While an increasing number of people are accessing information on mobile devices, studies show a majority of marketers are not conducting mobile campaigns, a state of affairs that is causing experts to issue warnings about the dangers email marketers face in neglecting the mobile channel.
“Be mobile or fall behind,” warns HubSpot’s Jessica Meher, citing an IBM study that showed only one in five marketers were using mobile marketing tactics as part of integrated campaigns.
Likewise, in “4 Reasons Your Mobile Channel Is Falling Behind + How to Get Back on Track,” Ashley Eckel, marketing director for mobile specialist StarStar, says nearly 79 percent of big ecommerce businesses do not have a mobile optimized site, let alone a bigger integrated, in-the-moment mobile strategy. “And the longer they continue to ignore it,” he says, “the more they’ll fall behind.”
Bolstering these views is a CMO Council study, which found that only 16 percent of marketers polled said they have a formal strategy for using mobile as a significant channel of customer engagement. Only 14 percent of the 250 global marketers surveyed are satisfied with the progress they are making on mobile channels, versus 43 percent who say they are not satisfied, and another 37 percent who are still evaluating their brands’ performance.
Marketing Daily’s Karl Greenberg said the CMO Council audit showed that marketers do not seem to be keeping up with the expanding use of mobile devices, and what is missing from most companies’ play books is a good plan for the mobile channel.
A recent Adobe report, which surveyed more than 1,800 marketers worldwide, also showed marketers lagging in the mobile sphere. The study showed that 45 percent said they have neither a mobile-optimized Web site or mobile application. “This rather remarkable laggard index comes even when Adobe saw a doubling of traffic from mobile devices,” said Steve Smith on MediaPost.com.
Reasons for Lagging
In exploring why marketers lag behind customers in mobile email adoption, Al Urbanski in Direct Marketing News points to a perception among marketers that the mobile channel’s demographic was too youthful. Urbanski cites Loren McDonald, VP at SilverPop who relates that, “If you talked to marketers just a couple of years ago about mobile, you’d hear them say, ‘That’s not our demographic; our consumers are older.'”
Urbanski also cites a poll of agencies that showed marketers have been reluctant to commit part of their limited resources to mobile marketing. “Marketers are stuck in a budget vise,” Urbanski says, “not knowing which or how many resources to divert to mobile from other projects.”
Ashley Eckel of StarStar ascribes the newness of mobile technology and marketers’ aversion to risk taking as the reason for slow adoption. “Almost nobody wants be the first to put their budget – or job – at risk for a mobile technology that can’t guarantee more engagement, more revenue and better ROI,” says Eckel.
With so many new mobile technologies and platforms hitting the market, says Eckel, it’s no surprise that most companies aren’t nailing mobile marketing strategies and execution, adding that “technology moves faster than marketers can adapt.”
Eckel’s advice is to first gain an understanding of your customer, and then formulate a mobile technology approach appropriate to your business. “The goal should be to build your business and brand, not just have a mobile offering,” he explains. “So gaining a deep understanding of the consumer and prioritizing the mobile strategy from there is crucial to your success.”
Positive Mobile Outlook
HubSpot’s Meher sees hope for mobile marketing laggards, predicting a turnaround in 2013 when marketers “will finally list mobile as a major line item on their marketing strategy.” Not only will there be continued investment in mobile optimized websites and email, says Meher, but we’ll see mobile take a more important role when integrating with marketing campaigns.
Also showing signs of hope was a “Digital Trends for 2013” survey of 700 marketers by Econsultancy and Adobe, which showed the mobile channel was a top priority for marketers in 2013. “Encouragingly,” said the survey, “a larger proportion of companies than a year ago consider that understanding how mobile users research and buy products’ will be more important in the year ahead.”
Go Mobile, Get Clean
In “Mobile Is Key to Improving Your Email Marketing,” Chief Marketer’s Tim Parry recommends segmenting and targeting emails. He also stresses the importance of list hygiene, advising a marketer to ensure his or her email list “is as clean as it can possibly be.”
“A clean list is a deliverable list,” says Parry, “and a deliverable list keeps ISPs happy.” Make sure you verify domain names, he advises, and for users who don’t respond, use an email change of address service to reconnect you with the guaranteed deliverable, preferred email addresses of your customers.
TowerData email validation safely removes bad email addresses and helps marketers recover addresses that were incorrectly considered undeliverable. Download our free whitepaper to see how email validation can easily improve the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.
photo credit: Alexander Rentsch