The Mobile Must: Local Shoppers

Part 1 of a series on mobile/local marketing

Posted by Daina Middleton, CEO

A number of years ago, while I working in a marketing function at HP, though reporting into engineering at the time, I proposed the idea of mobile printing to the engineering team.  At the time, the engineering group thought I was crazy.  The conversations went something like, why would anyone be interested in printing from a phone?  The unlimited creativity inside HP at the time sparked someone to author a patent, and I was fortunate enough to be named an author of the idea.  I believe this was somewhere around 1996 or 1997.  I was using a Motorola Startac Organizer which attached to the back of my phone and synced with my computer calendar. Those were the days. Verizon discontinued my device insurance coverage because I dropped the awkwardly clunky device a number of times.  Passionate about the impact mobile could have on our culture, I explored the idea of patenting a disposable mobile phone – for the days when I forgot the device at home – can you even think of doing that today and not turning around?  Or, for when I employed a babysitter to watch my kids and I wanted to have continuous access.  Can you actually imagine hiring a babysitter today who doesn’t have a phone? 

The point here is I have long been enamored by the social, cultural, behavioral and marketing effects mobile would have in our world.  As a consequence, I have made it my mission to champion mobile as a component in the marketing mix for years. My team at Moxie Interactive turned its early successes for Verizon Wireless into a formalized mobile marketing practice and did so not by supporting and developing mobile marketing in a vacuum but by making mobile the centerpiece of all campaigns and ensuring it worked well in combination with all aspects of the marketing mix.

Today, Performics positions mobile as a cornerstone of all its performance marketing campaigns and works diligently to ensure local, mobile and social are all intrinsically linked. Particularly in our local practice, mobile permeates each and in every client campaign we execute.

The efforts have already started to pay big dividends for advertisers. Those who actively manage their mobile search campaigns separately, for example, managed to reduce costs per click by 60 percent on average while more than doubling click through rates in 2010. In addition, as a percentage of overall search clicks, mobile is growing rapidly. In the next three months, we expect 10 percent of all Performics search clicks through Google to come from mobile. This could exceed 16 percent by the end of 2011. For more data and insights on the growth of mobile at Performics, check out “Was 2010 The Year For Mobile Search?” by our own senior analyst James Beveridge.  

But no matter how you slice it or where you turn for insights, there’s no denying mobile’s potential. In the last quarter alone, the insights and findings swirling through the marketplace making a case for local mobile marketing have been impressive. Minimally, marketers ought to have a sense of the general growth of mobile, mobile’s growth compared to computers and the changing ways shoppers use their mobile phones. Three articles from November provide helpful insights:

Meeker: Smartphones to Eclipse PCs by 2012
This story from MediaPost’s MoBlog ran on November 16, details select findings from a recent Morgan Stanley report and offers a wide array of insights on the general growth of mobile. Among many interesting data points, this article focuses on smartphone shipments outpacing notebook and desktop PCs, “with more than 450 million projected to be shipped in 2012.”

The Real Battle Between Facebook and Google Is for Your Phone
eMarketer principal analyst Noah Elkin contributed this Digital Next article to It covers interesting new research from the Yankee Group, eMarketer and others, detailing the growing amount of time people spend with their phones, especially when compared with PCs or TV, among other interesting findings.

More holiday shoppers will turn to mobile phones this year for product info
This November 12 story from Internet Retailer focuses on some interesting research from Deloitte. Based around the finding that one in five respondents planned to use their mobile phones for holiday shopping this year, the story goes on to explain how they planned to use them:

  1. 56% will research prices (up from 45% last year)
  2. 39% will read reviews
  3. 46% will obtain product information
  4. 39% will read product reviews
  5. 38% will check to see if a particular store stocks a product

Clearly, mobile is growing, stealing share from PCs and laptops, and playing a major role for perhaps 20 percent of local in-store shoppers. This sweeping change has been on the horizon for years, but mobile has gained much respect over the years with approving nods coming from all corners of the marketing universe today. It’s no wonder then that many of the country’s top marketers have chosen to not sit idly by as mobile display advertising begins to gain traction and instead proactively positioning mobile as the cornerstone of their performance marketing, search and local campaigns.

Having made the case for prominent inclusion of mobile in the mix, my next post will examine how mobile marketing is local and why the channel provides the perfect anchor for most performance marketing programs.

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