Marketing in the mobile space is clearly the hot topic as we finish out 2012, as evidenced by the CMO Council’s “Engage At Every Stage” study on mobile relationship marketing (MRM), as well as this month’s Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 event and The Smarties Awards, held at Advertising Week, in New York City.
According to Liz Miller, the CMO Council’s VP of marketing programs and operations, “In 2012, 14% of the global population and 37% of the United States population are using smartphones, and, by 2016, those numbers will grow to 30% and 59%, respectively. Mobile usage is the only media that has continually increased in ‘time spent’ since 2008, almost doubling through 2011.”
Despite these real behavioral transformations in people’s smartphone adoption and usage patterns, there continues to be a gap in the marketing community’s understanding of and reaction to these facts. Based on the CMO Council’s study, which surveyed 250-plus global marketers:
- Only 14% are satisfied with their ability to interact effectively with today's global mobile consumers.
- Only 37% are evaluating mobile performance.
- Only 24% intend to develop content that is unique for the mobile channel, and 40% will repurpose existing online content and make it more accessible for mobile devices.
- 51% see their results as “good” to “moderate,” but only 4% see their investment as being very effective.
At the same time this CMO Council study became available, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) had already released its own research that, similarly, pointed out that the marketing community is trailing consumers’ behavior when it comes to mobile. According to the MMA, on average only 1% of media-mix budgets are being allocated to mobile. The overall implication is that marketers are losing out on influencing millions of their current and potential customers by underinvesting in mobile. Since many CMOs are now accountable for revenue generation, they could be leaving revenue on the table by not fully engaging these consumers. What’s more, laggard marketing leaders are in danger of falling behind their competitors who are experimenting and learning to successfully market in the mobile space.
"Over the past few years, we have seen a sharp increase in mobile adoption around the world," said Greg Stuart, the MMA’s global CEO. "In fact, with more than 75% of the world owning at least one mobile device, it is safe to say that mobile is a global movement to unite brand and consumer via relevant and powerful outreach.” At the MMA’s recent SM2 conference, Stuart explained, it was mentioned that 2012 is the “Year of Mobile,” but he suggested that it is really the “Age of Mobile,” as demonstrated by many businesses declaring themselves as “mobile-first.”
“Facebook, Pandora, ESPN, The Weather Channel, and many more are embracing the advantages that mobile provides to move closer to the consumer,” he said. “They blueprint their entire business strategy with mobile at the helm. The MMA is committed to providing research, evidence, and best-in-class case studies to highlight the opportunity of mobile as the most intimate, pervasive, and powerful media channel, bar none."
Michael Becker, the MMA’s managing director, North America, amplified these points. "The introduction of mobile caused irrevocable change in consumer behavior and sparked a social movement of connectivity," he said. "But rather than viewing mobile as a hurdle, marketers should see this as an opportunity to move closer to the customer and yield unprecedented brand growth.”
Becker noted that we are now society of multiscreens, looking for brand engagement from our smartphones, tablets, televisions, computers, and other devices. While marketers historically integrated mobile as an afterthought, many brands are switching their strategies and adopting a “mobile-first” vision because life is a mobile experience, and consumers want to be engaged in a rich, real-time environment. “Mobile is not just a check box on a list of channels,” Becker said. “It is the most powerful platform to connect with consumers." (Editor’s Note: Earlier this month CMO.com caught up with Michael Becker at Advertising Week, in New York City, to get some more of his views on mobile marketing. The video of that interview is on Adobe TV and can be seen here.)
The CMO Council’s “Engage At Every Stage” study similarly noted that “a comprehensive mobile relationship marketing (MRM) strategy is critical to develop a fully connected, mobile relationship to gain competitive advantage.” What marketing is currently failing to fully embrace, the report said, is the heightened relationship building and interactivity that advancement of an end-to-end mobile relationship can achieve. Mobile has emerged as “another channel”–but is being used as a “push” channel for marketing messaging. Unlike traditional push channels, however, marketers see mobile as an opportunity to send these one-direction messages to a narrower and targeted audience set.
“Some people will look at mobile and say that it is just another tool, albeit a more cost-effective, immediate, and targeted tool," the CMO Council’s Miller said. "They may even say mobile isn't a seismic shift in engagement in the same way that social was. But I would argue that social was the start of the shift in that it got the consumer talking back to, and talking about, brands. But mobile is the continuation of this ultimate shift in the relationship. Mobile is why we are moving from a business-to-business or business-to-consumer model into a consumer-to-business era, in which the consumer initiates the engagement with us. . .and they define where and when they want to engage.”
The CMO Council study also noted that, while marketers’ interest around mobile is high, skepticism still exists. Many marketers think that today’s mobile channel is filled with false claims, unmet expectations, a lack of visibility, and a general lack of best practice leaders. The survey found that:
- 77% of marketers would like to see more case studies of best practices or success stories.
- 48% would like to see less complexity and carrier control of the mobile ecosystem.
- 30% complain of false claims by providers and vendors.
- 36% are demanding more visibility and accountability of providers and vendors in the marketplace.
Concluded the MMA’s Stuart: "What was discovered in the CMO Council’s ‘Engage at Every Stage’ study is that mobile matters, and mobile has been identified by business leaders as a vital growth engine. There is no channel outside of mobile that offers the same immediacy, intimacy, and reach to move brands closer to consumers. That is the power of mobile marketing."
For more mobile-marketing insight, read related article, "Sources For Mobile Insights And Best Practices."