Marketers prioritising mobile & social strategies
The majority of the UK's marketing managers (83%) say they see a mobile strategy as being important to their activities, according to a study of 100 marketing managers, commissioned by mobile and social analytics firm Webtrends.
The 'Marketer App-etite' survey found that marketers are embracing the channel and realising its potential to build their brand's image and reputation, with 37% rating mobile strategy as "very important" to their company.
The survey also found that marketing managers are putting more and more budget aside for mobile marketing campaigns, with 34% planning to spend more than 20% of next year's marketing budget on mobile. This shift to mobile is also reflected by the fact that over half (55%) see mobile strategy as a standard part of planning any campaign.
Building a brand's image is the main driver behind developing a mobile channel, according to 59% of respondents, with over half (55%) citing existing customer demand as a main driver. Furthermore, 55% of those surveyed believe a successful mobile campaign will help them attract new customers.
Mobile apps and mobile websites were found to play a large role in mobile campaigns, with only 16% identifying neither mobile apps nor mobile websites as appropriate for their business. In fact, the research found that 89% plan to invest in a mobile website, and 87% have plan to invest in apps.
"In an increasingly connected world we are seeing brands of all shapes and sizes turning their focus toward mobile marketing through market demand," explained Nick Sharp, General Manager (EMEA & Australia) for Webtrends. "Our findings have confirmed that more and more budget each year is being allocated to deliver mobile marketing campaigns as mobile cements its place as an essential technology."
Mobile apps are being deployed on daily basis by marketers aiming to interact with smartphone users, but it is also important to note that mobile web sites are also experiencing growth. Mobile sites can also be a powerful marketing tool to engage with consumers and, in many cases, they can actually be more effective than a mobile app. However, clever and efficient use of both channels, combined with analytics software to gather data about the ways users are interacting with the brand, are most likely to reap the best rewards and provide the best service to both new and existing customers.
Among the study's key findings:
- 51% of those surveyed believe mobile marketing to be effective due to their own personal mobile interactions with brands;
- Cost constraints and lack of internal skills are the main barriers to mobile success (32% each). Only 10% cited a lack of demand;
- Competition from rival brands (37%) and the growing reach of the mobile web (34%) drives the development of mobile apps;
- New and existing staff are the main managers of app development, with only 20% outsourcing the work to external specialists or consultants;
- 43% think that developing a mobile app would cost £10,000 (approx. US$16,000) or more.
The research also found that a lack of time and resources is proving to be the biggest barrier to social media successes for businesses, as 43% of those questioned identified time and resources as being the biggest problem prohibiting social media marketing. Needing to focus on other marketing activity was the main restriction for 25%, and cost constraints were cited as an issue by 22%.
That there are relatively limited social media policies in place at most companies, with only 10% of those questioned having a defined social media process. Additionally, only 34% had a social media plan for the coming year. One of the most surprising findings was that, despite 92% using social media for marketing in some way, only 14% had any social media monitoring tools in place to measure their campaigns' success or engagement levels.
In a positive move for the market, budgets are being directed toward social media, with a healthy jobs market, with 34% of companies having recently recruited new staff, and 47% now having in-house staff to manage social networks. In addition, many marketing managers are spending between 5% and 10% of their marketing budgets on social media (25% said they do so).
The research findings also indicated that use of social media is evenly split between a customer-centric and company-centric focus. According to the report, the aim for 57% of companies is to engage with customers, while 52% wish to raise the profile of the company.
According to Conrad Bennett, director of technical service for Webtrends, "Channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have become primary points of contact for many consumers seeking to engage with brands, so it is more important than ever for companies to have an active presence online, and marketers are now recognising the importance of those channels in adding value to the company. A brand's reputation can be enhanced - or even built from scratch - via social networks, so marketing managers should be putting plans in place and where necessary hiring the relevant expertise to be the first line for direct contact with consumers."
Other interesting findings from the study include:
- Facebook is the most common social network for marketing with 71% using the platform, while 42% use Twitter (ahead of YouTube and LinkedIn with 35% and 19% respectively);
- The reason behind the dominance of Facebook is that marketers see more return on investment (ROI) from their Facebook activities (75%) compared to other social networks;
- Success in social media is measured by an increase in customers, according to 51%, while 39% see success as an increase in company visibility, 35% as an increase in followers, 27% as an increase in sales, and 22% as an increase in market share.