Small Businesses Seek Improved Mobile Strategies

For all the talk about small local businesses turning to mobile marketing, new research provided by the Internet Advertising Bureau and Ovum, shows that national advertisers are spending the most on this format. Over 2/3’s of surveyed firms that have fully integrated mobile into their existing marketing strategies were large. Many firms in this survey also indicated their desire to have specific concerns resolved before they invest more money in mobile.

One trend uncovered by this survey is that companies are using agencies to handle mobile advertising. About 47% use a media buying agency and 38% use a creative agency. Merchants may be tapping the technical expertise of agencies to create and place mobile campaigns. Those with a larger marketing budget can more easily absorb the cost. This may explain why 37% of local businesses say they are still experimenting with the format and another 35% are using it only on an ad-​hoc basis.

While most marketers are satisfied with mobile  campaign outcomes, the IAB/​Ovum survey shows merchants would like their concerns addressed. Merchants say consumer privacy is a top issue. In addition, the fragmented nature of devices and platforms makes mobile marketing expensive and confusing both with respect to execution and measurement. For now, advertisers foresee increased use of smartphones and tablets on the horizon and expect to target their largest mobile campaigns at these devices. Currently, the financial services and automotive sectors are giving feature phones the highest priority in mobile campaigns while retail, media/​entertainment and hospitality are aiming for smartphone users. When advertisers consider mobile campaigns they must also consider device features. For now, the top features under consideration when campaigns are designed include screen size/​resolution, email capability, social networking, and mobile browsing optimization. Even with these features in place, marketers lament that creativity is limited in the mobile environment.

For now, the media and entertainment  and the retail verticals are farthest along the learning curve in using mobile as either an integrated part of marketing or as a formal but standalone activity. As mobile becomes more established and key issues are worked out, small local  businesses may be more likely to roll out campaigns, either on their own or using agency help.

[Source: Zoller, Eden. Marketer Perceptions of Mobile Advertising. IAB (conducted by OVUM). July 2011. Web. 24 Aug. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.