CellSmart: Ahmed Kajee

CellSmart: Ahmed Kajee


South African companies looking for better return on marketing investment have been slow to adopt mobile technologies. “But when they do and they see how well it works for them, they’re converted,” says Ahmed Kajee, MD of CellSmart, a mobile marketing applications company based in Cape Town.

In the recession, perhaps more than ever, companies needed to interact with their audiences in creative and engaging ways. “Marketers faced a tough challenge keeping their brands top of mind during the economic slowdown. Budgets are still tight and companies understandably want the biggest bang for their buck. Increasingly they are turning to mobile marketing as a means of effectively reaching their target audience,” he says.

Responding to market needs

Initially a developer of mobile marketing technologies, the company has evolved to include mobile marketing campaign origination and management for its clients. Kajee explains: “We now offer the full end-to-end service but when we started we were providing the tools, services and platforms for companies to run their own mobile marketing campaigns.

“We then realised that while companies wanted the technology, they didn’t know how best to implement it. So we started implementing it for them, running their campaigns, providing them with advice on what would work best and why. Today around 50% of our business involves this kind of service delivery.”

Responding to client needs is something Kajee has had to learn the hard way. Landing the company’s first clients was a gruelling process, but one through which he learned to listen and focus his sales pitch. “Mobile marketing is broad and there’s so much it can do, but there’s no point telling a prospective client that your solution can do everything for them.

“I learned to be very clear about what I was offering, to focus on the one or two specific things about mobile marketing that could solve their problem. I learned to listen so that I could identify their needs very quickly,” he relates.

Capitalising new technology

The listening paid off. Kajee has established a growing reputation in the industry, having recently been named among the Mail & Guardian’s 2009 Top 300 Young South Africans, and CellSmart has run over 300 campaigns for brands like Virgin, Coca-Cola, Absa, KFC, Clover and Diesel. The company is a founding member of the Mobile Marketing Association SA.

Cellsmart has built its offering on mobile marketing’s ability to deliver more for less. “Mobile campaigns reach more eyeballs in a more targeted way, generating greater interaction between an audience and a brand. This builds relationships and brand loyalty.
“At the same time, production costs are low and the strategy, tactics and budget of campaigns can be quickly adapted to increase a campaign that’s working really well, or kill one that’s not,” say Kajee.

Getting interactive

He believes the value of an interactive campaign lies in its ability to take the user on a brand journey, and add value to them while they are interacting with a brand. “A good example of how this works can be found in the campaign for the ‘Tropika Island of Treasure 2: Zanzibar’ competition, where the prize was an island getaway for ten winners, along with ten celebrities,” he says.

The campaign needed to generate awareness of the competition and provide a mechanism for people to enter. But it also doubled as a platform for the audience to interact with the brand. Tropika packs and supporting media drove consumers to a mobisite where they could enter, while splash advertising on MXit provided a click-through for entry.

“Users could also download info on their favourite celeb, post wall comments on celeb profiles, send their friends a virtual card and refer them to the site,” Kajee explains. The campaign included polls and surveys which users were rewarded for entering, and provided them with access to selected mobile content and ringtones.

In one month, the mobisite and MXit applications generated over 14 000 competition entries, with over half a million MXit users getting exposure to the splash advertising. All this means big business – for CellSmart and its clients. Kajee concludes, “I truly believe that mobile marketers will be the ones who capture the minds of their target customers in future. The potential for innovation is almost infinite.”

Player: Ahmed Kajee
Est: 2004
Contact: +27 21 685 5910; www.cellsmart.co.za

Juliet Pitman
Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.