By Gordon Plutsky published June 2, 2011

New Mobile Marketing Study: What it Means for Content Marketers

With the wild popularity of mobile marketing, you’d figure most marketers would already have a mobile marketing strategy in place, right?

Wrong.

In fact, a recent online survey found only 33 percent of companies now have a mobile marketing strategy. However, an additional 62 percent of businesses plan to launch a mobile marketing strategy over the next 12 months.

The “Mobile Marketing: Plans, Trends and Measurability” survey was conducted by King Fish Media in partnership with Junta42, Maxymiser and Hubspot (Note: Registration is required).  More than 560 marketers and corporate executives participated in the online survey conducted in April. The survey revealed several other interesting trends about mobile marketing that are happening now and over the next year.

Mobile marketing has potential to build relationships

Sixty-four percent of survey respondents say the biggest upside of mobile marketing is its use as a relationship-building tool. While the actual monetization of mobile marketing is taking off slowly, opportunities exist to leverage apps to deliver tools, content and brand messages that can lead to customer sales.   Getting customers to download an app and claiming a piece of real estate on their mobile phones is one-to-one marketing at its finest.

The focus on relationships may explain the prevalence of the most popular content types, both now and over the next 12 months: Social networking, branded content distribution, email capabilities, geo-location/maps and general reference.

Android and iPad apps are gaining traction

The iPhone is currently the dominant platform for mobile apps, and nearly 75 percent of companies are developing iPhone apps. However, the Android and iPad apps are expected to see the strongest growth over the next year. Apps for the iPhone and Blackberry are expected to be flat. Interestingly, 68% of companies have no plans to develop apps using the Windows operating system.

Mobile spending to increase

Currently, only 12% of a company’s marketing spend is on mobile, but the vast majority of survey respondents (82%) plan to increase their spending on mobile over the next year, with an average spend estimated to be 19% of the budget. While half of respondents indicated the budget for mobile would be tied to a specific project/custom media program, 30% are moving budget from mainstream marketing and advertising to fund mobile marketing projects.

Mobile ROI is slow to develop

The overall return on investment (ROI) for mobile is slow to develop:

  • Only 24% of survey respondents report the ROI for mobile programs has exceeded or performed as expected and 34 percent have not measured it.
  • Forty-one percent say future mobile marketing programs will need to show a positive return to continue them.
  • Thirty-four percent say they will be tracking ROI, but a positive return will not be required at this time.

Takeaways for content marketers

What you need to do about your mobile strategy may depend on your type of business:

  • For companies that conduct online commerce, it is critical to offer an app or mobile web site that gives customers an easy-to-use and intuitive buying process.
  • For companies that do not sell online, the question will be what is the best way to engage customers and prospects online to foster and maintain relationships.
  • Mobile commerce may not make sense for many companies, particularly B2B brands that require a long and complex buying process.

As with any content marketing initiative, it is critical to offer valuable content and utilities instead of a sales message.  Some possible applications to offer through mobile channels include:

  • Feeds of searchable content, podcasts and blogs that are dynamically updated
  • Product or store finders using the GPS feature of the phone
  • Unique videos, landing pages or content that can be accessed with a QR code
  • Ties into your customers’ accounts or loyalty programs from mobile platforms

In short, think about tactics that will help bind your company to your customer by offering value and convenience.  Mobile marketing gives you the opportunity to build and strengthen your customer relationships.

Author: Gordon Plutsky

Gordon Plutsky is the Director of Marketing and Research at King Fish Media where he partners with clients on their integrated marketing strategy and manages the social media, live event and measurement/analytics aspects of the program. Gordon writes and edits the Think Tank blog and is the host of the Kings of Content podcast. He also is a regular contributor to many leading marketing sites and conferences. Follow me on Twitter @GordonPlutsky.

Other posts by Gordon Plutsky

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