Mobile marketing ready to take off in East Africa

Since the local mobile phone industry took off, there has been both a knowledge and policy gap. Photo/FILE
Since the local mobile phone industry took off, there has been both a knowledge and policy gap. Photo/FILE 

The mobile marketing industry in Kenya is set to see significant growth with the launch of the East African chapter of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

Since the local mobile phone industry took off a decade ago, there has been both a knowledge and policy gap to give direction on what consumer engagement should be in matters related to mobile.

The knowledge gap has seen many marketing managers and business owners shy away from implementing mobile strategies for their businesses, which in this day and age should be one of the central pillars to any marketing strategy.

Often times, the mobile network operators get the call enquiring on how to go about running a promotion or what it would take to market on operator inventory.

The operators, while being key players in the ecosystem don’t have this as their core business and as such would not be in a position to fully address and direct the queries.


Recycling of concepts has also become the norm as many businesses are risk averse and would rather copy what they saw the competition rollout, even when they are unaware of the metrics that would have been used to measure results.

Enter the MMA, which seeks to converge all the players in the mobile marketing ecosystem.

The MMA has a global membership of over 700 companies, with local chapters to ensure relevance.

The key mandate of the MMA is to entrench the use of the mobile channel in marketing.

How this is achieved is by way of promotion, education, measuring, guiding and protecting the mobile marketing space.

The membership consists of mobile network operators, software providers, advertisers, advertising agencies, handset manufacturers, value added service companies, regulators, among others.

As outlined on the MMA global website, the association is dedicated to providing an industry forum to meet, discuss, plan and work cooperatively to resolve key industry issues, bringing together industry-wide, global and regional work groups that focus on industry initiatives.

It also provides representation for the mobile marketing industry to legislative bodies, sharing perspectives on mobile marketing, fuelling peer-to-peer interaction, developing metrics for measuring ad delivery and consumer response, defining and publishing mobile marketing best practices and guidelines on privacy, ad delivery, and ad measurement, providing the value and effectiveness of mobile marketing to advertisers, agencies and consumers.

The founding council of the East African chapter draws from some of the best and most recognized minds in marketing and mobile services.

That we finally have a body to champion best practice among other things, will see innovation in what services are rolled out to consumers on the mobile platform and more people will gain knowledge on the possibilities and be sufficiently confident to take them to market.

Interesting times ahead.

Njihia is CEO of Symbiotic | Twitter - @mbuguanjihia |