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Is Mobile A Real Player In Small Business Marketing?

Is Mobile A Real Player In Small Business Marketing?


Answer: YES!

Android appThis was the simple question posed at the recent CMO Exchange Conference in Miami, Florida. Just 20 years ago, CMOs were just getting adept at computers and the internet, online shopping was a new concept, and social media, digital media, podcasts, and mobile marketing weren’t even on anybody’s radar. Most CMOs were focused on the next big advertising campaign and worrying about just a few channels to place their media on.  Those days are gone and a technological revolution has heralded in a host of vehicles that CMOs are trying to quickly get up to speed on.

To figure out why CMOs and marketers should start caring about mobile marketing, I went to the source – Greg Stuart is the CEO of the Mobile Marketing Associationand is recognized as a thought leader in the digital media world.  I posed two basic questions to Greg during an interview: 1) why should marketers care about mobile, and 2) how can they get started?  What follows are key notes from the interview and my guess is, if you haven’t started testing mobile, this may make you consider doing so.

  1. Mobile is arguably the closest you can get to the consumer.  There is no other device that is as personal (everybody has their own phone), as pervasive (is with you all of the time), and provides the opportunity for proximity. As marketers seek to understand – and leverage – a consumer’s path to purchase, mobile devices have the potential to be a tremendous enabler.  The power (in the future) to determine that a target consumer is driving in the proximity of your restaurant and then feed them an immediate message or coupon is unprecedented. In a 2011 study, Americans spent 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile phones – more than twice the time they spent eating. 75% of the globe now has a mobile phone offering access to developed markets as well as emerging regions. Mobile will truly enable marketers to connect at the right time, in the right place, with the right individual.
  2. The “Physics of Media” indicate that the new channel has the biggest advantage.  In a prior study that Greg completed, he analyzed the media mix for thirty iconic marketers. The results indicated that the single greatest contributor to marketing performance (ignoring creative) was: 1) aligning the media mix for today’s consumer’s media habits, and 2) being the innovator / early adopter of new media. It’s fairly simple. In a world of diminishing returns, the brand that invests early in understanding the new channel reaps disproportionate advantages. An example mentioned was the Ford F150 relaunch campaign from nearly a decade ago.  Greg evaluated the contribution of each media channel and found that online delivered 10x the value of TV in driving purchase consideration.  When Ford increased their online budget from 2% to 6%, they sold an incremental $1.4 billion in trucks.

Recently, the MMA released the “Mobile X% Solution” to determine the optimal balance of mobile in the marketing mix to achieve higher return on investment (ROI). Based on a sophisticated ROI analysis of mobile, the optimized level of spend in mobile advertising for U.S. marketers is seven percent, on average (of course, individual companies will vary). And to further highlight the potential and power of mobile, the MMA has issued ‘’ (Smart Mobile Cross Marketing Effectiveness) to measure the economic value of investing in mobile channels compared to traditional marketing channels.

The point is that mobile potentially offers disproportionate results for those who are early to adopt and leverage the power of the new technology.

  1. Mobile – right now – is a great deal!  Right now, mobile is a great deal for marketers as supply is much greater than demand.  Jumping in early, when the costs to test are so low, is the right time to engage in mobile. As marketers, we are supposed to “go where the consumers are and get there first” and consumers are looking to their mobile device for shopping, searching, entertainment, socializing and brand interaction. Often, the challenge is resourcing to manage the program; however, from a testing perspective, now is the time to engage.


  1. Measurement / ROI:  As is true of most new technologies, it is currently difficult to measure mobile. However, there are many companies and organizations working hard to resolve this.  It isn’t impossible but it is challenging. The MMA is set to provide research on the economic value of mobile (See to help structure the discussion on mobile’s effectiveness as a channel and, ideally, increase advertising spend in mobile on a global level.
  2. Overwhelmed with other technologies: Greg indicated that the degree of change that CMO’s are facing has made it difficult for them to keep up. In many cases, the organizational design is archaic and antiquated and isn’t equipped to be able to absorb these activities.  That’s why the first priority is for the CMO to figure out how structure and resource the department to be able to leverage mobile and other opportunities. The MMA calls it being “brand ready” for mobile and it requires the C-suite to understand the complexities of mobile and not try to retrofit a structure reserved for other forms of media. Mobile is unique and requires its own framework, strategy and resources.