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03/19/2015

Tip of the Mobile Spear

Mobile marketing is all the rage in retail these days, and the statistics fueling the trend are mindboggling. More people in the world use mobile devices than toothbrushes and about 75% of Americans admit to using a mobile device in their bathrooms. There are three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are fixed broadband connections in the world. Fourteen countries have more than 100 million mobile users with China alone boasting of 1.2 billion users. In the U.S., over 40% of shoppers use three or more channels to shop, approximately 80% of customers use a smartphone to shop.
 
In response to these mobile usage trends, U.S. marketers spent about $15 billion, one-fourth of all digital spending, on mobile marketing in 2014. And about 78% of U.S. retailers plan to invest even more in mobile marketing in 2015.

What is the next frontier in mobile marketing? A team of leading experts in mobile marketing from academia and industry brainstormed over this question in a recently concluded two-day Thought Leadership Conference at the Center for Retailing Studies, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University. They concluded that mobile marketing is likely to witness path-turning changes in several areas: mobile shopper marketing, advertising, promotions, channels, supply chains, gaming and services.

To start with, mobile marketing will be less standalone and more integrated with SMACIT (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Internet of Things). In mobile shopper marketing, the key trends will include firms touching the shopper at different stages in the shopping journey all the way from a shopping trigger to social media behavior post purchase. Marketers will increasingly use mobile media and devices to engage the well-armed shopper even if customers are prone to compare prices and be deal sensitive. Mobile advertising will evolve from simple banner/display advertising to increased contextual messaging geared toward enhanced engagement.

With mobile device form factor varying from small smartphone to phablet to tablet, mobile advertising will become more responsive and dynamic in design. Mobile promotions will be ubiquitous with the emergence of card-linked mobile offerings and one-touch pay. More firms will do A/B testing of mobile offers across multiple mobile platforms and devices. Retailers will move from mere geotargeting to more behavioral targeting of shoppers for promotional offers.

Mobile marketing will be an integral part of omnichannel marketing, which will focus on integrated online and offline marketing, product assortment, product returns management, and seamless experience management. Mobile channels will be increasingly used to search, discover, order, and track shopping related information.

More personalization, the second-hand market and education will be key in popularizing mobile gaming. Mobile gaming performance will be enhanced by image effects, genre congruency, nonlinear reward structure, device primacy, and individual versus group identity.

Venky Shankar is professor of marketing and Coleman chair in marketing, director of research, Center for Retailing Studies, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University. For more information on the program visit http://mays.tamu.edu.

* Graph is courtesty of the Mobile Marketing Association