Mobile Advertising has become the hot topic of discussion at various conferences and meeting rooms of large companies and agencies. As marketers still take cautious steps in this shift from traditional to digital, Vikas Gulati, VP South East Asia, in a recent article published by Singapore Business Review, throws some light on why marketers should embrace mobile as a medium and what kind of approach they should adopt.

Here are the excerpts from the article.

How to use a ‘glocal’ approach to mobile marketing in Singapore

It has already been established that mobile internet is the fastest growing and most powerful medium for reaching customers. Singapore is a great example of how mobile has changed the Marketing landscape. You may not be able to reach an average Singaporean at their workplace or even at home, but you can most certainly reach them on their mobile phone.

Mobile has become a dominant factor in the media consumption habits of Singaporeans, with half of mobile web users using their mobile devices as their primary access the internet.

Consumers in Singapore and across the world have adopted mobile and it now represents the single biggest untapped media opportunity of our times.


VP, Business Development, South East Asia

In terms of penetration, Mobile is higher than most media including TV. More importantly, in terms of capability, it goes far beyond than any mass media. Anytime, anywhere makes it always prime time and it is highly personal as a media.

While this is a universal truth, it applies very differently to emerging markets. The mobile internet ecosystem is very different in emerging markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand when compared to a developed market like Singapore. And as a marketer it becomes imperative to understand those dynamics as it impacts your mobile marketing plans.

The first underlying dynamic is that emerging markets are dominated by mobile internet usage on Feature phones. And contrary to what you might hear – this is not going to change anytime soon, as there are systemic factors responsible for this.

It starts with emerging markets having a much lower per capita GDP, and the telcos taking a “prepaid” approach to drive a high mobile penetration. This means that subscribers are not offered contracts with handset subsidy and unlike developed market consumers have to pay the full price for their mobile devices upfront.

Consumers in such situations are extremely value conscious and want maximum capabilities at minimum cost, thus the handset market is extremely competitive, offering a wide range of feature rich devices at low costs.

Over 80% of the devices sold in emerging markets are feature phones that allow users to listen to music, watch video, play games, browse the internet and even run apps. For a mobile marketer it is critical to target these devices to reach their audience.

And premium media like Ads on Feature phone Apps allow marketers to reach these feature phone users with the same level of impact as on smart phones!

The second strong dynamic is that the mobile is offering the ‘first’ internet experience for many users in emerging markets. Unlike developed market consumers, majority of these emerging market users do not have PC’s and broadband internet. The mobile is not just another screen, but the ‘primary’ screen in their life.

This has a tremendous impact on usage behaviour and content consumption patterns. The Internet went from Information to Communication & finally Entertainment.

The Mobile Internet experience for users in emerging markets begins with Entertainment activities like downloading songs, games, wallpapers & apps! You as a marketer have an excellent opportunity to leverage & feed this content consumption behaviour to drive engagement!

So how do you as a marketer take a “Glocal” approach?

1. Understand the type of devices your audience uses – and think beyond just smartphones if you are targeting users in emerging markets. Get the right mobile media mix by taking a hybrid strategy targeting both feature phone and smartphone users. This is the clear way forward if you want to optimize your spends and achieve reach with impact.

2. Drive engagement by showing the brand message in a clutter free manner without hindering the overall end user experience. Incorporating content consumption like games, brand jingle ringtones, brand ambassador wallpapers, relevant category apps, will create an immersive engaging experience.

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