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Report shows challenge of bringing mobile money to the masses

Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU), a programme supported by the GSM Association and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has produced a document outlining why the number of users of mobile money services in the developing world has yet to match the rise in the range of services available.

In ‘Driving Customer Usage of Mobile Money for the Unbanked’, MMU has identified the key challenges that operators have faced when it comes to encouraging the unbanked to use mobile money and identifies marketing tactics that have been effective in overcoming them.

With nearly 100 mobile money services now deployed, the industry is increasingly focused on this challenge of persuasion, the report explains.

Operators have encountered significant challenges in customer activation, such as:

  • Customers are aware of the mobile money service, but do not understand how it could be beneficial to them;
  • Customers get bogged down in the registration process and never try the product;
  • Customers don’t understand the mechanics of performing transactions and are apprehensive to try something so novel as mobile money;
  • Customers don’t trust the operator’s brand or network and are hesitant to conduct financial services on the platform.

By identifying the learning process for users, showing the stages required to take them towards being “habitual” users of the technology, to producing a detailed market analysis which will help providers create effective marketing strategies, MMU has produced a document which outlines the many nuances of marketing mobile money to the unbanked.

“A key theme of the article is that marketing mobile money is very different from marketing airtime,” explains document co-author Neil Davidson.

“Indeed, the customer journey for mobile money from unawareness to regular use is long and requires a number of inputs: Customers need to not only be informed that the service exists, but also convinced that it could solve a problem in their lives and educated about how it works.

“We discuss tactics that marketers can employ when customers get stuck along this journey, such as when they have registered but fail to transact, and we have included a diagnostic as a supplement to the article to help operators diagnose and rectify such issues among their potential customer base.”

The article includes 27 mini-case studies about effective — and some less effective — mobile money marketing tactics. The full document can be downloaded here (PDF).

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