Bright Spots Notwithstanding, Marketers Lag In Mobile

Coke-cupsThe CMO Council reports, in a new study, that companies may be getting better at figuring out how to make mobile interaction work for their brands but marketers aren't happy with the pace of mobile relationship marketing (MRM). They'd better pick it up, as, per the council (citing Portia Research), there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 6.5 billion global mobile phone subscribers by the end of the year. Along with accelerated adoption, we are also in the midst of a big growth in lifestyle and business on mobile devices; mobile apps; social media engagement on mobile devices; and higher wireless network speeds enabling rich-media on hand held devices.

The study finds that only 14% of the 250 global marketers the CMO Council surveyed are satisfied with the progress they are making on mobile channels, versus 43% who say they are not and another 37% who are still evaluating their brands' performance. 



The audit, "Engage at Every Stage," which the council conducted this year includes both quantitative and qualitative insights. It was fielded in cooperation with the Mobile Marketing Association and was sponsored by Pandora and FunMobility. The council says 42% of respondents come from companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales.

Also missing from companies' play books is a good plan, and they don't seem to be keeping up with the convergence of mobile with other screens. Only 16% of marketers polled said they have formal strategy for using mobile as a significant channel of customer engagement; 46% are still reviewing and evaluating the role of mobile, and 32% are allocating more budget to mobile app development and channels of engagement. Another 40% say they are making sure their websites and content are mobilized for device use and access.

Part of the problem is that a lot marketers are skittish about dealing with the potential for paying for snake-oil and want more proof. Seventy percent of those polled said they want to see more case studies of best practices or success stories; and 48% would like to see less complexity and carrier control of the mobile ecosystem. Thirty percent said they have encountered false claims by providers and vendors.

The CMO Council said it predicts marketers will get up to speed with mobile apps, location-based messaging, proximity marketing, and smart merchandising systems in-store.

The council pointed to some signs of life in specific programs: more than 60% of guests checking into the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts now do so using an iPad, compared to none three years ago; Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards program members can get into their loyalty programs through a mobile app. Coca-Cola has an app for showing users the closest Freestyle drink machine, as well as what flavors the machine is dispensing. It also lets them talk about the drink they created.

The roster of companies that helped put the study together includes Anheuser-Busch InBev, Beam Global, Caesars Entertainment, Coca-Cola Company, Eastman Kodak, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, JP Morgan Chase, and NASCAR.

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