MobileBeyond, a podcast about mobile, media, and technology, offers enlightening interviews with experts in marketing, advertising, social media, fintech, and more.
Michael Becker Connected Marketer Institute Podcast
As I spoke with Michael Becker, co-founder of mCordis and The Connected Marketer Institute, it reminded me of our first podcast interview over five years ago. Then we talked about mobile marketing and powerful new wireless devices that would forever change human communications.
He said “‘…mobile is the foundation of all communications going forward”–whatever the mobile device, for personal use or commerce. He [spoke] of the ‘untethered engagement’ as the central focus of one-on-one relationship marketing with mobile phone consumers.”
Now Michael speaks about multiple “connected devices” in our lives—smartphones, tablets, watches. Passive Internet devices, like Amazon’s Echo, made human-like with its name “Alexa,” listens as we interact with her. We say “play some music,” “ship items on my grocery list,” “what time are the Giants playing?” Alexa responds, satisfying our every want, saving us time, becoming our machine companion.
By 2020, homes will probably have ten or more connected devices, like Alexa, complemented by hundreds of interactive TV’s, fridges, connected cars, and passive IoT gizmos silently collecting data about us and our surroundings. There’s disagreement among the researchers about the number of IoT’s. But most studies agree we’ll have tens of billions on the Planet, gulping big data for corporations, governments, education and, most important, marketers.
The Connected Marketer Institute
Recently, mCordis, a mobile, marketing, advisory and educational services provider, launched The Connected Marketer Institute. Targeted at both marketers and marketing technology (martech) vendors, CMI seeks to re-define the focus of marketing in a mobile connected world, stressing digital connectivity, education, service,
When I asked Becker about omnichannel marketing in the interview, he claimed that mobile SMS, email and other forms of traditional “marketing” don’t exist. “There’s only marketing”—connecting, engaging and being of service to customers. “Everything else is a tool or strategy.” Mobile is at the center of everything. Marketers must look at the practice of marketing with a new lens that better serves customers at scale understands them better, and resolves friction (answering customer questions in the right ways).
Marketers need to create value FOR not FROM people.”
Other Podcast Interview Topics
* Marketers as technologists creating value and being of service for people
* Collecting and analyzing data in appropriate ways, on individuals’ terms, while maintaining transparency
* Physical products have digital components
* Four human dimensions: physical, digital, emotional, and sensorial
* How to figure out where brands fit in a customer’s mind
* Monitoring data and connectivity to create events in real time (synchronization)
* All content drives consumer behavior; everything produced by marketers and advertisers is content—both digital and non-digital
* Content marketing as more than blogs, keywords, SEO and calls-to-action
* Media channels vs. the practice of marketing
* From Cicero to Henry Ford to distribution to the information age
* GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon): The age of computing power
* What happened in 2010?
* The age of the customer.
Neumob’s Mobile App Acceleration – Jay Hinman Podcast
Your new mobile app was just released to the app stores. You chew your fingernails. Lots of pressure from the boss. The company wants a big hit. You ask yourself: “Will the app be fast enough in the U.S., India?…Is mobile app acceleration across the network going to work? Sweat beads up on your forehead…
No, this is not a script from HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” although, hey, I don’t mind sharing my creative writing. Getting mobile apps to load under four seconds–preferably two–is (or should be) on every mobile app developer’s mind.
Why? Because, according to Jay Hinman, VP of Marketing at Neumob, mobile ads sometimes don’t load quickly. Forex traders in Manila could lose one second and lots of moola. Mobile gamers might become upset about a slowdown in Mumbai. Worst case scenario? A precious mobile app devotee writes “your app sucks” in an iTunes review. Jay says that smarts.
Mobile App Acceleration : Jay Hinman at Neumob
Jay, who used to work for MobiTV, appeared previously on MobileBeyond, discussing mobile streaming video. He loves the field of mobile, probably in part due to his interest in broadcasting. He, like I, had fun working at our campus radio stations. Jay’s also done podcasting. So, there you have it.
While there’s still disagreement about mobile Web vs. mobile app usage, rather than address the studies here, I’ll direct you to an excellent, current review by Morgan Linton, whose “Native Apps vs. Mobile Web War Rages On” summarizes the research. There’s some tongue-in-cheek by Linton, but as any good blogger would say: “Just gimme the facts.”
During our conversation, Jay Hinman and I discuss how mobile app developers, using the Neumob Accelerator, experience mobile app bytes flying almost as fast as protons in the Hadron Collider near Geneva.
I draw this analogy because at the end of the podcast Jay told me that “Neumob” kinda came from “neutron,” similar to “proton.” I also mention the Hadron Collider because, in late April 2016, a small weasel chewed through the electrical wires, frying itself, and causing the Collider to come to an abrupt halt. NPR devoted an entire two minutes to the event.
Jay assured me that Neumob has secured its network so this will never happen to its customers nor their mobile app acceleration software.
I also guarantee you that SiteGround scans my server once a week. So you won’t encounter any malicious code or strange bugs crawling out of your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop or whatever you use to hear this podcast.
Now on with the show.
Ebola Care App Raises Hope in West Africa
The Ebola Care App, available free from Journey, a mobile applications developer, enables health workers to monitor and collect patient data in West South Africa. AppsAgainstEbola, Journey’s website, describes its genesis, capabilities and benefits.
Running on inexpensive Android phones, the Ebola Care App will improve the timeliness, accuracy and accessibility of field data for health care decision-makers and NGO’s
Data shared with the WHO (World Health Organization) expedite critical communications and field heath care delivery improving Ebola patient outcomes. (See the excellent article in Forbes summarizing the Ebola Care App and Journey’s Facebook page.)
Ebola is Not Just an African Problem
Those are the words of Philip Joubert who is my podcast guest. As we discussed the global community of governments, NGO’s, private benefactors, such as Bill Gates, and company donations, the connectedness of humanity came to mind.
In the past–before social media, mobile phones and greater interest in the biggest continent–the first Ebola crisis in 1976, documented by the WHO, was indeed “just an African problem.” But the massive outbreak of the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic has spread from Africa to the U.S. and other developed nations.
It’s changed how we think about national borders. Viruses cross freely from Liberia into Sierra Leone. They fly thousands of miles with their hosts. In that sense, the Ebola virus is “airborne,” whether flying coach or first-class. Outbreaks of this type are world problems.
Quarantines, drug firms scouring arsenals of viral medications, media gone crazy filling voracious consumers’ information demand, public fear and politician grandstanding. Clearly, this is everyone’s problem. We no longer live in glass houses. Ebola is at our front door.
How we, government and corporate leaders and the health care community respond to these health crises worldwide will forever determine future responses. Do we dump money on world problems that don’t affect us personally from afar? Or should we believe, as Gandi said:
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
Ebola Care App Brings Technology to Africa
Philip and Malan Joubert, who grew up in South Africa, felt their calling. Using mobile development software created by their firm, they believed a Ebola Care app, used on the ground in Liberia and other Ebola-infected countries, would expedite communications among health workers, the medical community and large organizations like the WHO.
Listen to the podcast about two brothers making a difference in West Africa.
South African Brothers Helping Fight Ebola with Mobile App Innovation
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GCash Mobile Money Services Help Filopinos Prosper
GCash Mobile money services, like others in African countries, the Mideast, Bangladesh and India, are popular and growing quickly in developing countries.
As MobileBeyond’s financial inclusion series has documented, mobile money empowers the unbanked to send and receive money, top off phone minutes, pay bills, finance solar power, gain insurance protection, enable merchant transactions and establish credit.
8,561 miles west of California, across the vast Pacific Ocean, 7107 Philippine islands are the entrance to Indonesia. Only 2,000 islands, though, have inhabitants. A thriving country, ten years ago Globe Telecom, one of the major country’s telcos, created Gcash mobile money services.
In my podcast interview with Paolo Baltao, President of G-Xchange, a subsidiary of Globe Telecom, Paolo and I discuss the launch of GCash, Globe’s mobile commerce arm, in 2006, now one million customers strong. Considering that 80% of the Filopino population is unbanked or underbanked, having a telco enable multiple banking services has lessened the burden of consumers carrying cash. More than that, Filopinos using GCash’ services save time and money attending to small businesses and productive efforts.
Paolo says sharing airtime load was growing before GCash launched (most Filopinos add minutes daily to their phones). Transferring money without a bank account was becoming burdensome, taking two hours or more out of the day for transportation and waiting in line. And BILLIONS of dollars were flowing into the Philippines from far-a-way countries to relatives.
GCash Mobile Money Services: Before and After
You’re living in the fields of the Philippines, growing sugarcane, bananas, palay (rice) and corn. You and your family get paid in pesos once a week. Every few months your cousin, one of ten million Filipinos who works overseas, sends you a cash remittance to make ends meet (10-15% paid to Western Union or other payment processor). You don’t have a checking account; in fact, you’re unbanked. Cash in, cash out, one of 2.5 billion people on Earth who live without financial services. Or…
You have a GCash mobile money services account. When paid, you deposit pesos into an electronic wallet. It’s safe, secure. When your cousin sends a remittance, the money goes directly into your mobile wallet at a lower transfer charge. Filopinos now spend their hard-earned pesos without worrying about the nearest bank branch.
Obopay India Fights for 904 Million Mobile Customers
Obopay India sits at a crossroads. Someone wrote that if mobile money players didn’t face the shackles of government banking regulations, the mobile money industry in India could generate $250 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS monthly.
With a population of 1.3 billion people, 64% of whom are unbanked, and over 904 million mobile phones, the mobile financial services opportunity in India is glacial. Obopay India and its 15+ competitors have a goldmine. India’s population is exploding, second only to China’s.
But neither Obopay, which started in 2005,* nor its telecom and bank competitors, can easily knock down The Great Wall of India. Central banking rules restrain mobile operators and entrepreneurs in India from launching mobile exchange and other financial services without a banking affiliation.
As a technology player in the mobile money business, Obopay India enables mobile money exchange via carriers and banks. The firm doesn’t sell mobile services directly to consumers. When the company launched in the United States and India, later Africa, it went to market with financial and carrier partners. Nokia also joined forces with Obopay briefly in mid-2011 before pulling out in March 2012.
Other mobile money players are Vodaphone-India and Airtel Money. Both offer M-Pesa-like mobile money accounts. Idea Cellular and tata Docomo are mobile wallet companies.
Mobile Money Regulation Improving Worldwide
However, the situation is gradually improving. Mobile operators, banks, and mobile money companies see growing opportunities. Governments have begun to realize the benefits of financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked. Women, who represent a large segment of the needy, will see significant financial improvements.
A new GSMA study on mobile inclusion in Paraguay reveals massive opportunities for carriers and others as the government understands the benefits and simplifies the regulation of mobile money operators. Only 22% of people in Paraguay have banking affiliations, similar to Haiti and Guatemala.
Obopay India: Podcast Interview with Nitin Sharma
Nitin Sharma, Senior VP of Business Development, is my guest for this podcast. He covers Obopay India’s early entrance as a mobile money company, Union Bank, its financial partner, the need for consumer education about mobile financial services, reaching customers through radio, government payment transfers via mobile. Nitin says he’s excited about the growth in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. Presently, Obopay offers African mobile payments services in Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda as well.
(Learn more about the genesis of Obopay in Africa, India, and the U.S., listen to my 2010 podcast interview with Carol Realini, the founder, and the company’s first CEO.)
Since its launch in 2005, Obopay, a global mobile payment company, has provided solutions to leading brands across industries. These include MasterCard, Nokia, Airtel, Telecel, Societe Generale, and Union Bank of India.
Obopay offers white labeled mobile payment produc...
Mastercard Financial Inclusion Africa-Mideast
As I spoke with Sanjiv Purushotham of MasterCard, I sensed his personal satisfaction working on MasterCard financial inclusion projects in Africa and the Mideast. He grew up in India, married, then took another MasterCard position in Singapore. A few years later, he jumped at another MasterCard opportunity in Dubai, one of the hot spots for entrepreneurs.
Tall buildings surround this metropolis in the UAE desert. Sheikhs and other big-wigs from around the world cut deals in Dubai, an area of the world sporting 76% smartphone penetration.
MasterCard Financial Inclusion Spreads Across Mideast and Africa
Mastercard financial inclusion services helped the Egyptian Central Bank and Etisalat Group, the major telecom company throughout the Mideast, to encourage the unbanked to benefit from mobile money and other financial services.
In 2010, MasterCard won a GSMA award for enabling an ecommerce project in Kenya, the first in the country. Working with Airtel, a major Africa operator, MasterCard enabled consumers to buy digital content in the U.K., Europe and the U.S. Easy enough. Buyers purchased via their virtual cards displayed on mobile phone screens.
In South Africa, MasterCard partnered with the government and NGO’ s to enable mobile money transfer. This helped the country continue moving away from cash to more secure transactions.
Reflecting on these examples, Sanjiv comments that MasterCard follows the “evolution of technology,” solutions particular to geographies and regions. After understanding an area’s needs, it enables a country’s technology for global transactions.
As we finish our conversation, I asked Sanjiv what satisfies him about his work at the end of the day. He responds it’s his feeling of “greater enthusiasm” and “becoming more energetic” of what can be done.
Join Sanjiv and me on a visionary trip through the Mideast and Africa as we discuss MasterCard financial inclusion.
Click here for a podcast interview with Tara Nathan of MasterCard East Africa hosted by Karen Webster.
Sources of Additional Information
Sanjiv Purushotham – LinkedIn Profile
MasterCard Foundation on Facebook (Good Source of MasterCard financial inclusion projects)
MasterCard CEO in Africa on Financial Inclusion
Technology & Partnership Driving MasterCard Financial Inclusion
This is the 8th in a series of articles and podcast interviews with pioneers of the financial inclusion movement. See Carol Realini’s Facebook Page about her forthcoming book a title="Carol Realini - Facebook Page - Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pryamid" href="...