2012 Forecast: Mobile Marketing

Written on
Dec 28, 2011 
Jeff Hasen  |

ADOTAS – Having been involved in the mobile and advertising industries for over two decades, I can say with confidence that 2011 was a banner year for the discipline. Over the past year, consumers have proven that the mobile phone has become an integral part of the shopping experience. This is creating a number of exciting new opportunities for marketers to reach consumers at multiple touchpoints throughout the buying process.

Lessons From 2011

Let’s start by taking a look back at 2011. The biggest lesson we learned is that campaigns must tie directly to return on investment. Mobile campaigns are no longer experimental: Brands have significantly increased their budgets, and with this, expectations to show ROI have also increased.

A big factor in achieving desired ROI is reach. Despite what some may think, Apple does not have a lock on market share. Mobile marketers must think beyond iOS to reach consumers on all types of devices and networks. Mobile campaigns such as Macy’s Backstage Pass proved that providing consumers with choice in the call to action (i.e. providing a QR code and an SMS short code) drives strong results. It is with these lessons in mind that we look to 2012 and where the coming year will take us.

Thinking Beyond the Click

In the coming year, we can expect more pressure to produce results from mobile campaigns. This means it is critical to think beyond a one-time transaction. In 2012 we will see more long-term engagement opportunities and learn to think “beyond the click.”  There will be even more device types in the hands of consumers (new smartphones, tablets, e-readers, etc.), making it important to provide positive user experiences, rather than catering to the least common denominator.

Successful mobile campaigns have prominent calls to action and provide multiple ways to engage. Brands should consider using an SMS call to action and QR code on print advertising campaigns that point to a mobile website that can capture the customer’s information. This engages the consumer and introduces a concept of immediacy.

Social Media is Here to Stay

We can safely expect more social interaction via mobile device at the point of sale, making customer service vital. In a world where a good experience – and, unfortunately, a bad one – can end up on Twitter and Facebook in seconds, the mobile phone has become a megaphone from which customers broadcast thoughts in real time. Savvy brands can integrate mobile and social in a smart way to ensure positive customer experiences and avoid potential disasters.

More Vendors, More Promises

In such a high growth industry, we can expect more new vendors will enter the marketplace in 2012. My advice to brands and agencies is to proceed with caution. There is a lot to be said for experience when it comes to driving results. Any “two guys in a garage” startup and claim to know what they’re doing, but it’s important to ask questions and read case studies to make sure they can back up these claims beforehanding over your precious budget.

Patent Litigation Will Abound

Along with more vendors often come more “me too” technologies. This means patent lawyers will be busy in 2012. Patent infringements are continually identified and enforced, making it imperative to work with a company that has protected its industry knowledge and can keep you out of trouble.

Year of the Mobile Web

If I were to predict a breakout star for 2012, I would nominate the mobile web. As we move closer to the time when mobile web access eclipses PC web access, brands, agencies and others will realize they need a mobile Web offering that over-delivers. This has not yet happened, but we’re getting closer every day, and soon the time will come when consumers will demand it.

2012 Surprises

Social networks will play a more important role in the way we buy and recommend products. We don’t know yet what Twitter or Facebook will launch regarding product recommendation or commerce initiatives, but we should be prepared to react to new products and make sure all our initiatives are integrated with these social networks. Will others join the race to become the killer app and be able to deliver in such a crowded category? Will price points continue to be brought down with offers of discounted product in exchange for receiving ads a la Kindle? These answers remain to be seen.

New Year’s Mobile Resolutions?

In the New Year, we should all resolve to tie CRM into our mobile programs, ensuring a deeper relationship and more relevant information to the opted-in subscriber. Think after-the-click in mobile advertising – provide a means to an ongoing relationship. Follow behavior and interest research – just because you can do something technically doesn’t mean you should. Know your customers and prospects and market to them in ways that you have the best chance to succeed.

Happy Holiday’s and happy marketing in the New Year!


Jeff Hasen is CMO of Hipcricket. At Hipcricket, he conceived and led the execution of an accelerated rebranding effort in advance of the mobile marketing software and services company being named “the early leader in the mobile marketing space in the U.S.” by Frost and Sullivan. Hipcricket also won consecutive annual pioneer awards from CTIA and was named as a finalist in three 2010 MOBI Awards categories.

Jeff co-created the certification program for the Mobile Marketing Association. He is one of only two individuals certified by the MMA to train professionals and students on mobile marketing definitions, techniques and benefits.

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