two models who would try on different clothes. They would need to strip down to underwear to be able to put on the next outfit of course. The female and male models attracted 1,500 SMS messages in a 3 hour period, including marriage proposals.
I showed the do-it-yourself postage stamps idea from Germany that has already spread to Sweden and Denmark (receive a unique alpha-numeric code to your phone, order and pay via premium SMS). And I showed the TextMyFood example from America which lets restaurant patrons send their orders and request their bill, directly via SMS. I showed how far Finnair's mobile check-in solution by Book-It has evolved now using the new powerful interactive variant of SMS, called iSMS and allowing Finnair to upsell its unsold business class seat inventory in real time while the economy class registered Finnair frequent fliers are in the airport, being processed through security etc. I showed how Flirtomatic of the UK uses advertising inside a social networking service in an innovative way with the use of the Flirt Bomb (sending 25 flirt requests generated by Flirtomatic, to suitable mates for you, ie girl flirters to boys, etc) at the cost of 3 UK pounds per burst, guaranteed to get you many new friends instantly. And I showed the Augmented Reality toy car version of the Ford C-Max that you can 'hold in your hand' and play with, such as open doors etc, all through AR. I added the news that Ford became the first major global brand to state categorically just a few months ago, that they will make mobile central to every ad campaign they run in the world.
The last case as usual, I showed something that seems like magic. I showed the Tesco (UK supermarket chain) shopping list, which lets users generate their shopping list via the phone. Tesco's will then re-arrange that shopping list based on which store you are going to (or in already) and re-organize the list based on the order of the items in the aisles of that shop. This is magical to the consumer and saves a lot of time. Meanwhile I showed the brilliant, near devious mobile advertising dimension now open to Tesco. They can now get permission from shoppers asking if they want relevant coupons for discounts and offers, which are only applicable to what you buy - and who doesn't want this? Then Tesco will know that Mr Ahonen, who regularly buys Pepsi, is in Tesco store number 86, approaching aisle 4 where the soft drinks are (and that I have Pepsi on my current shopping list) and asks Coca Cola if it wants to serve a Tesco customer in store 86 who has 'Pepsi' on the shopping list, a targeted ad of "2 for 1" of Coca Cola. All this while making me happy as a customer, selling the ad to Coke making thus more profit for Tesco, and not losing sales (in fact if I redeem the coupon, Tesco sells 2 bottles of Coke rather than 1 of Pepsi, so Tesco gains in its sales as well) and all the while, Tesco never reveals my name or phone number to Coke, so it protects my identity.
This is the future of advertising, and I pointed out, the Tesco shopping list solution is the first time in the economic history of humankinds, that we have solved 'Wannamaker's Riddle' the famed ad man who famously said 'I know that half of my advertising is wasted, but I don't know which half.' Now we know. Through such innovations as this Tesco shopping guide, we know exactly when a consumer is at the point of making a brand choice, and we can influence that very exact point, with no wasted advertising effort.
I find it hard to summarize this event, there was so much, so very very much. But yes, perhaps the biggest bomb news is that Coca Cola says SMS is priority 1 and mobile web is ahead of the apps today. We saw regularly statistics that mobile copies of the web such as banner ads easily do 10x better. But that is under-delivering on the true potential. When done properly and intelligently, using 'engagement marketing' methods, with opt-in and targeted offers, now thousands of campaings reaching millions do 100x better than web advertising, and yes, achieve 25% to 45% to 50% response rates. That mobile optimized websites increase sales by 100%, that mobile campaigns will achieve cost savings of 50% or more and have returns on investment easily in the 300% ranges. Many of the most astonishing futuristic concepts are now built around Augmented Reality (like the 3D sunglasses in Hong Kong and iButterflies from Japan) and virtual reality (like the virtual flag-planting in China and the Mini virtual car-stealing game out of Sweden) but even very simple campaigns on SMS, MMS, IVR, RBT and voice can yield massive results. Yet many of the biggest gurus and experts said you've seen nothing yet, we are only at the beginning of a journey into the amazing. Mobile advertising will double again this year, what will the Asia MMA Forum look like next year?
That was the MMA Asia Forum in Singapore, according to my notes. It was the most fact-filled, case-loaded, stats-supported, event of the biggest brands, biggest names and true influencers of the mobile marketing industry. Everyone I talked to, felt they had learned massively from attending the event. I also want to thank in particular the most prolific live tweeters whose tweets contained many of the exact quotations and stats that I mention in the above. My very dear friends Madanmohan Rao the author (tweeting as @madanrao ) and Susanna Hasenohrl of Blyk (tweeting as @sannajanonkorva ) deserve special mention! Both are prolific, must-follow twitter superstars as well.
And to those who missed it, the next MMA event is in New York City now in June, so get yourself signed up while they still have seats. Be there or be square. The MMA events are now so bleeding edge and yet so commercially practical, that you walk away with practical solutions that will instanly double your sales, cut your costs in half, increase your customer loyalty and satisfaction.