Your Company Needs A Mobile Strategy Yesterday—And These Numbers Prove It

According to one survey, one-third of us would rather give up sex than our mobile phone. You might not believe this, but it’s all too true.

What does that tell us? Well, one of two things: either our love lives are seriously lacking, or our smartphones are more important to us than a primal human need.

I lean towards the latter more than the former, only because I’ve seen how powerful mobile marketing has been for my clients and others. Here are a few examples:

  • A mobile-based loyalty program for Maurices, a chain of women’s clothing stores, was directly responsible for jump-starting $1 million in sales in only four months.
  • A text message list helped Pacha, a New York City nightclub, realize $12,400 in additional income.
  • A Foursquare check-in campaign boosted short-term revenues at Angelo & Maxie’s, a Manhattan restaurant, by $18,000.

These are only three examples of many success stories I’ve witnessed—and yet, the really shocking statistic when it comes to mobile marketing is how few big brands are doing it. According to a report from eMarketer, mobile advertising accounted for less than 1% of worldwide ad spending in 2011.

And yet, mobile may be the most effective form of marketing available to businesses today. Here are some stats to back that statement up:

* Smartphone coupon usage increased by more than 100% in 2011 and is expected to do the same this year.
* More than 788 million mobile-only Internet users are projected to be in play by 2015. Moreover, mobile web browsing will surpass desktop browsing as well.
* By that same year, mobile users are expected to spend at least $119 billion in mobile commerce annually.

Mark Donovan, senior VP of mobile marketing at comScore, had this to say in a recent Forbes article: "With nearly 86 million Americans now shopping on their smartphones, this pronounced shift in consumer behavior is simply too large for retailers to ignore, with the future of their business depending on how well they adapt to the new environment."

Here are the facts behind why a mobile strategy should be an integral part of any company’s marketing plans:

* Mobile interaction is the Internet 3.0. If Internet 1.0 was static websites and Internet 2.0 was all about the first social sites designed for interaction, 3.0 is now about the mobile platforms and apps that are driving more and more online traffic and more customized user experiences. As noted above, there will be a huge increase of mobile-only Internet users in the next few years, leading to whole new ways of web usage that demand marketers’ attention.

* Mobile goes beyond Google. Searches with QR Codes will become more and more common, primarily to seek out product information. Last year, 14 million mobile users scanned a QR code with their devices and, in Europe, QR code usage has doubled in the last 12 months.

* Email is going the way of the fax. Open rates for emails are at around 11%, while open rates for mobile phone texts are at 95%. Which rate would you rather have for your marketing message?

* Social media is going mobile. Last year, U.S. mobile social media users grew by 37%, while European users grew by 44%. Twitter and LinkedIn mobile usage also doubled in 2011.

* Moms are more mobile than everybody else. A fact that may surprise you: According to eMarketer; Moms are more likely to own a smartphone than anyone else in the population. Two-thirds of those mothers are using the mobile web on a regular basis. Another study from 2011 shows that 25% of those moms were using their mobile devices to hunt down discounts and to find coupons, and 20% were actually shopping online with their smartphones.

The trends are clear—and so is the necessary direction for all marketers. Mobile is already the best place to sell, and that advantage will only continue to grow over the next few years. There’s not much on the horizon to stop the mobile usage momentum especially since, fortunately, none of us actually have to choose sex over our smartphones.

[Image: Flickr user Phil Roeder]

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6 Comments

  • gregjarrett

    Interesting article, its more about the need for mobile activity rather than focusing on the need for strategy.  In my eyes strategy is doing the right thing, the slant here seems to be more about doing almost any kind of mobile activity would be good as its such a new market.

  • Ian Greenleigh

    I'm curious about the two "You Might Also Like" "from the web" selections at the bottom of this post. Mostly curious about how an awesome pub like FC would have a clearly off-kilter algorithmic recommendations engine sending people to posts about bikinis on another site. Yikes. 

  • BlackBeltAuntie

    These numbers sound incredibly skewed. I open 100% of the messages from my contacts, both text and email, and 0% of everything else. If advertisers want me to read their messages they need to pay for my time and compensate me for the usage of my ISP connection, phone minutes, electricity, and so forth. 

  • efhale

     The numbers are substantiated. If a marketer wants to market to you on your phone, unless they are using proximity marketing, they MUST have your permission. Thus they would be in your contacts. In fact, a company wants you to download their app on your smartphone, thereby ensuring that you and they are in quick touch with one another.
    Also, per email, many people subscribe to information points and then become less enamored or too busy to read ALL the emails sent by a publisher, and they just let it clutter their inbox or create filters which file them automatically into predesignated folders for review at a later time.
    Probably in a decade or less people won't be so hooked to mobile that they read everything. But until then it is a fantastic way for marketers and consumers to have a more social engagement. That is the plan anyway. More engagement, not just push sales. If that is all a company does a subscriber will unsubscribe post haste!