Lack of Staff, Strategy, Top Obstacles to Mobile Marketing

Smartphones now account for almost half of all wireless devices in use by mobile users and with that, the adoption of mobile marketing programs continues to gain strength. Even so, there are important challenges holding businesses back from executing the programs, including a lack of resources and a well thought out strategy, according to a new survey from StrongMail.

Some 45% of respondents have adopted mobile marketing with 57% executing the programs for 12 months or less, 29% for one-to-two years and only 14% for three years or more.

The most popular forms of mobile marketing are mobile websites (70%), mobile applications (55%) and QR codes (49%), the survey found.

The top obstacle is a lack of strategy cited by 37% of the businesses, followed by a lack of resources and staff at 22%, and “not appropriate for our business” at 19%.

Mobile marketing budgets remain a small fraction of overall interactive budgets, with 54% of businesses allocating 5% or less to mobile programs. Nearly a quarter of businesses reported less than 1% allocated to mobile. A lack of funding was cited by 12% of respondents as the obstacle in executing mobile programs. On the positive side, 55% report increased budgets over the past year.

“I don’t think that the market is really fundamentally sure what they want to do with mobile marketing and that’s been the case with mobile for a long time,” Kara Trivunovic, vice president of agency services at StrongMail, said. “The proliferation of smart phones and devices has forced marketers to look at it from the standpoint of rendering an engagement. The flip side is, what do you want to do with that as a marketing or communication channel and that’s where marketers are getting stuck. They are not sure how consumers will feel about it and what’s the measurement of success.”

Even so, 59% of respondents believe that a mobile program could help them increase sales, 52% said it could improve customer service while nearly 50% of respondents reported that a strong mobile program would increase brand awareness. Forty-five percent said the programs could help acquire new customers.

While marketers are integrating mobile into various components of their campaigns, this survey focused on the state of integrating mobile into email programs.

Some 43% of businesses have achieved some level of integration between their email marketing and mobile marketing programs, but with mobile landing pages (32%), mobile number capture at email sign-up (25%) and mobile optimized templates (22%) being the top areas of focus.

Only 27% are running cross-channel, lifecycle marketing programs that include mobile messaging. Similarly, only 29% have used mobile response data to optimize offers in email or other channels.

Methodology: The global survey was conducted in April 2012 with more than 800 business leaders.

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