Friday, May 24, 2024
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    MEET THE PEOPLE Léon Dijksman, COO, Sam Media

    Léon Dijksman is an independent digital marketing consultant and the COO at Sam Media. He has 27 years of experience leading sales organisations to exceed revenue and profit goals. As an independent consultant, he helps entrepreneurs to develop, optimise and realise their digital marketing strategy. Dijksman is a true industry veteran with a strong background in digital transformation and e-commerce. He is an expert team builder, negotiator, and sales strategist.

    What does your company do?

    Sam Media connects the world to premium digital services. As a leader in innovation, it is our mission to make digital products accessible to everybody, on any device type. We are growing our reach by using alternative payment solutions, such as PSMS, DCB and mobile wallets. This way our suite of products can be enjoyed by all users, even those who don’t have access to traditional payment methods. We develop browser based digital services and mobile apps, such as e-learning services, interactive entertainment portals and even a mobile metaverse product.

    Which countries or regions do you feel represent the greatest opportunity for your telemedia services in 2023?

    We are running our services already in 47 countries, having a decent footprint in Asia, Europe and Africa, but the Americas is new territory to us. Earlier this year we launched our first service in Peru, and more will follow.

    To what extent has the pandemic affected your customer’s behaviour and have you been able to explore new opportunities as a result?

    Months before the pandemic forced millions of people to stay at home, we launched Mobio360, a mobile streaming service that offers fully immersive digital experiences. The timing was perfect, because it really offered a window to the world. From guided tours to world cities, to adrenaline-fueled extreme sports and activities in hundreds of exotic locations. It was exactly the kind of content people were looking for at that time. You had to cancel your trip to New York, but at the same time, you could still visit the city, and see the artworks you were supposed to admire in the virtual version of the museum, thanks to Mobio360. No wonder we won a MEFFY Award in the category Richer Mobile Customer Engagement. Again, the timing was perfect and our customer base was growing rapidly.

    What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome?

    The increased consumption of digital content was actually the biggest challenge the pandemic brought. We had to optimise streaming services and increase our capacity rapidly.

    What did you learn from the pandemic?

    The pandemic taught us just how busy everyone’s lives are outside of the office. Once the restrictions were lifted we used the transition back to the office as a powerful moment to remind our team to respect the life they live both inside and outside of work. The sense of collaboration, support and, creativity they may get from being in the office is an important aspect of being successful. Ever since we mix in-office and remote work to offer more flexibility and support to employees.

    Which content and/or applications do you see being the most likely to benefit from telemedia billing technologies?

    Gaming, video, music, gambling, ticketing, lifestyle content and ePublishing.

    Do you think that Direct Carrier Billing can become mainstream and in which markets?

    That depends on the country. More specifically it depends on the attitude of the mobile network operators in a market. In Germany, MNOs have taken major steps. They joined forces to position carrier billing as a mature payment method, including the roll-out of a branding strategy. There you can already rent a scooter or buy a can of Coke with carrier billing. But there are also markets that still lack a solid positioning of carrier billing yet. For example, markets where carrier billing still suffers from a bad image caused by fraud.

    How do you balance payment flows, operator relationships and customer satisfaction?

    That is pretty easy. As a content provider, we want a satisfied customer, just like the operators. We also prefer an opt-in-flow that is easy, but at the same time sufficiently transparent. If customers say they joined by accident, or didn’t realize that our service costs money, it’s not clear enough. We prefer flows with a verification, such as an OTP.

    What are the key drivers and inhibitors for growth?

    Insight and data are the engines of growth and innovation. As a data driven company we want to know what the customer wants, and data Is giving us that insight. Another key driver are the people who make Sam Media. Our organisation is not just a building, it’s a creative team that understands the way ahead. Our employees have digital and growth hacking competency and know how to collaborate. Scalability is of course essential for growth, but the labour market has gone a bit crazy. While our company grows rapidly, many of the new positions we’re creating don’t have large pipelines of experienced candidates.

    Is SMS future proof?

    Years ago people thought SMS had been pretty much phased out. The rise of the smartphone and messenger applications like WhatsApp seemed to be the end of the SMS era. But the power of SMS never gone away. SMS messages can be delivered to anyone with a cellphone and a GSM signal. So no 4G or WiFi is needed for global reach. SMS has no spam folder and sending and receiving doesn’t depend on an internet connection. Bulk SMS is much cheaper than other means of communication. The open rates of SMS messages are many times higher than those of other channels. Two-factor authentication and one-time password via SMS are a low-threshold way to ensure data security. And last, but not least, SMS is easy to integrate.

    Do you see affiliate marketing being a primary, trusted channel for telemedia propositions or do you think alternative routes to market will become more popular?

    Affiliate marketing leaves a brand at risk for exposure to fraud, and brand misrepresentation such as ads appearing adjacent to brand-inappropriate content. Sam Media’s experienced team of media buyers knows how to reach millions of consumers by acquiring quality traffic from search engines, social media and trusted publishers.

    Is the industry doing enough to combat fraud and tackle cyber security?

    Wherever transactions and billing are happening on a larger scale, there’s a growing likelihood that fraudsters will attempt to take a piece of the pie. Carrier billing has been no exception. These threats evolve, and the tools that defend against them mirror those changes. Together with our partners we are always on top of cyber security, and we see more and more people in our industry taking cyber seriously.

    Finally, your words of wisdom: On a more personal level, what is the most inspiring piece of advice that has seen you through a life in business to this day and who gave that advice to you?

    My first employer was a real mentor and I learned a lot from him. One of the many inspiring things he taught me is that the bad news is time flies, but the good news is you’re the pilot.

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