The Assegai Awards, celebrated at the Vodacom World of Events in Midrand on 21 November, recognise the best in direct and interactive marketing as well as the creative and strategic execution of award winning direct and integrated marketing campaigns.
The Organisation of the Year award is given to the organisation which has made the most significant contribution to the direct marketing industry during the awards year and has demonstrated excellence in executing direct marketing campaigns.
"We are delighted to have been selected as the Organisation of the Year," says Mobitainment managing director, Candice Goodman. "For a mobile company to have achieved this level of recognition by the DMA is extremely gratifying, particularly as the award acknowledges the vital and increasingly important role that mobile marketing plays in effective direct marketing."
"This is the first time in the history of the Assegai Awards that a mobile marketing company has been awarded the Organisation of the Year Award," says Vikesh Roopchand, chairman of the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa. "Mobile marketing is a rapidly growing medium and is becoming an increasingly important and effective tool in direct marketing, especially due to the measurability it brings to a campaign. Mobitainment is at the forefront of innovations in mobile marketing and has managed to successfully customise and adapt unique solutions for the South African mass-market with entry level phones. There is no doubt that they are well deserving of this particular award."
In addition to winning the DMA's Organisation of the Year title, the company was awarded a Bronze for The Excella'nt Competition
for client Excella Cooking Oil in the mobile category. This same campaign was recently recognised for brilliance in mobile innovation at the sixth annual AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town where it walked away with the award for Best Mobile Marketing Campaign. AfricaCom, the continent's largest communications conference and exhibition, recognised Mobitainment's success in using a mobile competition to generate a permission-based consumer database for its client.
Winning this award is the culmination of a number of firsts for Mobitainment. In 2008 it won the best mobile website in the Retail and Commerce category at the ilovemobileweb Awards for the Sasko Flour
mobisite; it was the first African company to win an MMA Award when it was awarded the joint winner at the MMA Awards in 2009 for the EMEA region with Livemobile Football
; the first South African company to win a global award for the Best Mobile Marketing Campaign in the Direct Response category for the Surf Pick-a-Box
at the MMA Awards in 2010; and the first African company to win the MMA's Best Mobile Marketing Campaign in the EMEA region in Relationship Building for AVBOB Funeral Services. In fact, Mobitainment is one of the most consistently internationally awarded mobile marketing consultancies in South Africa.
This success is probably due to Mobitainment's in-depth understanding of local audiences and how to most effectively use mobile marketing to reach the mass market. In addition the company has pioneered a number of industry firsts in the mobile marketing industry.
"Mobile in developing countries is very different to mobile in developed markets," points out Goodman. "Many mobile phones are entry level which means they can't be used to access the internet. This means we've had to think creatively which has spurred a number of innovations in the field of mobile marketing and triggered the commercialisation of technologies such as USSD and Please Call Me Tagged Ads, as well as a number of other tools which we have pioneered such as Free Messaging Service."
Is it possible to still produce 'smart' mobile marketing for an audience without smartphones? Goodman believes it is. "You may be giving up the glitz and glamour of the graphics of the smart phone, but you are exchanging it for the reach and hopefully relevant messaging that comes with Voice, SMS and USSD," she maintains.
Furthermore, she believes mobile strategies should be integrated into traditional marketing. A mobile call to action on a traditional ad not only provides reach but allows advertisers to add measurability to their campaign and allows consumers to talk back to the brand through their mobile device.
A good example of this is adding voice to a print campaign through an interactive "call-back" ad allowing the characters in the ad to talk directly to the consumer about the brand and then ask the consumer to "talk" back.
Free entry mechanisms and USSD, says Goodman, guarantee the best response. "Integration is key and all channels must align with consistent messaging across the board. Similarly, mobile support for social media as well as listening to consumers and getting them involved in the promotion or campaign are all critical."
Watch this space for the lessons gained from the many campaigns Mobitainment has done in South Africa, compiled into insights into "7 secrets of Smart Marketing - Without a Smart phone!"