Mobile Marketing on the Rise, While Social Marketing Suffers “Growing Pains”

Mobile marketing is on the rise, while social media marketing expectations have been tamped down, an IBM survey shows. The results, published in the company’s annual global survey of marketers, were announced during this week’s Marketing Innovation Summit in Boston.

The survey underscored an “urgent need to turn data into actions” with an increasing recognition of mobile’s marketing power and social marketing’s “growing pains.” More than 40 percent of consumers use mobile marketing and another 20 percent plan to within the year. On the other hand, though more than half of marketers use social media, their enthusiasm is waning.

Yuchun Lee, founder and former CEO of Unica and current vice president and general manager for IBM’s enterprise marketing management (EMM) group, says the results do not mean that social media marketing channels need to be “thrown out the window.”

“There are always these cycles of what we call overhype and disillusion,” he explains.

In addition, the survey forecasts that by the end of the year, 1 billion consumers will use their mobile phones to browse the Internet. However, only 40 percent of respondents said they are using mobile marketing tactics, while 60 percent are forecast to employ mobile campaigns by next year.

“In about two years, most of the Internet traffic will be coming out of handheld devices,” Lee predicts. “The Internet itself is also changing remarkably. The biggest change right now is the change from the Internet as a network of content to a network of people.”

Lee also observes that customers are “becoming much more vocal.” The growth of social media sites, such as Facebook, has a “ripple-down effect in how businesses should operate and run.” As a result, marketers should remain committed to delivering an engaging social media campaign. “The social network is the truth serum for businesses,” he jokes. “Today, the brand is shaped by the conversations that are happening on the social networks. What people are saying about your products and services will dictate your brand.”

Marketing technology also is in high demand. Almost 90 percent of the survey’s respondents expressed interest in an integrated marketing suite, and more than half cited technology as the key to productivity, citing such areas as resolving challenges and choosing the next best course of action.

“More is certainly the key word for our times,” says Paul McNulty, director of EMM for IBM. “But, as the results of our annual survey of marketers reveal, the proliferation of marketing channels and the simultaneous explosion of data pose a wealth of challenges for marketers in 2011.”

McNulty adds that markers are seeking solutions “to turn more marketing possibilities into better marketing results.” The survey shows that marketers believe in “interactive marketing,” but half of respondents reported that they are only “partially” achieving that goal.

“Our goal is to help customers move from the siloed approach of the past,” Lee says.

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