Marketers will spend 50% of their budgets on mobile by 2017, but for the moment are hampered by their lack of understanding of the medium and difficulties in quantifying return on investment, according to Experian Marketing Services.
Only 4% of the 320 marketers involved in Experian’s mobile marketing study are regularly implementing mobile marketing activities, despite a widespread belief it will be one of the most important ways to communicate with customers in the future.
Head of research and consulting at Experian, Dave Audley, puts the slow uptake of mobile down to three key reasons: a skills gap in the industry, difficulty in demonstrating ROI and the tug of war for budgets between traditional and new channels.
“There’s some confusion and difficulty when it comes to budget allocation,” Audley says. “Marketers are finding its quite difficult to quantify return on investment by channel. Organisations are reluctant or not committing to investing in the [mobile] channel just yet until they fell confident that they can measure the return that they get.”
Mobile has also added another layer of the complexity to the tug of war for budget between traditional channels and new, Audley adds. “Rather than out with the old in and with the new, organisations are looking at retaining old channels; traditional offline channels are also becoming increasingly important.
“Finding the priority to put the focus that’s needed into making a successful mobile strategy come to life is quite a challenge.”
As a result, almost six in 10 are yet to test the waters with mobile, while 41% have created a strategy but haven’t started implementing it.
When asked to rate the importance of marketing channels, 53% of marketers said face-to-face communication was one of the top three most important channels. Email was rated by 50% of marketers as a top-three channel, and social media mentioned by 42% of marketers as a top three channel.
Early adopters of mobile report good results, the study found. The vast majority of respondents believed the various mobile techniques asked in the study to be effective, with mobile-optimised websites, m-commerce and MMS emerging as the most likely to be perceived as ‘highly effective’.
Email ranked down the list slightly, while custom apps were the most likely to be perceived as ineffective.
Search, display and video pre-roll were not asked as part of the study.
Perceived effectiveness of mobile techniques among marketers
“In the next five years Experian predicts more than 50% of marketing budgets will be associated with mobile, particularly as traditional, above the line channels, such as TV and billboards become more interactive and entwined with mobile,” Audley predicts.
“Clever companies will integrate mobile with existing channels, without compromising other activity. Because mobile is cost effective, easy to implement and is nimble, it creates a dynamic platform where brands can create a two-way dialogue.”