Forrester: marketers are still underestimating mobile

Hester Gras

Marketing managers in Europe and the United States are still underestimating mobile and deploying this channel wrong. According to a new report from Forrester Research, ‘The State of Mobile Technology for Marketers in 2014‘, many marketing managers are working aimlessly at building apps. They use a variety of mobile technologies, but this use is rarely sophisticated and more often than not, does not match customer behaviors.

Sophistication of consumers’ use of smartphones is climbing, says Thomas Husson, marketing strategy analyst at Forrester.  “Mobile is simply part of our daily lives and, therefore, fundamentally changes customer expectations. With mobile traffic exploding, marketers are not only underserving their best customers by delivering a poor mobile experience, but risk losing their business altogether.”

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Husson’s research involved 74 senior marketeers and 80.000 consumers. It exposes the gap between how marketers and consumers embrace mobile. Marketers are still too much in love with the latest mobile “shiny object”, says Husson. “We are only slowly moving away from the first generation mobile apps towards smart apps. These are apps that provide customers actually contextually relevant information and services. Marketers have to wonder what purpose their core audience uses mobile and how they can provide added value. The needs of your audience and your business objectives have to be clear before you can start to execute your mobile strategy.”

Only a small majority of marketers – 59 percent – know their customers’ usage and attitudes toward mobile phones. The failure to close the gap between how customers are using mobile and how marketers are using it will have real ramifications for marketers within two to three years, according to the report. It will lead to increasing opportunity costs and will make brands irrelevant. This will leave companies unprepared to evolve their business model, forcing them to stick with outmoded computing form factors and eating up budget.

“Mobile is the catalyst for broader technology and marketing changes,” says Thomas Husson, “Marketers who are not ready to move away from a traditional marketing approach to develop new experiences for the most complex platform today will be lost in a world where computing will be disconnected from screens and where connected objects and wearables create new opportunities.”

Photos: © Hollandse Hoogte

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