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73% of companies are planning an investment in mobile channels in 2011, with almost half planning to move into mobile commerce. 

Econsultancy's Customer Engagement Report, which we produced in association with cScape, has some interesting findings on companies' use of mobile. 

It seems that, as well as losing their fear of social media, more firms are coming round to the value of mobile. 

Investment in mobile for customer engagement

The majority of company respondents (73%) are planning to invest in the mobile channel this year, an increase of 13% since last year's survey, when 60% planned investment.

Less than a fifth of client-side respondents (19%) are planning to invest “significantly”, with 54% saying that investment will be limited. 

Do you plan to invest in the mobile channel in 2011? 

mobile investment3small

Agency respondents report fewer numbers of companies (18% compared to 27%) that are not planning an investment in the mobile, while 41% of agencies say that mobile apps have had a measurable impact for their clients, compared to less than a quarter of responding companies (23%). 

How are companies using mobile to build customer engagement? 

The majority (73%) of company respondents are planning to invest in mobile this year, compared with 60% in last year's survey.

Our report also looks into how companies are using mobile for customer engagement. The use of mobile has increased across almost all of the areas shown in the chart below. 

Notable stats include the fact that 23% of firms are already creating mobile apps, with a further 47% planning to do so in the next 12 months. 

How are you using mobile to build customer engagement? (Click here for a larger version)

Mobile and customer engagement 1 small

The survey also shows the increased attention paid to mobile commerce by companies. While a relatively small number (15%) already have a transactional mobile presence, a further 46% are planning to invest in mobile commerce in 2011. 

Challenges holding back mobile investment

There are still plenty of challenges which hold back or make investment in mobile more difficult, and lack of expertise and budget, internal buy-in and integration issues were cited by both companies and agencies as major challenges.

Many companies say they do not have the expertise to initiate mobile projects and this is mainly because they do not have specialised personnel. The lack of knowledge and skills is sometimes preventing organisations from fully understanding and realising the potential benefits and business value.

Another issue that emerged from the survey responses is the lack of senior management and internal buy-in. For many firms, mobile is not a priority, and has not been integrated into their overall strategy. 

With the continued growth of mobile use, and the successes that brands like Amazon and M&S have already had on mobile, this is something that is likely to change in the next year. 

Graham Charlton

Published 26 January, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

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Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

While I agree lack of knowledge and skills is holding some back I believe that this research shines a bright light on another reason: Outcomes.

The bottom line is budgets. And that means CEOs & CFOs (bean-counters) are reading research (like this fine work) and taking note of the lack of outcomes being cited.

* Creating applications, facilitating UGC -- with what outcome?
* Increased dialogue with customers -- designed in a way to produce what?
* Customer lifecycle marketing, CRM -- "all things we already do" (with what success?)

So I'm wondering why we would expect organizational buy-in -- when what most of us are doing is following research that points at how lost we are?  Just my two cents.  And maybe I'm just not seeing the complete picture due to only viewing a snapshot of the research...

over 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Jeff, 

I think there are examples of outcomes, particularly with mobile commerce, Amazon and eBay are well known examples, but UK retailers such as Ocado and M&S have experienced significant sales and traffic to their mobile sites and apps. 

Since this is a survey report, we are primarily asking what firms are doing now and plan to, though there are some questions on outcomes and effectiveness or various forms of engagement. 

As you said, you may not be seeing a complete picture for this reason, but then we can't give all of the report away on the blog;)

over 5 years ago

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Jason DaPonte

I realise with this is a survey report on what's going on and not necessarily what SHOULD be going on but, I agree that companies need to focus on outcomes. I see too many companies that have made an app 'because we need to have an app, everyone has an app.' With the exception of mobile entertainment/software companies (for whom this is their WHOLE business), your mobile strategy needs to DO something for your business, be it the outcomes mentioned above or other strategic objectives, there needs to be a point and it needs to drive value. Corporate "pamphlets" will quickly be disregarded. While it may be in the full report and not mentioned in this article, I'd like to know more about WHICH mobile channels are being used by companies and which they're planning to use. Apps have driven the world into a frenzy (and probably rightly so) but what about mobile web, SMS and NFC? Are they increasing/decreasing? A good mobile strategy should be looking at all of these and making good decisions about which to use when (or not).

over 5 years ago

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Mike Dunphy, Director at MD Media Consulting Ltd

I think there is a fear within many agencies, particularly 'digital' ones, to seriously propose mobile because

1) a lack of knowledge within agencies themselves and

2) the fact that it exposes that most of their work is not properly measurable and adding another element waters this down further. You can imagine the meetings - 'mmmm what percentage of this uplift in sales shall we say is due to mobile? 25%?' reply: 'but that means we have to reduce the % due to SEO.....'

So it is easier to persuade a brand to stick to what they are currently spending on.

Just adding an App to a campaign is a poor way of 'dealing with' mobile.

over 5 years ago

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John Stewart

These findings are significant since they illustrate that more companies are recognizing the importance of implementing a mobile strategy. Unfortunately, investing limited time and resources to simply address mobile will not help your company see the outcomes they are hoping for – whether it’s increased mobile sales or creating dialogue with customers. I work for Kony and in order for companies to truly take advantage of mobile they must fully embrace it and dedicate the necessary resources while ensuring they have a long term plan in place. Our company recently found that only 12.6% of the 119 consumer-facing companies we surveyed had fully deployed all of their planned mobile offerings. These plans should include addressing how the company will drive value through their offering (as Jason mentioned), make it available over all devices and platforms, and update it quickly to address technological advances. Once your company answers these questions they will be able to create a comprehensive offering that helps them reap the benefits that mobile can offer.

over 5 years ago

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cellar conversions

Mobile for customer engagement that is good idea and also graph saw good ratio of company's who planning to using this idea for their business.

over 5 years ago

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Charlie Oakham

Yes the results are significant, but we all knew that this was the 'year of the mobile and tablet' didn't we?

We have found that business not only want to engage with clients and customers though mobile commerce sites and apps, but also through geographic based bookmarking sites - or through offline QR codes to mobile sites.

The places that mobile can take us is unlimited and I welcome forward thinking clients who want to take it on and engage with their customers mobile.

over 5 years ago

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