The following post discusses mobile marketing trends and predictions for 2011.
Every January, Forrester Research Inc. publishes reports on a myriad of marketing technology predictions for that year. As a reputable industry zeitgeist, these reports offer advice for businesses on how to capitalize on current consumer behavior trends and industry innovations. With all of the exciting momentum that’s happening today in the realm of mobile marketing, I’ve been paying close attention to its thoughts on the subject.
In 2010, Forrester’s Thomas Husson encouraged businesses to employ mobile marketing strategies because he foresaw that the platform would see a dramatic increase in both consumer usage, and subsequently, corporate investment. His predictions regarding usage rates couldn’t have been more accurate. According to eMarketer, spending on U.S. mobile ads reached just $743.1 million in 2010, up 79 percent from $416 million in 2009. A year later, Melissa Parrish (another Forrester expert) noted that the success of large corporate case studies from companies like Coca-Cola, Target, Starbucks, and McDonald’s prove that mobile marketing initiatives will continue their momentum and efficacy.
However, Parrish also noted that only 25 percent of companies that have used this platform claim that their initiatives have been “extremely successful” or “very successful,” and warns that companies will need to “be more creative with data to prove the value of your mobile campaign.” While in 2010 experts may have been content with looking solely at consumer download rates, Parrish cautioned that marketing professionals shouldn’t just jump on the mobile marketing bandwagon, they need to ensure it’s taking our company where we want to go.
I’ve argued in the past that marketing professionals need to better quantify how they measure the effectiveness of their campaign. The takeaway here is not to arrest your optimism about mobile marketing initiatives, but rather to note that this year, a heightened sense of whether or not mobile campaigns actually increase ROI will likely augment client’s hesitancies in investing in mobile. While usage rates for smartphones will continue to increase, marketing professionals need to acknowledge that the learning curve for mobile applications may be steeper than initially believed- so the industry’s focus, as indicated through comparing these reports, will evolve with a heavier focus on analytics.
Husson’s report for 2010 also stated that mobile applications would continue to flourish along with increased smartphone usage. While this statement was derived by a logical correlation (more smartphones = more app downloads), for 2011 Parrish predicts that smartphone users will become “app-athetic.” At the root of this incongruity are predictions of application overload, which will lead consumers to download and soon delete platforms. This offers a great learning when considering applications and SMS as part of your mobile campaign. While smartphones offer a number of ways in which businesses can relate to consumers, offerings that don’t provide a sustained benefit to consumers will soon be deleted.
One critical point that the both reports highlight is the importance of adapting design platforms to function across various mobile devices. If you’re reading this, you’re probably doing it on your smart phone, so why aren’t more websites adaptable for mobile devices? Push your company’s strategies forward this year by utilizing not singular innovations, but by taking a holistic approach toward building your brand and delivering a service to clients and consumers. After all, your company won’t be able to take advantage of next year’s innovations if it’s not capitalizing on what’s available today.