South Africa: E-mail shifts to mobiles

More e-mails will be opened and read on mobile devices, thanks to the exponential growth of smartphone and tablet penetration.

Organisations use e-mail to engage more effectively with consumers in a way that drives conversations, not sales pitches, says Prefix Technologies’ Walter Penfold.

This is according to Walter Penfold, MD of Prefix Technologies, who believes organisations use e-mail to engage more effectively with consumers in a way that drives conversations, not sales pitches.

According to market research firm, Nielsen, at least 45% of all mobile Web use is geared towards checking e-mail.

“This is a great opportunity for the mobile marketer with the foresight to design mobile-friendly mail templates,” says Penfold.

Last year, fellow research firm, comScore found that mobile phone and smartphone e-mail usage jumped 36% in the three months ending November 2010, compared to the same period a year earlier.

Mark Donovan, comScore senior VP for mobile, says having so many ways to communicate on so many devices means that a decline in Web-based e-mail use on desktops and laptops is not surprising.

Penfold points out that 2011 saw increased adoption of international best e-mail practice combined with impressive local innovation.

“So we can expect more of the same this year, as South African e-mail marketers continue to mature, which, in layman terms, means they will increasingly get their groove on. Or take their groove to new heights, or whatever.”

He also believes that cross-channelling will be another 2012 watchword, meaning that deeper integration will take place between e-mail and social media.

“Yes, social media has been a buzzword in SA for years as we looked enviously at the level of social media marketing sophistication overseas – but now we really mean it.”

Penfold explains that there is a growing base of analytics and an increasing number of tools that are giving marketers greater insight into, and control of, the cross-channelling process.

The low cost of creating a buzz for a product or event via social media platforms makes this a very cost-effective option for marketers, he adds. “Marketers who work across the various channels effectively will ride the cross-channelling wave.”

Another key trend will be the growing base of locally relevant e-mail marketing research that will be conducted during 2012, says Penfold.

“South African marketers are rapidly realising that, in today’s world, there is no one-size-fits-all model. If companies aim to succeed in effective customer segmentation and the delivery of genuinely relevant content, they will need the analytics to go with it.

“We can thus expect a surge in the amount of marketing research being conducted. This is because it will be the foundation on which all other success will be built.”

Those marketers that are able to focus their efforts on driving customer-centricity and effective cross-channelling on data-driven, multi-channel marketing strategies will lead the way during 2012, he concludes.

Source: IT Web.Co – 31 Jan 2012