The drumbeat we have heard all year about the need to prove mobile ROI just gets louder with the latest Forrester Consulting survey of 155 enterprise executives responsible for hiring marketing staff (commissioned by Aquent). Of the staffers surveyed, 68% said they need to “prove that mobile marketing has a positive ROI” before hiring mobile marketing talent. This was far and away the leading hurdle to further staffing investment in a field -- more than double the 30% who also said they needed first to earn executive support for growing the mobile marketing effort.
According to the Forrester research there remains considerable reticence in companies to commit in-house personnel to mobile and even to expand their mobile marketing budgets without a firmer sense of ROI. The largest share of respondents (45%) said they expected their mobile marketing budgets to “increase slightly” between 2011 and 2012, and another 35% expected them to remain the same. Only 15% projected a significant increase in spending.
Most companies are still getting their feet wet in mobile -- a third of them have only two years experience using mobile channels and another third has less than that. As a result, brands are leaning on their agencies for support. Among respondents, 63% are using a traditional brand agency for their mobile strategy now and 53% use a full-service agency. Less than half (45%) use a mobile marketing specialist agency now -- but this is where we find the most interest among companies, with 29% saying they plan to enlist a mobile-specific partner in the next six months.
In identifying the three biggest challenges to mobile marketing overall, these company staffers cited measurement/ROI (42%), reaching the correct audience (34%) and data security (34%) most frequently.
The Forrester/Aquent report recommends that companies take “a truly open mind” when quantifying mobile ROI and not simply apply the same template to it that they use for the more familiar Web. “Everything from the mechanics of measurement to the data points that are collected can be markedly different in mobile, depending on the tactics being employed,” the report advises.
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