Thursday, November 5, 2009

The State of Mobile Marketing

Here we are getting ready to wind down the year 2009. Or, stated in a reverse way, here we are getting ready to gear up toward the biggest push of the year - Holiday 2009.

The interest in the mobile channel continues to grow, and certainly there will be a big push in mobile marketing in the 7 weeks remaining in this year.

So what have interactive marketers been doing these past several months? If you're an interactive marketer, are you curious to see where you fit with your peers?

According to Forrester Research Analyst Shar VanBoskirk's US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2009 to 2014, total mobile marketing spend is projected to grow in the U.S. from $391 million in 2009 to $1.3 billion by 2014 for a compound annual growth rate of 27%. This is quite illuminating in light of the fact that the Kelsey Group estimates that the traditional segment (i.e. newspapers, direct mail, television, radio, print Yellow Pages, out of home (non-digital), cable television and magazines) will decrease from $141.3 billion in 2008 to $112.4 billion in 2013 for a compound annual growth (or more accurately "shrinkage") rate of -4.5%, and total ad spend will likewise decrease at a CAGR of -1.4%.

In spite of a 27% CAGR, spend on mobile marketing in the US is still a very small piece of the pie.

Forrester Analyst Neil Strother says in his research report, Best Practices: Mobile Marketing, that 65% of survey respondents either currently use or plan to use the mobile channel in their marketing mix, but that about half will do so with a budget of $1 million or less.

Of the marketers using the mobile channel, only about half increased their 2009 budgets over the previous year.

So it appears that marketers are adopting the mobile channel - but doing so cautiously.

SMS, or text messaging, dominates the mobile tactics being used today.

But, be on the look out for increased spending in search as location-based marketing will get bigger and bigger mindshare thanks to the growth of GPS-enabled mobile devices.

So there you have it. Total marketing spend is shrinking in this tightened economy. Interactive marketing - including the mobile channel - is growing, but only because marketers are shifting their media buy from traditional channels into the interactive.

But though long in the tooth traditional channels may be, they are still the tried and the true. Marketers are tempering their budget shifts with caution.

How do you compare to those that Forrester Research surveyed? Leave me a comment.

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