The mobile marketing industry has made significant progress during the past year, with 28% of companies having used SMS campaigns and 18% having used MMS campaigns, according to a survey of 50 global brands commissioned by mobile messaging firm Airwide Solutions.
Ongoing growth in the sophistication of mobile marketing campaigns was reflected in the number of brand owners that said the were considering implementing both SMS and MMS mobile marketing during the coming 12 months, which had doubled to 28% since a similar survey in 2006.
Mobile budgets increase
The survey found that more brands expect to spend a greater proportion of their marketing budget on mobile campaigns in the near future, with 71% of brands expecting to spend up to 10% of their total marketing budget on the mobile channel within the next two years.
Many brands reported higher response rates from their mobile marketing campaigns, with 58% (up from 32% in 2006) of brands reporting that up to 10% of mobile marketing recipients had requested more information.
Financial gains seen
Nearly three-quarters of the brands surveyed (73%) reported that up to 10% of recipients subsequently undertook a financial action as a result of a mobile marketing campaign, compared with only 28% in 2006. And every brand surveyed agreed that their most recent mobile marketing campaign had been successful in increasing customers' brand familiarity.
The experiences of brands using mobile marketing techniques showed that the actual campaign response rate is usually higher than the expectations of those who had not yet adopted mobile marketing. The survey found that 57% of brands not using mobile marketing anticipated that customers would request more information, while 83% of brands that had already run mobile campaigns said they received requests for more information.
With regard to financial transactions, 38% of inexperienced brands thought consumers would take financial actions as a result of mobile marketing, while 82% of experienced brands reporting recipients taking financial action as a result of receiving mobile marketing messages.
Rate of adoption
Despite obvious enthusiasm for mobile marketing, there are still some barriers that prevent even higher growth rates, the survey found, with more than half of brands not yet employing either SMS (58%) or MMS (60%) in their marketing efforts. The perception that MMS (multimedia messaging) is difficult to use has grown from 14% in 2006 to 29% in 2007, and concerns about its reliability have grown from 12% to 34% in 2007 during that time.
But the perception that SMS is a reliable and measurable medium has generally increased, while the number of brands that find SMS too complicated for marketing has decreased from 24% in 2006 to only 8% in 2007. Moreover, most companies now seem to understand how to measure the mobile channel's effectiveness, as uncertainty about mobile metrics has decreased from 18% in 2006 to 11% in 2007.
Target audience concerns
Almost half of the brands surveyed (46%) reported being concerned that mobile marketing is too intrusive, with many feeling that customers will perceive messages as 'spam'. Of these, 41% are unsure how to rectify the problem by targeting specific audiences.
More than one-third of brands (36%) said would require detailed information on how the recipient responded to the message, and one-fifth (20%) said they would want proof that messages had actually been received by recipients.
According to Jay Seaton, CMO for Airwide, "The ongoing development of component-based mobile messaging systems has paved the way for a range of new marketing opportunities for brands. This, in turn, creates a significant revenue opportunity for mobile operators. However, the present take up of mobile marketing is somewhat inhibited by a lack of supporting information to manage and optimise marketing programmes. With a reliable infrastructure in place, and a means to control and measure campaigns, more and more mobile operators will be competing to deliver the most effective mobile marketing initiatives to their subscribers."
But, the survey suggests, it will not be only the brand owner that benefits from mobile marketing initiatives. Mobile phone users can expect to benefit from a range of incentives as part of the growth in mobile marketing.
Almost 60% of brands said they intend to send special offers via the mobile channel, and more than one-third (36%) intend to send mobile-based discount vouchers. Other planned incentives included digital loyalty cards, free gifts, and preferential treatment.