One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to advertising is "What does success look like?" closely followed by: "How do we measure it?" So says Patrick Palmi, CEO of mobile marketing agency, JUSTPALM.com.
These questions are notoriously difficult to answer, especially when it comes to large-scale consumer ad campaigns. But sponsored call marketing, which is proving increasingly popular in Africa, offers marketers a number of ways in which to measure to success.
"Sponsored call marketing brings together the best elements of advertising, but for a fraction of the cost and in a much more measurable manner. People love the idea of being able to make free phone calls to their friends and family, so you immediately have a campaign that builds goodwill, reinforces loyalty and goes 'viral' as people spread the word. And it's also a great way to build up your contact database."
"We typically run one of four types of sponsored call campaigns," explains Palmi, "database building, creating brand awareness, loyalty building, or purely sales-driven. Each of these has its own goals and KPIs:"
Here, a brand gives away free calls in exchange for a consumer opting in to future mobile marketing campaigns. "The main KPI in this case would be the number of mobile numbers collected and the quality of customer profiles created."
Brand awareness campaigns
The aim for these kinds of sponsored call campaigns is to connect a particular brand with consumers in an innovative way that get people talking about that brand - telling their friends and family about the free call giveaway they received from the brand.
"Here, the main KPI is word-of-mouth growth rate. Meaning how many people used the service to call their friends, and then how many of those friends took action and called their other friends."
"Some clients are adding sponsored calls to their loyalty programmes. So, as part of their club membership benefits they offer, besides the likes of funeral cover and discounted prices for all their products, they will also offer five minutes free talk-time to loyal customers. We will, in this instance, measure the success based on the product usage by the membership base as well as how many customers take on new membership because of the sponsored call benefits," explains Palmi.
In this type of campaign, consumers are rewarded with free talk-time minutes for every product purchased, or amount spent in-store. "Here we measure the increase in sales versus campaigns without sponsored calls as a give away," says Palmi. "We have many case studies on our website of brands that are currently using sponsored call marketing as an incentive to drive sales. They're offering one minute of talk time per purchased product."
Sponsored calls work because they give consumers something they value - time to talk to friends and family - rather than simply bombarding them
with plain advertising information. And in a region where most consumers are on prepaid cell phones, it's easy to see why this approach is so effective in Africa.
Add the fact that sponsored call marketing is so versatile, cost-effective and measurable - and you've got a great recipe for consumer campaign success. "If we can achieve all this by giving both sides an advantage, then we're making advertising better."