Mobile is potentially the holy grail of marketing. Billions of individuals around the world own a mobile phone, and for many, the mobile phone has become the most important, most frequently used communication tool.

With smartphone adoption soaring, marketers can increasingly reach mobile phone owners in compelling ways. But that doesn't mean mobile marketing is delivering ROI.

A recent survey conducted by Luth Research for Upstream, a mobile marketing solutions provider, may shine some light on how marketers can change that.

The conclusion that can be drawn from the survey: forget timing and location. When it comes to what mobile users want, these things matter far less than personalization and incentivization.

In other words, hitting consumers with offers that cater to their interests and for which they've opted in is far more effective than trying to find a magical formula for hitting them with an unsolicited message at the right place and time.

Just how much more effective? Amongst the 2,000 individuals Luth Research surveyed, approximately 60% preferred personalized offers. Only 17% and 14% favored promotions based on timing and location, respectively.

According to Assaf Baciu, Upstream's SVP of Product Management, "This data reinforces the very intimate, personal nature of consumers’ mobile devices, and the singular priority for mobile marketers to carefully manage and optimize their engagement and number of interactions with customers."

The importance of recognizing that the mobile phone is a very personal device cannot be understated. Recently, in discussing marketers' general unhappiness with mobile advertising ROI, I noted that as powerful as mobile advertising has the potential to be, "advertisers should keep in mind that the mobile is also a very personal device, making the potential to annoy far, far greater."

The good news is that marketers may find that success with mobile is relatively simple: limit interactions to those that were requested, and find ways to incentivize action. Such an approach works in other channels, so it's not a stretch to believe that it would work with the mobile channel as well.

Patricio Robles

Published 12 August, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2647 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (2)


Nick Stamoulis

"limit interactions to those that were requested"

This is probably the number one rule for mobile marketing. You cannot invade someone's phone and expect them to appreciate it. Just like any other form of marketing, you have to tread lightly when reaching out to your consumers. If you do it too frequently they'll feel like you are spamming them.

about 7 years ago


Tom Griffin

Do you think if the consumer has an option to opt out of seeing localized deals, do you think that makes sense. If the mobile app pops up a message and says do you want to see deals in your area and this is based on a location based application.


about 7 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.