Mr Patrick Pitcher

Meet the Chairman of Archer Mobile Asia

Previously the CEO for Asia-Pacific and worldwide board director of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, after working at Saatchi for 21 years, Pitcher was appointed CEO of JWT Asia Pacific South and also served as a director of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). 

He is based out of Singapore, and is now using his business acumen and deep understanding of digital communications to lead CSB Engage as its Chairman. CSB Engage specialises in customer engagement through customer relationship management, social, mobile tools, as well as on e-commerce platforms.  

1. Who is Archer Mobile?

Archer is an international mobile services company headquartered in Seattle, USA. Globally, we deliver millions of MMS messages each month using our proprietary platform. We set up our regional hub in Singapore in 2011 and have been working with all three telco networks, with the aim of reducing the cost of MMS advertising to companies.

2. How did you spot the opportunity for MMS marketing early on? What was the potential you saw? 

I come from a marketing & advertising background. Before investing in Archer, I’d worked for big global marketers like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Saatchi & Saatchi advertising. 

I see the value of MMS as a platform that incorporates all the advantages of TV with all the benefits of direct marketing. Advertisers can send rich content video messages direct to people’s phones, with an immediate call to action. The video lands in the cellphone’s sms in-box and can feature a personalised message and an interactive link to websites, call centres and so on.

3. Compared to other forms of marketing, how does mobile marketing compare in terms of cost efficiency for SMEs? How should these companies take advantage of the medium? 

With SMS marketing declining somewhat, we are finding that MMS is growing across the world.  MMS has the advantage of being much cheaper and more engaging than direct marketing. If you take the cost of paper, printing and postage it is between 60 cents and $1, whereas we can deliver MMS for between 15 and 20 cents. MMS marketers are also able to personalize the marketing messages to the recipient, and they are one click away from an immediate call-to-action. 

This can make a really positive impact on your marketing ROI, but as with any marketing, it depends on good targeting and a relevant and appealing message or offer.

4. How should mobile marketing fit in an SME’s overall marketing strategy? Who should look into this as an effective channel?

Certainly MMS has been found to deliver better response rates, but because there is a cost for designing and building the video (around $2,500), it makes sense to focus on communications that require higher volumes (generally we recommend sending a minimum of 5,000-10,000 MMS per broadcast), and to focus on areas where it would make the most impact. We recently ran a campaign for a new car launch and, what the client liked was that customers who wanted to test drive the new car, could immediately link to the call-center or mobile-website by pressing the button at the end of the message.

Another use case could be to use MMS to send billing statements, for example. This would reduce SME’s postage costs significantly. To keep costs low, you could use a re-usable MMS template, allowing you the option of adding in extra marketing material like monthly promotions.

5. Are there interesting ways in which businesses (SMEs, if any) are using the MMS medium to reach out to users? Any examples? 

Many of our customers reach out to their users using MMS for customer life cycle management: welcome messages, re-subscriptions, upgrades, and so on. In a recent product upgrade campaign, one of our clients got a 22% click through rate to its mobile site for more information on the product—an excellent result. But like any marketing channel, it still goes back to the strength of the offer and the relevance of the target group. 

6. Do you have any figures to share on the efficiency of MMS as a marketing channel? Something to demonstrate how users are responding to mobile marketing. 

A recent campaign for a financial services client found that MMS outperformed EDM (electronic direct mail) by 2.5 times in terms of the level of registrations.

Another campaign for a big retail chain in Singapore resulted in 8.5% of recipients clicking through to the mobile website to register their details for a promotion.

In other markets, we have used MMS to replace monthly statements that are normally sent by post. A bank that changed to MMS statements saw cost savings of over US$2 million in 2011 (saving paper, printing & postage). A side benefit to this campaign – the bank in question ran an advertising campaign that they cared about the environment saving thousands of trees every year.

7. What else is possible using MMS that advertisers aren't doing yet? 

We are able to send coupons and personalised QR codes to mobile phones but we haven’t had much demand for this yet. I believe it will become an important offering in the future.

8. How can businesses break past the resistance from users on receiving spam or marketing collateral in their inboxes? 

Ensure that they are working with an opt-in base and are providing interesting relevant information and meaningful promotions which offer value to their customers. 

9. How would the PDPA or No-Call Registry impact mobile marketing for SMEs?

Companies need to ensure that they have clear, unambiguous, documented consent to send these messages to their customer database, and that the content of their message is in line with the purposes that the end user has agreed to. 

They will also need to check that the people they are sending to have not registered with the Do Not Call Registry -

10. What's on the horizon for mobile marketing? What technologies do you foresee can complement your service?

More and more advertising dollars will be allocated to mobile as we move from a “wait and see” approach to a “we have a mobile strategy” one. As it costs far more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, data and analytics will be the key drivers behind mobile marketing. Improving the level of personalisation and the relevance of the offers we receive will become key.

I’m expecting to see an increase in the use of rich media messages (MMS) on mobile as more and more people will get used to viewing video on their phones – aided by the increased speed at which data can be delivered. 

Gaining opt-in from customers will become crucial as consumers become more selective in the content that choose to see, and data protection legislation is enforced.