It’s the year of mobile… again

At the end of each year, us marketers love to foretell the major trends for the coming 12 months. If you have read any of these marketing predictions in the past five years it’s a pretty safe bet that it will have heard that this year is going to be ‘the year of mobile’. I can guarantee 2013 will be no different.

So why then, has mobile not been embraced? We know with certainty that the future of marketing communication is centred around mobile. How do we know that? Because that’s where the customers are. Australia has one of the highest penetration rates for smartphones in the world. We are literally addicted to our mobile phones and use them for… well, just about everything. Shopping, chatting, directing, conversing, complaining, reviewing… and the list goes on.

So if the audience is there, why in Australia do we spend less than 1% of marketing budgets on mobile? The reasons are many.

Firstly, the comprehension of mobile is low. Speaking recently at a marketing forum in Melbourne I asked for a show of hands from people who are doing or investing in mobile marketing. Only one person out of an audience of 120 raised her hand and admitted to “recently trying text marketing”. She added that it didn’t work as “we only got a 10% response rate and the majority of those were asking to opt-out!”

Goodness – if that is our interpretation of mobile marketing we are in more trouble than previously thought!

Secondly, mobile marketing is vast and not technologically simple. It ranges from the ‘obvious’ such as mobile-enabled websites to the ‘growing’, such as mobile apps, to the ‘simply too far ahead to contemplate’, including near-field communication and augmented reality. Marketers cannot embark on these ventures by themselves. It requires expertise and technical capability to really deliver a mobile experience. This in turn requires investment.

Which leads to the third point. Making the investment in mobile marketing requires courage. Why? Because we are venturing into unchartered territory. We know we need to be in mobile, but we don’t necessarily know what is going to work for our company…and what is not. How many brands are brave enough to take the investment leap into mobile when they could equally spend the marketing budget on channels they know deliver results. At the moment, the answer is ‘not many’.

Will that change in 2013? It has to. The technology is there. The audience is there. Now we need the brave new marketers to be there too.

 

Jodie Sangster
BY Jodie Sangster ON 28 November 2012
CEO at ADMA – the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising