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CMO Council finds mobile growing among b-to-b marketers

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The majority of b-to-b marketers have implemented, or are in the process of developing, mobile strategies to engage with customers and prospects—although they still face significant challenges with the platform, according to a study released last month by the Chief Marketing Officer Council. The study, “Engage at Every Stage,” was based on an online survey of more than 250 b-to-b marketers, conducted between April and August. It found that 16% of b-to-b marketers now have a formal strategy for using mobile as a significant channel of customer engagement and 54% are developing such a strategy. Twenty-eight percent of marketers do not have a formal strategy, and 2% were not sure if their companies have such a strategy or are planning to implement one. Asked how mobile fits into their current marketing mix and media planning, 46% said they are reviewing and evaluating the role of mobile while 40% are making sure their websites and content are optimized for mobile-device access. Of the marketers responding, 32% said they are allocating more of their budgets to mobile apps and mobile channels of engagement. When asked how satisfied they are with their progress in accessing and leveraging the mobile channel, 43% of marketers responding said they are not satisfied, 37% said they are still evaluating performance, 14% said they are satisfied and 6% said they are unsure. “Mobile is an enormously impactful channel for differentiating a brand and creating much closer and more dependable relationships with customers, suppliers and the entire value chain,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “The biggest issue is that people are not looking at mobile in a holistic way relative to the customer experience. Most people look at mobile as a way to deliver advertising, coupons and deals, and are not looking at meaningful consumption habits or how mobile is being used for sales, pricing comparisons, product procurement and other activities.” B-to-b marketers’ top mobile marketing activities include: notifying and informing customers (51%), delivering content and services (43%), promoting and advertising their brands or special offers (37%), and supporting customer care and handling (23%). “There’s a whole plethora of areas to use mobile: rewards, loyalty programs, program management—all those components,” Neale-May said. “You can do behavioral-based rewards, take surveys or get customers to buy, refer or advocate. Every aspect of consumer behavior can be rewarded and tracked in the mobile channel.” For those respondents that have tested or used mobile advertising, the leading channels include: social media (69%), search (54%), news and information (40%), and reviews and evaluations (22%). When asked how they would rate the success of their mobile advertising efforts, 27% said “good”; 26% said “inconsistent”; 24% said “moderate”; 15% said “not sure”; 4% said “poor”; and only 4% said “very effective.” “I struggle with the advertising model,” Neale-May said. “Certainly advertising or branded entertainment can be embedded into activities and events, such as game-playing. As mobile broadband picks up, there will be more rich-media content opportunities, where brands may be sponsoring or underwriting a free service and can embed a message.” “The real issue for me is that people use this device and it is sacrosanct,” he added. “They don’t want intrusive messages and they don’t want phone calls coming in to their mobile phones.”
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