Fall'12 Breakthrough

October 14-17, 2012 | Austin, Texas

How mobile is shaping the future of marketing innovation


The relationship between users and their connected devices is stronger than ever. Consider these reasons to start spending more of your time and budget on mobile.

We all know that mobile can be a powerful marketing tool. Mobile provides marketers the opportunity to make more precise, data-driven decisions than ever before and offers a way to connect with consumers on their most personal possession.

Given that, it's time to stop considering mobile, and time to start thinking mobile.

"'The year of mobile' is the most over-used headline of the decade," said Stephanie Bauer Marshall, director of precision market insights at Verizon Wireless, during her keynote address at the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in Austin, Texas. "Phones are an integral part of our lives. I don't know about you, but I use mine as an alarm clock...I know where my phone is before I know where my wallet is."

Indeed, mobile phones are now indispensible, and usage is becoming increasingly sophisticated. By 2013, the U.S. will pass 200 million mobile internet users, nearly tripling the number from 2010. And mobile proliferation doesn't just apply to phones -- in 2013 there will be 75 million tablet users worldwide. More than 337 million phones are owned by U.S. consumers, and 55 percent of those phones are smartphones.

Now here's the data that really means something to marketers: 41 percent of smartphone users research and purchase on their smartphone, 46 percent research on a smartphone and go to the store to purchase, and 8 percent visit a store before making a purchase on a smartphone.

"These are huge metrics here...[that can help] us understand the path to purchase," Marshall said.

So how does one collect the data and make it both insightful and actionable? "Big data" is the buzzword du jour, as there is so much information to wrangle -- mobile data traffic doubled in just the last year alone. And don't forget, consumers are also creating data.

In order to not get lost in the information, it's important to distill your marketing intentions. "Remember that mobile is about catching the consumer on the go and driving them to take action," Marshall said.

In order to create a compelling experience, you need to make the content relevant, local, engaging, and fresh. Consumers demand the latest content and expect it to be a uniquely mobile-specific experience. Marshall projected that brands should allocate 5 to 9 percent of their spend on mobile if they want to compete in the space.

Another rule of thumb is to use all the technology available. Use QR codes, short codes, mobile banners, and invest in video. Carriers are busy developing solutions to help marketers transact -- do your research and jump on the new technologies that consumers love to embrace.

Here are some key takeaways from Marshall's address:

Understand (measurement)

  • Understand which audience segments to target.
  • Know that there are limited insights and measurement capabilities available.
  • Remember that it's difficult to prove ROI from mobile.
  • There is a lack of clarity on how to make mobile an integral part of the marketing mix.


  • Deliver relevant mobile ads to target segments.
  • You need to gather behavioral insights.
  • You must have relevant and engaging content.
  • You must deliver the right message, to the right audience, through the right channels.
  • Understand that there is a lack of cookie technology for mobile.


  • Drive response through easy mobile payment.
  • The consumer experience must be easy.
  • Be aware that consumers may be reluctant, unaware, or unable to transact on mobile.

For more details on the evolution of the mobile marketing mix, check out the MMA whitepaper "Mobile's Share of the Mix -- Marketing Evolution."

Jennifer Marlo is associate editor of iMedia Connection.

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