Studies indicate consumers starting to embrace mobile marketing, but…

What is your mobile marketing strategy? Do you have one? Two recent studies indicate the consumer is warming up ever so slightly to mobile marketing programs, but preparation and knowing what they want are key. SNEWS has the summary from these two studies to get the idea inspiration fountain flowing.
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There is little doubt that our communication and information sharing and gathering circles are growing more mobile by the day. And, as an increasing number of consumers turn to their mobile devices to shop, as well as find product information and online coupons, mobile marketing messages are starting to see more widespread use.

While there is still resistance to mobile marketing promotions, chiefly because efforts so far have resembled Spam and have often been irrelevant or meaningless, there remains opportunity as long as brands and retailers using mobile marketing tread carefully.

According to a new study from ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com), the percentage of consumers who said they were completely open to receiving mobile promotions dipped from 13 percent in December 2008 to 11 percent in February 2010. However, those consumers saying they were completely opposed to mobile promotions also dropped over the same time period, from 31 percent to 26 percent.

As for consumers who say they might be willing to receive mobile promotions, 45 percent say it would be OK -- only if they can control what type of promotions they receive. The good news is that is up from 36 percent in 2008.

One way for brands and retailers to reach consumers via a mobile phone is through a free text message, and according to the ABI Research study, this method is currently the most widely accepted with only 25 percent of consumers saying they have no interest in any text message promotions. Those who are open to text message promotions, however, say they are only open to messaging with clear stipulations:

>> 46 percent say reminders for appointments, such as doctor or dentist visits, are welcome.

>> 44 percent say location-specific safety alerts.

>> 41 percent would be open to receiving activity information, such as the rescheduling of a fitness club training session, a ski outing meeting place moved, school cancelled, etc.

>> 39 percent welcome customer service alerts, such as fraudulent activity or that a bill is due.

>> 36 percent are open to daily weather reports and order status updates.

Thanks in large part to the boom in smart phone sales, and the ability of mobile phones to deliver a better (albeit far from perfect) Internet experience, the number of consumers who access the web from a mobile device daily has climbed significantly, from 16 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in February 2010. ABI projects that this increase in mobile web access will mean that mobile marketing will become a $4 billion industry by 2014.

Still, it is worth noting that the same study revealed 45 percent of consumers never access websites from their mobile phones, even if they have the capability. And, another 5 percent use mobile Internet access less than once a month.

In a related study, completed in September 2009 by Hipcricket (www.hipcricket.com), 37 percent of consumers in that study said they would be interested in participating in some kind of mobile customer loyalty program from a brand they trusted. This, despite the fact that 83 percent of those same consumers say their favorite brands have yet to even attempt to market to them via their mobile phone.

Underscoring the value of text messaging from a brand, Hipcricket found that 34 percent of those surveyed reported receiving a mobile marketing offer via text message (up from 28 percent in 2008). Of those consumers who received text messages, 47 percent remembered the brand, and an even more impressive 94 percent remembered the call to action.

 Additional findings from the survey include:

  • 85 percent reported that the mobile web is a valuable source for information that

    interests them.
  • 21 percent of respondents access the mobile web at least once per day and 37 percent access it at least once per week -- this number corresponded well with the ABI survey referenced above.
  • 41 percent stated they had visited a retailer’s website from their mobile phone.

What were the most often cited reasons for visiting a retailer website via a mobile phone? Yes, to find coupons and special promotions (29 percent), but most used their phones still to find store locations (70 percent), get directions to the store (39 percent) and determine store hours (51 percent).

--Michael Hodgson

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