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There’s more to mobile phones than payment conduits

Category: Information and Communications Technology,Mobile phone applications

Date: September 26, 2012

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Recently, the City Council of Nairobi and the Judiciary turned to mobile phones to reduce corruption that had reduced their incomes from parking fees and traffic fines respectively. Motorists and traffic offenders can now pay parking fees and traffic fines via their mobile phones, even though the benefits are currently restricted to Nairobi’s CBD and the Kibera and Milimani Law Courts respectively.
It’s commendable that brands in Kenya, including the government, have embraced the mobile phone as a payment ‘broker’. But is that really all brands can use the mobile phone for? Surely, there must be a way for them to emotionally connect with their consumers.
For example, insurance companies have earned a reputation for the slow processing of claims. How about an app that allows claimants to follow the progress of their claims? Banks are notorious for long queues and unmanned counters. How about an app that allows consumers to see which bank has the shortest/longest queue around their area at a given time, so that they don’t all jam one branch?
Kenyan matatus and buses have an awful safety record. How about an app that enables long-distance travellers to compare various saccos’ and bus companies’ safety records? Publishers always lament about Kenyans’ poor reading culture. How about a gaming app that encourages children to read at an early age? According to the Communications Commission of Kenya, there were 29.2 million mobile phone subscribers in Kenya as of March 2012. That’s a huge market right there any agency of advertising can easily convince a brand to target with meaningful apps.
MPESA killer?
Continuing with the apps theme, there’s a new potential threat to Mpesa: Mimi. It claims you can send and receive money from any mobile phone anywhere in the world. If it executes that claim, then marketing in Africa will change forever.
Why? For example, pan-African brands which allow this application to be used by their customers will have a competitive advantage over those that require their customers to jump through high fences to pay. While Mimi won’t destroy MPESA, it sure would become revolutionary if successful.
If your brand needs a partner to solve your mobile advertising problems, please send us a note or call +254 717 514 477.

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