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Mobile has arrived as legitimate marketing medium: Forrester

In 2011, Forrester Research predicts that marketers and retailers will take the training wheels off mobile programs and start investing in cohesive mobile marketing and commerce strategies.

After a record year for mobile marketing spend and success, mobile has finally arrived as a legitimate marketing medium, per Forrester.

“Designated interactive marketers will become the first set of true mobile marketers, creating specific mobile search and display media buying plans, while scrutinizing one-offs like campaign-based apps will for providing additive business value,” said Melissa Parrish, New York-based analyst at Forrester, in the report.

“Location-aware services will remain in testing as the market continues to innovate and marketers find value propositions that drive more consumer adoption,” she said.

“Despite increasing activity and more strategic spending, inconsistent data and analytics will plague mobile marketers hoping to make a business case for testing emerging opportunities.”

New Year’s resolution: Create a mobile marketing strategy
If 2010 was the year marketers tested mobile, 2011 will be the year marketers take a serious look at what they—and their competitors—have learned and make steps toward creating cohesive mobile strategies.

To do this quickly and effectively, Forrester recommends that marketers and retailers apply the POST methodology to their mobile marketing (People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology).

Asking yourself who your target audience is and how they use their mobile phones will provide necessary clarity for the rest of the POST process.

Forrester has developed a Mobile Technographics ladder to help you characterize your customers and see how they differ from the general population.

Start with your overall marketing objective: What do you want to accomplish with this marketing program? Are you conducting customer acquisition campaigns or brand awareness? Do you want to increase sales?

Once you have established your overall objectives, ask yourself how mobile can support your larger goals.

Once you define your goal, you have to create a plan for how to accomplish it. This plan is your strategy. Types of questions you want to answer here are: What is my budget?

What resources exist today? What resources will I need to execute this new vision?

Technology decisions are made last, not first, so you have all the inputs to make an informed decision.

There are a number of technology options in mobile, and too often people choose a technology that does not suit their consumers.

For example, if your customers search, what types of content are they looking for?

You can add a number of elements to paid search advertisements such as coupons, directions and click-to-call links, but you should only add features if they deliver value toward your stated objective.

“More than one-third—34 percent—of interactive marketers are currently implementing or are planning to implement a mobile program,” Ms. Parrish said. “Mobile marketers are building on the successes they have seen and experienced from 2010.

“Mobile is poised for major investment in 2011 because case studies expose a healthy marketing channel, innovations have gained traction and consumer mobile usage is skyrocketing,” she said.

Final Take
Giselle Tsirulnik, senior editor, Mobile Commerce Daily