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An open letter of thanks to Clickatell’s Peter de Villers

Peter,

Thank you, thank you thrice thank you. Well over a year and a half ago, Stefano Sessa, one of your marketing chaps dropped me an email enquiring as to whether I’d be interested in running a Clickatell ad on SMS Text News (as Mobile Industry Review was then named).

I was surprised — then delighted — at the request. I recognised the value in the union and swiftly became a huge fan. In particular, I was impressed by the manner in which Clickatell didn’t necessarily judge ROI based on clicks and impressions. I remember explaining to Stefano that our audience aren’t clickers. That’s not what they’re about. As the vast majority already work in and around the industry and, to put it mildly, are a little jaded (bordering on cynical!) when it comes to traditional marketing efforts, the Mobile Industry Review audience are shapers. Opinion formers. And purchase decision makers. Indeed the research that my team have been formulating (it’s still rough) estimates the Mobile Industry Review audience economy to be around £150 billion — or midway between Singapore and the Phillipines in terms of GDP. (The rough calculation — 10% of the audience or 30,000 readers each with C-level influence over a gross budget of of £5m). Counting clicks won’t ever be how you measure the influence over the Mobile Industry Review audience and I’m wholly grateful that you never tolerated ROI based on clicks alone. Kudos.

It’s about influence, attention, awareness. Ask me for a recommendation for a bulk text or mobile services firm and my answer is immediately and wholeheartedly Clickatell. To anyone who will listen.

After a few months of working with you I began to enjoy pointing out that you were not offering competition and comprehensive services, but that you also were supporting the site, enabling me to offer better and better services!

Although Mobile Industry Review is underwritten by me, your financial support through your continued purchase of the frontpage ad space on the site has been hugely valuable. I don’t necessarily mean in cash terms — more in the confidence to experiment and innovate. It gave me the confidence to develop the offering, the audience and do more than I would ever have done had we not struck a deal.

Your support has been most sincerely appreciated.

I have always worked hard — perhaps, on reflection, a little too hard — to see that you’ve always received reciprocal if not greater benefit in return for your support. I hope — and I trust — that this is the case.

Sadly the time has come for us to part company effective today. Alas I never managed to make it down to your Cape Town head office either 😉

Every success to you and to all at Clickatell and thank you, thank you THANK YOU for your support!

Kind regards
Ewan MacLeod
Founder & Editor,
Mobile Industry Review

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

13 replies on “An open letter of thanks to Clickatell’s Peter de Villers”

IInterestingly, I only know about Clickatell due to its appearence on this very site.

Were it not for MIR over the last year+ I wouldn't have been aware of them at all.

I have mentioned Clickatell infront of thousands of infuencers and decision makers at conferences all over the world as I have analysed the players in the mobile space.

Over the last 2 months alone, your piece about Clickatell's award bounty (http://mobileindustry.wpengine.com/2008/11/cli…), I forwarded to an interest group mailout I am in, that has over 6k senior executives in the Global digital space who control budgets collectively over $100m.

The word of mouth and link forwarding efforts that I have done alone, could be termed as extreme targeted marketing.

Everyone who I have mentioned Clickatell to (from my discovery on your site), has been in the target market for Clickatell. I haven't charged them a bean.

Back of a fag packet, I reckon that in the last 14 months, at the VERY least, 10k people have received information from me (originally from you Ewan), advocating Clickatell, and lets say 50% of those tell 3 people each, and 5% of those tell one other person each we have:

10,000 + (50%)5,000 + (x3)15,000 + (50%)7500

This comes to 37,500 people being aware and speaking about Clickatell – in my perhaps slightly bullish word-of-mouth assumption of 50% follow on.

But lets cool down the numbers from the above. Lets make this more robust.

Imagine my numbers are twice too much.

Lets halve it to 18,750 people. Essentially the effect of 25% follow-on.

Apply this to, for example, another 300 MAJOR infulencers and bloggers in this space (which is around 0.001% of MIR site traffic), you end up with a silly figure of 5.6MILLION people reviewing and recommending Clickatell. This is ridiculous of course because there aren't even that many people working in this industry.

So lets cool down the figures more.

Lets take 10% of my sum and look at 500,000 people.

Looking into this a bit closer this morning, it is interesting how a tenth of my halved figures is spookily similar to their site traffic yet entirely unrelated to clicks from MIR.

In summary, I am going to say this, as an addition to Ewan's open letter:

“As an expert in the mobile field, I have reason to believe that Mobile Industry Review has triggered at least half of the awareness and conversations about Clickatell in the European Mobile Industry and at least double digit percentage of the conversations about Clickatell's offering in the Global Mobile Industry.”

What could happen now is for one or more of thier competitors to take thier place as being front of mind….If you are reading this and you ARE a competitor to Clickatell, I would strongly recommend contacting Ewan. Today. Before someone else does.

The marketing people at Clickatell will report that the site traffic is still pretty constant and claim there is nothing to worry about.

However – as I hope I have illustrated above – the effect that cannot be judged by clicks is the effect that counts. The measurement of that effect isn't standard in current methodology and I will take a punt at it not existing in the skill set of the Clickatell marketing team – hence this comment falling on deaf ears.

But it will be in their skill set one day I hope. Lets pray that by that point, the industry still knows who they are.

Interestingly, I only know about Clickatell due to its appearence on this very site.

Were it not for MIR over the last year+ I wouldn't have been aware of them at all.

I have mentioned Clickatell infront of thousands of infuencers and decision makers at conferences all over the world as I have analysed the players in the mobile space.

Over the last 2 months alone, your piece about Clickatell's award bounty (http://mobileindustry.wpengine.com/2008/11/cli…), I forwarded to an interest group mailout I am in, that has over 6k senior executives in the Global digital space who control budgets collectively over $100m.

The word of mouth and link forwarding efforts that I have done alone, could be termed as extreme targeted marketing.

Everyone who I have mentioned Clickatell to (from my discovery on your site), has been in the target market for Clickatell. I haven't charged them a bean.

Back of a fag packet, I reckon that in the last 14 months, at the VERY least, 10k people have received information from me (originally from you Ewan), advocating Clickatell, and lets say 50% of those tell 3 people each, and 5% of those tell one other person each we have:

10,000 + (50%)5,000 + (x3)15,000 + (50%)7500

This comes to 37,500 people being aware and speaking about Clickatell – in my perhaps slightly bullish word-of-mouth assumption of 50% follow on.

But lets cool down the numbers from the above. Lets make this more robust.

Imagine my numbers are twice too much.

Lets halve it to 18,750 people. Essentially the effect of 25% follow-on.

Apply this to, for example, another 300 MAJOR infulencers and bloggers in this space (which is around 0.001% of MIR site traffic), you end up with a silly figure of 5.6MILLION people reviewing and recommending Clickatell. This is ridiculous of course because there aren't even that many people working in this industry.

So lets cool down the figures more.

Lets take 10% of my sum and look at 500,000 people.

Looking into this a bit closer this morning, it is interesting how a tenth of my halved figures is spookily similar to their site traffic yet entirely unrelated to clicks from MIR.

In summary, I am going to say this, as an addition to Ewan's open letter:

“As an expert in the mobile field, I have reason to believe that Mobile Industry Review has triggered at least half of the awareness and conversations about Clickatell in the European Mobile Industry and at least double digit percentage of the conversations about Clickatell's offering in the Global Mobile Industry.”

What could happen now is for one or more of thier competitors to take thier place as being front of mind….If you are reading this and you ARE a competitor to Clickatell, I would strongly recommend contacting Ewan. Today. Before someone else does.

The marketing people at Clickatell will report that the site traffic is still pretty constant and claim there is nothing to worry about.

However – as I hope I have illustrated above – the effect that cannot be judged by clicks is the effect that counts. The measurement of that effect isn't standard in current methodology and I will take a punt at it not existing in the skill set of the Clickatell marketing team – hence this comment falling on deaf ears.

But it will be in their skill set one day I hope. Lets pray that by that point, the industry still knows who they are.

jMac while I agree with most of your sentiment, especially the fact that (whatever the exact numbers) Clickatell’s current levels of awareness owe much to the sponsorship of MIR, as an industry we have to be a little bit careful publicly preaching to clients.

We are all very confident about the significance of what we do. How without marketing (advertising, PR, sponsorship, events etc etc) companies would simply disappear from view and eventually fail. And how we, the consultants and people in the agencies are the only people who can properly take these companies forward.

While that is often true, what we can’t do is tell these companies how to spend their money. I would love more people to take on my agency for their PR (http://www.joshuapr.com) or sponsor my blog (http://www.smsisthenewblack.co.uk), yet I understand that for some companies it’s not appropriate.

Maybe Clickatell have had their exposure risen so high from the MIR sponsorship that they have currently got more leads than they can handle. Maybe they have taken the decision to focus on their current customers and grow organically. Maybe they are scaling back activities in Europe. Ewan doesn’t say and I guess they haven’t told him, but all of those seem like sensible reasons to halt the sponsorship of MIR.

I’m sure Ewan is disappointed, but I think the tone is exactly right in his letter – thanks and good luck.

jMac – “But it will be in their skill set one day I hope. Lets pray that by that point, the industry still knows who they are.”

Maybe it is in their skillset, maybe it isn't. But for whatever reason they have decided not to renew their MIR sponsorship and I'm sure they know their own company better than you, me or Ewan do.

I sometimes feel that as an industry that we are too quick to tell clients how much they need us – yet for clients it's a big expense and *sometimes* they don't need us. Unfortunately.

Btw – they're not a client of mine and I have only heard of them through the MIR sponsorship too.

….and there was me ending on hopes and prayers in the (evidently incorrect) assumption it was a non-combative positive note.

Cant win 'em all I guess.

I stand 100% by what I said 🙂

Hey Ewan,

Sorry to hear they dropped the sponsorship – what a bust. This has always been a good place to be, so I find it strange that they would pull out. Perhaps they feel the campaign has reached a level where exposure has kind of peaked. Perhaps it is now marginally diminishing? Very difficult to establish that though, in fact it's impossible.

I'm sure there are a lot of factors in play though, and I doubt very much that the monthly sponsorship was the issue. Although, there is basically an entire new marketing team, and they might feel differently regarding web- advertising as a whole… Who knows.

But if they start measuring in clicks only, I seriously doubt the competency of the team. As any online campaign needs to be in certain areas to increase immeasurable exposure….. Sometimes the gut-feel is what you need to listen to, and not the numbers 🙂

Hey Ewan,

Sorry to hear they dropped the sponsorship – what a bust. This has always been a good place to be, so I find it strange that they would pull out. Perhaps they feel the campaign has reached a level where exposure has kind of peaked. Perhaps it is now marginally diminishing? Very difficult to establish that though, in fact it's impossible.

I'm sure there are a lot of factors in play though, and I doubt very much that the monthly sponsorship was the issue. Although, there is basically an entire new marketing team, and they might feel differently regarding web- advertising as a whole… Who knows.

But if they start measuring in clicks only, I seriously doubt the competency of the team. As any online campaign needs to be in certain areas to increase immeasurable exposure….. Sometimes the gut-feel is what you need to listen to, and not the numbers 🙂

Hey Ewan,

Sorry to hear they dropped the sponsorship – what a bust. This has always been a good place to be, so I find it strange that they would pull out. Perhaps they feel the campaign has reached a level where exposure has kind of peaked. Perhaps it is now marginally diminishing? Very difficult to establish that though, in fact it's impossible.

I'm sure there are a lot of factors in play though, and I doubt very much that the monthly sponsorship was the issue. Although, there is basically an entire new marketing team, and they might feel differently regarding web- advertising as a whole… Who knows.

But if they start measuring in clicks only, I seriously doubt the competency of the team. As any online campaign needs to be in certain areas to increase immeasurable exposure….. Sometimes the gut-feel is what you need to listen to, and not the numbers 🙂

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