More Tech Firms Use Mobile Marketing, But Few Boost Spending

Mobile played a larger role in the marketing efforts of software and technology companies last year, but few plan to increase mobile spend next year.

That’s according to an annual survey by the Software & Information Industry Association of marketing executives at more than 100 member and non-member companies.
 
According to the study, 37% of executives included mobile in their marketing operations last year, up from 25% in 2012. In addition, a quarter said mobile has increased use of their company’s products; for 30%, it has broadened the range of customer segment. The same proportion said mobile increased one-to-one contact with consumers.
 
Despite the wider adoption of mobile, only 16% plan to increase their budget allocation for the medium this year, indicating that it’s well behind all other marketing techniques when it comes to corporate budgeting for this year.
 
“While we are surprised that mobile still lags behind other marketing tactics, it’s significant to note that mobile took a significant step forward in this year’s survey,” said Rhianna Collier, vice president of the SIIA software division. “This suggests that marketers are beginning to figure out how to reach customers through mobile channels and determine the ROI of those efforts.”
 
Just don’t bank on a lot more mobile spending from technology advertisers this year. When it comes to social media, nearly all companies are marketing through sites like Facebook and Twitter, although the share dipped slightly to 91% for 2013, from 98% in 2012.
 
Questions remain about the effectiveness of social-media efforts, however. Marketers mainly turned to social to boost brand awareness and drive traffic, but only 46% see it as a useful way to generate leads. “This suggests that firms have yet to find a way to correlate social media efforts to business revenue,” stated the report.
 
Only 38% plan to increase spending on social media this year, which is down 20.5% from last year’s projected budget for the category. The study suggests that this is partly a reflection of companies becoming more efficient in how they spend on social. But it could turn out that 2012 marked a peak for embracing social media as a marketing tool.
 
Use of email marketing remains steady and high, with an increase in the number of emails sent per week. That may partly result from companies having access to better data and analytics to track campaign performance. Nearly half (48%) have an open rate of 11% to 25%, up from 8% in 2012. And nearly a third (31%) have an average click-through rate of 6%-10%.
 
Among other key findings:
 
*Almost two-thirds (64%) of companies now feel they can effectively measure the ROI from their online marketing efforts, compared to 55 percent in last year’s survey.
 
*More than a third (35%) cited events, trade shows and webinars as their top lead generators. The next highest was Web search, at 18%. The highest concentration of executives, about 42%, also said events and trade shows provide the highest-quality leads.

*Executives said their biggest challenges are lack of resources and personnel (37%) and lack of budget (34%).

The study was based on a survey conducted between October and December 2013 of executives who work for companies ranging in size from 1 to 99 employees (60%), 100 and 999 (33%) and 1,000 (7%). The SIIA has more than 800 member companies including Google, Adobe, Thomson Reuters. Most of the companies involved in the survey were smaller than corporations of this size.
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