Adventures in Mobile Marketing
Move over Goliath! SMBs are getting into the mobile gameNovember 2009 By Hallie Mummert
While the industry buzzed and buzzed this year about social media (often using social media to do so!), another marketing discipline was steadily convincing a growing group of marketers to divert funds from offline channels. And while it likely will take another year or two to mature into a major player on the marketing front, mobile marketing has been putting up some convincing numbers.
Let's start with Forrester Research's projected increase in spending from $391 million this year to $950 million by 2012. That's a pretty quick investment pace—even considering that Forrester analyst Shar Van Boskirk had initially anticipated an even larger shift, which was adjusted down because of the economic impact on budgets.
But the metric that's clearly driving interest in this channel is ROMI. According to Why It Pays to Go Mobile, a report published in August 2009 by Aberdeen Group Research Fellow Jeff Zabin, best-in-class companies are 1.6 times more satisfied with their ROMI for mobile marketing programs. Such success, in turn, is leading the majority (62 percent) to increase their budgets for mobile efforts while they pull back or eliminate investments in other marketing activities.
"The ability to more effectively manage the three stages of the customer lifecycle—customer acquisition, customer retention and customer profitability—speak not only to some of the most compelling benefits that can be realized through mobile marketing activities but also to the core value drivers of practically any company competing in today's business environment," Zabin writes.
Michael Ahearn, vice president of marketing at iLoop Mobile, a provider of mobile services and technology in San Jose, Calif., points out that where consumer use trends go, marketers naturally follow. "After the CTIA show, I looked over their new report, and we're pretty much at 90 percent penetration for mobile subscribers for the total U.S. population," he says. "Marketers want to be able to reach and communicate their messages to consumers on the device that is most important to them."
What's more, Ahearn explains, the phone obviously has gone from something that was just a voice device to where the data use is more important. People are accessing their e-mail on their mobile devices more than they do on their laptops, and Internet usage on mobile devices is approaching the 30 percent penetration rate in the U.S. for everyday use.
As the mobile device becomes more ubiquitous in people's daily lives, the potential for marketing efforts that serve audiences' needs grows, too. Case in point, JupiterResearch estimates that by 2011 more than $87 billion in sales will be generated by mobile coupons.