Mobile Relationship Marketing

According to an inclusive report by the CMO Council to consider the need for “exploiting mobile to the fullest degree,” there are some impressive early adopters and trailblazers, but what is clear from this study, says the report, is that a shift in thinking around the entire scope of mobile engagement is a mandate.

The report positions a collection of statistics and data around mobile use that point to this channel of connected devices and on-the-go communications as rapidly evolving into one of the most influential and potentially game-changing technologies facing today’s marketer, presented here with attribution:

  • By the end of 2011, there were 6 billion mobile subscribers, which equals 87% of the world’s population (International Telecommunications Union).
  • Mobile broadband subscriptions outnumber fixed broadband by 2:1 (ITU)
  • There are almost 1.2 billion mobile web users globally (ITU)
  • Ten% of website hits/views came from a handheld or mobile device (Stat Counter)
  • In 2011, 7.8 trillion SMS messages were sent. Experts anticipate that number will rise to 9.8 trillion in 2012 (Portio Research)
  • Also in 2011, 669.5 million people used mobile email (Portio Research)
  • Mobile IM will exceed 1.4 billion users by 2016 (Juniper Research)
  • Sixty-four% of mobile phone time is spent using apps (Nielsen 2012)
  • App-to-person (A2P) messaging will over take person-to-person messaging (SMS) by 2016 (Juniper Research)
  • Sixty-one% of smartphone users and 49% of mobile and tablet users make local searches from a device (comScore)
  • Mobile payments are expected to quadruple to $630 billion by 2014 (Juniper Research)
  • In the U.S., 64 million smartphone owners accessed social networking or blog destinations via mobile devices as of December 2011, up 77% from December 2010 levels (comScore).

The report discusses at length how marketers are responding to the conclusion that consumers are moving their lives into a more fully mobile, multi-device, multi-subscription model. So far, concludes the report, the answer has been to throw advertising dollars at the channel, transitioning online and digital spend strategies and morphing them into mobile marketing strategies.

In support of the need to clarify ongoing strategies, the these examples are cited:

  • The IAB estimates that global expenditures for mobile ads in 2011 topped $5.3 billion.
  • Gartner predicts that spend in mobile ads will double each year in the U.S. to reach $20.5 billion by 2015.
  • Even in the CMO Council’s own “State of Marketing” research, mobile marketing spend has seen steady 2–4% increases year over year.

An estimated 2.5 billion adults (more than half of the world’s adult population) do not use any form of formal financial services, yet about 70% of all people on the planet use a cell phone, an opportunity to reach consumers in developed markets in a new and intrusive way, and to access the previously untapped, unreachable, and unbanked mass of humanity in emerging economies.

Demographic research by Nielsen, Rudder Finn, and Google yield additional support for mobile brand marketing:

  • Women account for 55% of mobile social networking activity. Men and women between the ages of 35 to 54 account for 36% of activity
  • People between ages 25 and 34, account for 34% of activity
  • 91% of mobile phone users go online to socialize versus 79% of desktop users
  • 4% of mobile users go online to advocate compared to 41% of desktop users
  • 79% of people turn to their phones to help them shop
  • 88% take action on that information within a day
  • 70% of all mobile searches result in action within one hour

Using traditional advertising to engage and activate an audience is rapidly being eclipsed by the pervasive nature of social media networks, massive mobile device dependency, as well as the awesome analytics capability of cloud-based business intelligence providers, which are pioneering new relationship marketing practices, notes the report

Mobile relationship marketing (MRM) is the new call to action. MRM has vast potential to create business value, improve process efficiency, trigger product consumption and use, further loyalty and repeat purchase, and increase customer feedback, assistance, affinity, and advocacy.

Thanks to this reliance on mobile, concludes the report, marketers see an opportunity to leverage this dependence to better target and reach their consumers. According to 55% of respondents, the fact that mobile is an always-on and highly accessible channel to the customer is an essential benefit. Also high on the list is the ability to target and customize engagements (51%).

According to half of respondents, messaging and communications options are of most interest. Other key applications include social media interactions (35%), value-added service delivery (34%), rich media content delivery (33%), and search and location optimization (31%).

Concluding, the report opines that what is revealed is the need for a mindset shift, where the interaction and engagement is not dictated by a pushed message, but by where and how the customer identifies value and need.

One respondent summarized the value of mobile most succinctly, quotes the report: “Mobile lets a customer interact on their terms, when they have the need, and for what they want to consume. It changes the game for me as a marketer and makes me think about marketing from a purely consumer-centric view.”

To download a complimentary executive summary or the full report with detailed data, infograph and executive perspectives, please visit the CMO Council here.


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