Martech Interview with Ryan Berman, Founder & CEO, Tall Bob

TallBob stands as the most trusted partner for SMS/MMS, Mobile Engagement, & Mobile Analytics in all of Australia. Ryan Berman, the CEO shares his perspectives about personalization and its role in mobile marketing.

Personalised messages and experiences can really build loyalty when you plan and understand engagement.

1. VidCorp recently rebranded to Tall Bob. What drove this change?
VidCorp has been around for a decade now, and over that time, we cemented ourselves as the premium mobile engagement and analytics gateway here in Australia. The business was initially developed to send video content, TV commercials to customers and CEO video messages to staff. However, customers only thought of us to send video via SMS, when in actual fact we did so much more. We can distribute video content, surveys, augmented reality, gamification solutions, web pages, you name it – all via SMS. We were so much more than ‘VidCorp’ and we needed customers to know we were more than a video SMS platform.
Over the years, our tech developed, our team grew and we acquired companies like ThirdScreen. While a rebrand can be intimidating, our decision was easy – it was time to stand tall and stand out! We wanted to match our identity with our ture product and service offering. Firstly, “Tall” represents the notion of standing high above any other mobile engagement platform here in Australia and secondly, “Bob”, because we offer a personalised experience. “Bob” is like your uncle or your aunt who you trust wholeheartedly. Our speciality is creating tailored, unique messaging that makes the recipient feel like it
was created specifically for them.
We knew our visual look and feel needed to change to ensure we presented ourselves as modern, innovative and creative – and VidCorp was simply dated. Our new name and brand identity plays to the visually impactful medium of the mobile phone, which is the heart and soul of who we are as an organisation and we’ve had an amazing response from our clients and industry community so far.

2. What are the common pain points that mobile marketing solves?
The gold standard in marketing and communications is the personal touch. But, in an increasingly automated world, it can feel that the messages you receive from a brand are bulk-sent, or ‘batch-and-blast’.

Personalised messages and experiences can really build loyalty when you plan and understand engagement.

It takes an ordinary message and makes it something special and authentic. Our strategy and discovery process is thorough and we pride ourselves on collaborating with our customers. We use 20 years of knowledge to produce data-driven results and know which specific tools, links and interactions that motivate recipients to act and ultimately this results in activity and engagement with that brand. I’ve also found that many businesses still don’t understand the analytics behind mobile engagement. Back in the day, it was almost impossible to measure the cut through that messaging has. We’ve pioneered tech that measures what a person does in response to receiving an SMS. The way Tall Bob separates itself in the market is via our unique data and analytics service. We don’t just send many messages, we deliver engagement data and information to better analyse a campaign. We have continually helped organisations grow and achieve their business objectives, whether that’s driving advocacy, sales, demonstrating new product lines, loyalty programs, internal communication, or reducing operational costs.

3. Why should brands create an omnichannel engagement strategy?
Brands should be considering omnichannel marketing to improve their customer loyalty and retention rates, and that means using a mixture of all communication tools at the right time. Truly customer-led engagement is a never-ending puzzle, and matching the data to the systems and tools to consistently surprise and delight customers for repeat business is every communicators challenge. One time consumers are both expensive to attract and convert – we want people to have a great experience and keep coming back for more with increasing loyalty and advocacy. It’s been proven over the years that omnichannel marketing improves the customer experience and omnichannel mobile engagement reaches people in the palm of their hands with a near-frictionless experience. There is not a single channel that every recipient wants, and preferences constantly change. Some people like mobile, others like email, whilst others still prefer paper mail – but whichever method the recipient prefers, you need to find the right data to give you that information, ultimately improving your ROI on that particular channel – we help you make the most of that mobile opportunity so that people both trust and appreciate their messages.

4. How can marketers create personalised messages that their audience can connect with?
We’ve sent billions of messages for hundreds/thousands of campaigns/businesses. We know that people don’t mind receiving messages from brands when content they’re receiving is interesting and relevant to them. By crafting unique messaging that demonstrate an understanding of an individual customers’ wants and needs, mobile messaging opens the door to higher engagement and generally better conversions. Personalisation can be as simple as a name and location, through to reminders for a repeat purchase or birthday rewards. Brilliant personalisation comes from a thorough CRM linked to customer communication engines, like Tall Bob.

5. About 90 per cent of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile. What does it say about mobile marketing?
This clearly indicates that people have their phones with them 24/7. It’s convenient. It’s usually within a metre of your reach and almost everyone has one if not two. Mobile marketing is here and is here to stay. There is no doubt that this is a good way to connect with a wide pool of consumers. However, there’s no way to personalise messages through Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. It’s the new age version of ‘mass-marketing’, like broadcast TV was. Yes, it may reach a lot of people but the question brands need to ask is “who” is it reaching? Are they the right type of customer? Is the message cutting through or is it just “another ad” that was easily swiped past. Yes, social is brilliant for the awareness and consideration layers of the marketing funnel, but it falls down in he personalisation and conversion layer – or when your audience isn’t on the app. It’s why direct communications continues to work, and why SMS and MMS messages cut through so well – they’re simple, everyone has SMS on their phone, and it’s part of your everyday social engagement. Our tailored engagement experiences cannot be achieved via broadcast social media. That’s where we stand out! Our tools provide unique, and app-like ways for people to be active in the conversation, not just part of a faceless audience. It’s why we can see how a membership organisation sees their messages on-forwarded for a click-thru rate of over 1200%. We’ve seen that our returns are higher for brands because consumers feel as though the message has been created for them specifically.

6. What are some of the best tactics for mobile advertising in 2022?
The top tactic that I personally (and the team are) recommending this year is perennial – be known, be clear, be succinct, be personal and be compliant. Particularly with political elections looming, and an increase in spamming senders, respect, privacy and data usage should be at the front of the mind for all sender brands. Consumers are very well aware of the ‘unsubscribe’ feature these days and have no problem opting out of messaging services that don’t know them. Doing your customer demographic research has never been more important, and making sure your data is squeaky-clean is vital. That said, creativity is key. Some of the most effective campaigns we’ve rolled out are those that think outside the box and ‘entertain’ as an example – using MMS, scratchies, videos, a survey. We’ve seen TikTok’s short videos and Instagram photos proving successful because visual assets work. By showing creativity visually or in a tactile way, brands can expect more positive responses and it shows that your company is putting their best foot forward.

7. How does SMS marketing boost revenue?
SMS and MMS hold a unique position in boosting revenue with its near-real time cut-thru and capacity to convert with clean links. Consider the last time you abandoned a shopping cart online. The limited-time re-engagement email can fall into spam or promotions folders if they’re spotted at all. The Google alert may be switched off, but a well-timed SMS or MMS reminder to return to purchase, with short-term discount and cart link will pull a customer back – on the train, on the couch, even if they weren’t really ready to convert. The ability to specifically target individuals to the palm of the hand with a relatively low cost channel with fast-response means that more of your customers are returning – not just casting a wide net for retargeting audiences.

8. What should businesses look for in a mobile marketing platform?
People should definitely consider where their mobile marketing company is located and who they service as a start. Do they understand the local market? Do they know the local laws and regulations around privacy? By using someone local, it’s more likely that trust is built with consumers. We’ve all received a
mass marketing message from someone overseas and it’s immediately off-putting. And, while there’s many companies, often owned by major internationals that boast about having thousands of customers, and sending billions of messages, we believe in delivering messages and making our years of expertise available to our customers. The true power of mobile messaging is the combination of art and science – great communication and the analytics that explain why it’s great and works. And, that’s what will make your customers read your messages again, and again. Another thing to consider is whether or not the mobile marketing platform can optimise and connect with the brand’s technology. It’s all well and good to send a message but if the consumer has to do all of the
work to then engage with the brand, that may result in a lost customer. By ensuring optimisation is put in place and strong tech is developed, you can make sure all of the hard work is done and consumers just have to click away.

9. Is predictive analytics the future of digital marketing? What are the possible use cases?
Without accurate data and analytics, digital marketing becomes somewhat irrelevant. At Tall Bob, our offering extends beyond distributing a brand’s message – that’s just the beginning. We provide thorough data and analytics so we can ensure brands know more about the buying and engagement behaviours of their customers. Data and analytics also provide a competitive advantage for brands. By using these results, Tall Bob has been able to help brands identify ways to better serve their given market, cut down operational costs and also build better products and service offerings.

10. How has your journey been as the CEO of Tall Bob?
It’s been interesting, to say the least! It’s been exciting and challenging but I believe persistence is key. I have always had a passion for technology and innovation. What can we do in our field to make life that little bit easier? How can we assist brands so they are consistently and creatively connecting with their ideal customers? It’s taken a decade to cement our position as a key leader in the field of mobile engagement and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. The team I work with are outstanding and we are evolving daily to move with the technology developing around us. I’ve noticed that there has been considerable consolidation of the mobile engagement industry over the years. Other companies have tried to do what we do, but many sell out for quantity over quality engagement. We’ve grown our company in Australia, and help many internationally with as many brands as possible so that every business can benefit from the power of brilliant mobile engagement.

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Ryan Berman is a Founder & CEO of Tall Bob as a SMS & Mobile Engagement Expert

Unimpressed with the lack of creativity behind mobile messaging, Tall Bob set out to bring an unrivalled level of personalisation and engagement to the channel. We’d seen it happen to email, social media and countless instant messaging apps, but SMS wasn’t getting much love in the way of innovation.

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