Fewer Firms Use Mobile Marketing

The consumer shift from desktop PC to mobile devices is underway, but the marketing efforts of most high-tech companies aren’t following suit. Fewer are employing mobile marketing now than a year ago.

A study by the Software & Information Association surveyed 100 marketing executives from member and other companies in the fourth quarter, focused on social media, mobile and email use. It found only a quarter are including mobile in marketing programs, down from 29% a year earlier.

That’s partly because mobile isn’t a priority for their customers. Nearly half say the mobile solution they offer is being used by 5% or less of their customers.

“Mobile is unquestionably changing the way people live and work, but has yet to significantly change the way companies market,” said Rhianna Collier, VP of the SIIA software division. 

Still, about a third say they plan to spend more of their marketing budget in mobile this year. One SIIA member that recently announced its intention to focus more on mobile is IBM. Through its MobileFirst initiative, the computer giant plans to double its investment in mobile technology this year.

Executives were more bullish on social media. Virtually all are using social platforms in marketing efforts, and 69% say it’s having a positive impact on their business. That’s down from 74% a year ago, but still a high proportion. Almost six in 10 (58%) plan to spend more on social marketing in 2013, with LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs/wikis the biggest beneficiaries.

The majority (63%) said social media hadn’t changed overall marketing costs, while for 30% it increased costs. How to best measure ROI in social media is an ongoing industry debate. Among those surveyed, Web traffic, the number of connections or conversations, and lead-generation were cited as the key ROI metrics for social campaigns.

When it came to email marketing, click-through rates, open rates and post-click conversion rates were the top ways to measure ROI. About 40% said open rates were in the 11% to 25% range, with roughly a third reporting rates of 6%-10%. The average click rate for almost half was 2%-3%.

Overall, only 55% said they feel they can measure online marketing returns effectively. Looking ahead, marketing executives pointed to cloud-based marketing as the next big trend (27%) in the software and services industry, followed by Big Data/Analytics (19%), target marketing (16%), mobile use expansion (13%), customer experience (10%), social adoption (7%), and internal business operations (5%).

Most of the companies covered in the SIIA survey ranged in size 1 to 99 people (65%), with a quarter employing between 100 and 999 people, and 10% employing over 1,000. SIIA’s more than 500 members include Accenture, Google, McGraw-Hill Companies, and Qualcomm Wireless.

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