Every year, it seems, spending on mobile marketing is supposed to be poised to take off down the tracks but never seems to get going. Tech media company IDG is betting this is the year it does.
“It's the train that never leaves the station [in the past],” Matthew Yorke, president of IDG Global Solutions, said of mobile marketing. “But that train has left the station, and it's turning into one of those Japanese bullet trains.”
Yorke said IDG expects to double its mobile revenue in its fiscal 2012, which begins Oct. 1. The centerpiece of this effort is the Mobile@IDG program, introduced this month.
Mobile@IDG offers a dozen products and services to help marketers reach customers and prospects via smartphones and tablets. The services include mobile sponsorships of IDG media sites; mobile “partnerzones,” in which marketer content is co-branded near relevant IDG content on smartphones and tablets; and rich-media units placed in iPad magazines.
Marketers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Siemens IT Solutions and Services have already used Mobile@IDG offerings in Europe. Yorke said marketers' reaching prospects on their smartphones is now merely a matter of critical mass. He pointed to a recent IDG Global Solutions survey that found that more than two-thirds of the 13,700 respondents in 16 countries use smartphones, and 70% use them to access the Web and mobile applications.
“Mobile is becoming increasingly important to b-to-b,” said David Burnand, who is head of global marketing ooperations for Atos, which recently acquired Siemens IT. “The tech audience are disproportionately high users of smartphones, so we need to be where they source their information. The results that we achieved in our mobile campaign [for Siemens IT] demonstrated that our audience are now using mobile and that good mobile campaigns are able to generate excellent share of voice compared to traditional online advertising.”
Autumn Martin, head of digital at OMG, which worked with HP on its Mobile@IDG campaign, said the use of tablets is beginning to drive the more widespread acceptance of mobile advertising. “IDG is definitely up there as one of the most innovative publishers, and they understand that mobile is increasing in importance from both a user and advertising perspective,” she said.
For its part, IDG is attempting to use Mobile@IDG to do in mobile what it has already done in social media marketing programs, and that is make it a typical part of a marketing program.
IDG's push into social media marketing began in earnest with the introduction of its Amplify ad unit in 2009. Amplify enables users to share the ad and its message with their cohorts on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social sites.