Major brands are looking to invest heavily in mobile marketing over the next five years according to an independent survey of large brands in the financial services, retail and manufacturing sectors commissioned by O2.

Despite the economic slowdown, brands do not believe that this will jeopardise mobility spending and the percentage of budgets spent on mobile marketing and communications is set to increase almost 150% by 2013.

Whilst online advertising is currently more popular than mobile internet marketing, two thirds of businesses state that mobile marketing campaigns generate a higher response rate than traditional methods due to the more personal ways they can reach their customers. The majority of marketing directors (60%) favour mobile marketing thanks to its highly targeted nature, particularly those in the financial services sector. Interestingly, 88 % of marketing directors anticipate behavioural targeting to be an important capability by 2010 enabling them to gain valuable customer insights.[1]

However, half of those yet to deploy a mobile marketing campaign are concerned that their customers will view the text messages as spam. This misconception is confirmed by 46% of respondents, who stated they would only use mobile marketing if they were able to target their campaigns specifically, even though other users believe that mobile marketing has the ability to provide more targeting possibilities than any other advertising platform.

The most popular use of mobile marketing is for information services campaigns across the retail (60%) and financial services sectors (54%), while 40% use mobile marketing to send booking confirmations, to deliver appointment updates and to confirm items in stock.

Other popular uses of mobile marketing highlighted in the report include:

  • text to win competitions (28%)
  • text to call back campaigns (24%)
  • text to email campaigns (24%).

Of all mobile marketing solutions, SMS marketing is proving to be the most popular with almost a third of businesses surveyed using text messages to reach their existing or potential customers. Significantly, brands are not only using SMS, MMS and mobile barcoding techniques to communicate with their customers but almost half of those questioned (44%) use mobile for internal communication campaigns, with the method used by nearly all of those in the manufacturing sector (98%).

Although brand experience of mobile marketing is increasingly positive, concerns about integration remain high for IT directors, with many (43%) expecting difficulty integrating SMS marketing within their current IT infrastructure. However, of all brands currently deploying mobile marketing campaigns, 95% have experienced very little or no integration problems.

Simon Dean, Head of Mobile Media, O2 UK, comments, “As SMS continues to grow, there has never been a better time for brands to engage with their customers via mobile. In today’s economic climate, mobile is proving to be a cost effective, targeted way for businesses to interact with exactly the people they want, from sending a text reminder to alert a customer to an overdrawn bank account to confirming a delivery via SMS.”

“In fact, one in ten of those we surveyed already think mobile marketing has saved their business at least £1 million when compared to other marketing solutions. With more consumers than ever browsing the web through their mobile handsets, there is a significant and largely untapped audience for brands to target their customers directly.”

O2 commissioned Vanson Bourne in May 2008 to survey IT directors and marketing directors in 100 leading brands about their current and future plans for mobile marketing.

[1] Source: Booz Allen Hamilton, Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010; survey of top 100 global CMOs, media companies, February 2008

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