The South African mobile telephone service provider Cell C has followed in the recent footsteps of competing operator Vodacom to launch its own loyalty programme for prepaid customers.
With the strapline, "It pays to stay on the phone with Cell C", the company is asking its prepaid mobile users to imagine spending two minutes on a call and instantly receiving a 15% reward in the form of a free SMS (worth R0.80). After each qualifying call, Cell C automatically sends the subscriber an SMS notification to tell them how many SMS credits were earned during the call. Users don't need to take any action to claim their rewards.
In a comprehensive report that, in our opinion, is a "must read" for senior bankers interested in important emerging competitive trends, the latest issue of the Online Banking Report examines in detail the person-to-person lending business being pursued by Prosper.com and Zopa.
The report’s author, veteran financial services editor and Online Banking Report founder Jim Bruene, concludes that there are indeed promising niches to be mined by Prosper and its U.K. counterpart Zopa. However, the companies will first have to fend off threats from con artists and deadbeat applicants. And they will have to win over individual lenders, who may view that the risks outweigh the available returns.
Presuming Prosper and/or Zopa make it through these unique challenges, the report predicts that within five years the total market for person-to-person lending in the U.S could surpass 100,000 loans annually, worth more than $1 billion.
The report is a must-read for any financial services executive involved in consumer credit and loan originations. The consumer behavior seen in this particular niche has broad ramifications even for the most traditional lender.
I see this all the time, a business racks up customer and after customer, year after year. They collect names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, etc. And never once write, call, solicit, or offer the customer the opportunity to return. They take each and every customer they have for granted.
And they spend a figurative ton of money soliciting more new customers, building a revenue plan around continual new customer attraction and acquisition, only to ignore them too and repeat the cycle.
The easiest sale you ever make is to an existing customer - upgrade, add-on, cross sell, affiliate, referral, etc. The people you already have met, built trust, and serve are a goldmine for any business. Reward them, keep in contact, and continually show appreciation…three keys to building your business.
Savvy advertising and public relations professionals have always known this truth: if you're not engaging your customers or clients, you're not reaching them. Today, the same savvy professionals recognize something else: the Web has inalterably shifted the traditional rules of engagement, and continues to transform them every day. The network represented by the Web and our other ubiquitous tools of instant, constant, and potentially global conversation, is now and increasingly will be a cornerstone of human interaction, work, and entertainment. In such a world there are no more "messages." There is only show, don't tell.
Technologies such as blogs, RSS, podcasts, and wikis are revolutionary for many reasons, but the primary one for businesses is this:
These tools enable fast, inexpensive, direct, genuine discussion between those within an organization and the rest of the world. In other words, they allow a business as never before to show, not tell, its customers precisely how it cares about them, what it is doing to continue to warrant their trust and loyalty, and, perhaps most importantly, why its products or services are high quality and worthwhile.
Now more than ever, companies have to understand human behavior in their effort to inspire customer loyalty. I can explain how brain and behavior are linked, how we take in and process information around us, and how that information motivates our choices. Companies are very hungry for that kind of clarity and insight. They can't get that with the research techniques currently available to them.
Two-thirds of Japan's population - about 80 million people - are using their mobiles in ways which would make the rest of us gasp in astonishment.
In Japan, another string has been recently been added to the mobile bow with the launch of electronic books and comics specifically for phones.Today there are a number of sites, where for a subscription of $10 to 15 (£5.70 to £8.70) a month you can download every genre imaginable to your heart's content. Bandai Networks is one of the largest publishing outfits in this brave new world. They have their own steadily growing mobile site, with 20,000 users subscribing to a catalogue of 400 plus titles.
The books are proving such a hit that Bandai is hiring authors to train others would-be writers in the art of mobile literature. One established novelist told me the new medium is creating a new form of expression.
And perhaps more importantly, it is reversing the younger generation's apathy towards reading.
Only a challenge will get them excited. Only a project can keep them motivated. Pose them a problem and they will get into action immediately. Also, the best of the geeks thrive by competing.
So, calling for interviews thro' recruitment ads may not be the best way to recruit. That's an old world model. You will get tons and tons of resumes but the best ones may not apply. The best way is get them to do some coding. Challenge them within a group. Pick the best out of the lot and get them to work for you.
1. The consumer is in control. "We need to embrace the urgent implications of consumer control." Jim Stengel, Global Marketing Officer, Procter & Gamble 2. The consumer is sceptical and increasingly resistant to advertising. “In the US 69 per cent of consumers are interested in products and services that allow them to block, skip or opt out of advertising and marketing messages.” Yanklevich Partners
3. Media fragmentation is pervasive. "The average British internet user now spends 164 minutes online each day for personal use, compared to 148 minutes spent watching TV". March 2006
4. Mass markets are being replaced by niche markets. “McDonalds global head of marketing, Larry Light, has declared that mass marketing no longer works. Furthermore, Light goes onto declare, 'the end of brand positioning as we know it”. Advertising Age, June 16th, 2004
5. Corporate executives are under greater levels of scrutiny. “As ever, the debate in the industry centres on the best way to achieve results.” The Harder Hard Sell, Economist, May 13th 2004
6. Companies that understand Internet Culture best will benefit most. "What I worry about much more is our ability to make the necessary cultural changes to meet the new demands of the digital native." Rupert Murdoch, 13 April 2006
7. Consumers are mobilizing themselves in new, powerful ways. "The digital native doesn’t send a letter to the editor anymore. She goes online, and starts a blog." Rupert Murdoch, April 13th 2005.
8. The broadcast model isn't working. "What you've been selling for the last 50 years, no longer works." John Stratton, CMO, Verizon Wireless, talking to Agency Chiefs, March 2006
9. Broadband is a mass medium. "Overall, the EU market more than doubled in 2005 to 48.2 million DSL subscribers, where the UK sits third, behind Germany and France." 20th March 2006
10. User generated content (CGM) is influential and growing rapidly. "Our audiences have moved on dramatically. Now they are consuming, creating, sharing and publishing their own content online." Tom Glocer, CEO, Reuters