By Hani Ramzi, Feb 24, 2012
Note: This blog post was originally published in the Permission Marketing Briefing Room hosted by Optism on the MobileGroove website.
From car makers to telecom companies, a strategy that reduces complexity and encourages a robust business ecosystem pays dividends. Hani Ramzi tells why keeping it simple (KISS) is a must-have mindset that can help key stakeholders in the mobile marketing value chain focus on (and achieve) real growth opportunities.
Show me a world-leading company, and I’ll show you a management that understands the value of simplicity and the danger of complexity. Indeed, too much complexity can drag companies down a slippery slope that eliminates gains, interferes with efficiency and ultimately destroys competitive advantage. However, understanding that less is more (keeping it simple) generates profits, growth and tremendous customer satisfaction.
Take Google, a company that has brought the world simple search. But it’s not just the uncluttered design and sharp focus on user-friendliness that has made Google the market giant. The Google ecosystem is also simple, allowing all stakeholders to contribute — and benefit.
Another excellent example is SMS. It has become the way we connect with friends, family, community members and — increasingly — companies and brands. Why? Because everyone everywhere on the planet can type a message on a phone keypad. In a word: it’s simple.
Mobile advertising opportunities
Clearly, companies, value chains and services that are simple succeed. It’s a basic business tenet that we would do well to apply to the mobile marketing ecosystem.
First, we need to identify the key groups in the value chain. Some analyst firms have identified dozens of players; I have purposely chosen to simplify the ecosystem and break it down into three distinct groups of stakeholders: consumers, mobile operators, and agencies and advertisers.
Keeping it simple for consumers
People are inundated with advertising on their mobile phones. And this deluge of advertising — much of it spam that consumers did not give their permission to receive in the first place — is delivered via an ever-increasing variety of advertising creatives and formats. These range from traditional banners ads and in-app advertising, to brand schemes that harness augmented reality for maximum impact.
Connect the dots, and consumers are faced with too many choices. It is complex and difficult to navigate. So how do we make sure we serve the consumer, the most important link in any value chain, advertising messages they appreciate?
The key is engagement.
People get involved when they see a benefit. In mobile marketing this benefit must be delivered within the context of what matters most to people: their lives, their experiences, their networks, and their worlds.
The most effective (and simplest) way to find out what matters most to people?
The rules of permission marketing are simple. The consumer opts in to receive mobile advertising messages. The interaction evolves into an ongoing exchange where the consumer volunteers personal information, such as interests and hobbies, in return for brand messages that are relevant to their preferences.
The exchange is transparent (because the consumer gives permission every step of the way) and takes place in a ‘trusted environment’ where personal privacy is respected and the individual is in control. The advertising is valuable because the consumer only receives advertising from brands and companies they appreciate. Thus, the groundwork is laid for a dialog that pairs brands with an opted-in audience that wants to hear what they have to say.
Keeping it simple for mobile operators
Mobile operators also have much to gain from keeping it simple. How can they reduce complexity and boost the advantage?
First, mobile operators require an approach that further reinforces their role in the mobile marketing value chain and allows them to reap a share of the revenues generated.
They also need to focus efforts on monetizing inventory they truly own. (Permission marketing puts mobile operators in charge, allowing them to offer advertisers access to an opted-in audience, which is a valuable inventory indeed.) Finally, mobile operators must make it simple for agencies to buy this media. (A big part of this is providing agencies the tools to manage and measure their campaigns.)
At a technology level, mobile operators are advised to rely on a trusted partner (and a managed service), rather than tackle the complexity of buying, owning, upgrading and maintaining their own mobile advertising platform. At a business level, mobile operators that have an in-house mobile advertising sales force should use it. Mobile operators that haven’t yet built up a sales house capability internally would do better to stop before they start. It’s easier to rely on existing partners — and it’s simpler than creating a sales force from scratch.
Keeping it simple for agencies & advertisers
Agencies and advertisers are under pressure to show lasting benefits and prove campaign ROI.
What’s more, they are confronted by some pretty tough questions: How should they approach mobile? How do they reach all consumers — and not just the ones that happen to own smartphones? How can they move past brand awareness to achieve other business objectives, such as increasing brand loyalty or boosting customer engagement?
Again, a simple approach holds the answers.
Clearly, brands advertisers want to deliver their message to consumers who are most likely to listen and respond. This is precisely what they get when a highly responsive, scalable and effective dialog media (that is permission- and preference-based) has been implemented to connect with consumers and continue the conversation.
Complexity distracts companies from zeroing in on key growth areas and opportunities that generate the most profits. This is why it is imperative for companies — particularly in mobile marketing — to keep it simple.
Simplicity at all levels — in the service we deliver to customers and across the ecosystem that makes it possible in the first place — is a prerequisite for competing in market that has moved from more is better to less is more. Keeping it simple is not just a way to streamline where is counts; it’s the way to make it big.
About Hani: Hani Ramzi is Alcatel-Lucent’s executive director of Mobile Advertising for EMEA. He has a long track record in the mobile industry where his chief responsibility has been to support telcos at the C-level, helping senior management define and execute strategy. Prior to that Hani held a variety of management roles across all regions (Americas, EMEA, APAC). Hani is based in Paris and is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences.