Technology

Study: Mobile Marketing Field Growing Quickly

By / May 17, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

A new study by the Mobile Marketing Association finds the field is experiencing rapid growth in both investment and employment—something associations could certainly benefit from. But beyond promoting the industry, the study has a secondary motive: Warding off regulation.

If mobile isn’t a big part of your strategy, you might be missing on a quickly rising movement.

That’s the stance that the Mobile Marketing Association, a trade group focused on supporting the budding industry in a number of ways. But while the MMA Mobile Marketing Economic Impact Study shows a huge amount of potential for the industry’s growth, the secondary goal of the study might prove equally interesting to associations.

More key points from the study below:

How big could the industry get? The MMA study suggests that the industry could nearly triple in size from a job-creation level, from 524,000  jobs in 2012 to 1.4 million in 2015. It also predicts the industry will explode financially, jumping from $6.7 billion in investments in 2012 to a projected $19.8 billion by 2015. The marketing reach could be even wider—the association estimates that the impact of mobile marketing could surge from $139 billion in 2012 to more than $400 billion in 2015. And things don’t appear to be slowing, according to one the study’s researchers. “Historically, spending in all other mediums eventually flattens out and declines. We don’t see that curve in the data that we have,” said Columbia University marketing professor Joe Plummer, who spoke to AdAge.

The potential for social impact: One thing the study emphasizes is the role that such products could play in improving day-to-day routines. Mobile devices could, for example, help consumers save gasoline by helping them find a parking spot much more easily, or help prevent adverse effects from medicine by offering consumers more information on prescription drugs. For associations, clearly this stretches in many ways, from mobile payments to audience targeting to membership benefits.

Asking a bunch of people who are unfamiliar with mobile marketing to set up digital policy might inhibit innovation. Let’s not stifle job growth.

How much should you spend? With the industry growing at a quick rate, the association recommends that, on average, marketers should spend 7 percent of their marketing budgets on mobile products or advertising—a finding based on a 2012 study of the return on investment of mobile marketing. “Increasing mobile investment to the levels recommended will produce better business results for the same budget,” the association asserts.

On regulatory matters

While the study is meant to point out the benefits of marketers spending on mobile, there’s also a regulatory case here, Ad Age notes. As the industry grows, it may face increased regulation along the lines of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, an early bill on internet privacy. The association is hoping to prevent similar regulatory efforts on mobile marketing. “Asking a bunch of people who are unfamiliar with mobile marketing to set up digital policy might inhibit innovation,” MMA’s CEO Greg Stuart, told the publication. “Let’s not stifle job growth.”

The association notes in the study that self-regulatory efforts are already underway in the industry—a key element of ensuring consumer loyalty.

“Without consumer trust, no marketing media can sustain the high levels of customer engagement necessary to deliver scalable sales impacts,” the study states. “The always-on, always-present personal character of the mobile device introduces new communications opportunities for mobile marketers while raising new issues for the industry about how best to ensure consumers continue to trust the privacy practices of a medium they are already deeply engaged with.”

How do you see mobile marketing as playing a role in your organization’s long-term plans? Let us know your take in the comments below.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now and a former newspaper guy. More »

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