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In the next five years, Experian predicts more than 50% of marketing budgets will be associated with mobile, as above-the-line channels continue to become more interactive and engaging - but it’s a far cry from where Australian marketers are today.

A recent study conducted by the CMO council and Adobe found only 41% of Australian marketers are spending 25+% of their marketing budgets on digital activity as a whole - and there is little doubt in my mind that mobile investment is barely more than a blip.

With consumer consumption of mobile internet growing at a rapid rate, Australian brands can no longer ignore the importance of mobile as a key channel within the marketing mix.

The gap between Australian consumer usage of mobile internet & mobile uptake by brands

According to the PayPal Secure Insight Consumer Discovery study, 64% of Australians now have a smartphone which is fuelling rapid growth in mobile internet consumption.

Not only however is this creating a new medium for brands to connect and engage with consumers - the influence mobile is having on consumer purchase decisions cannot be ignored.

The PayPal study revealed 52% of Australians have at one time or another utilised a mobile or tablet device as part of the ‘discovery’ process to support shopping activities, such as price comparisons or learning more about products.

And, as consumers increase the frequency to which they are turning to their device to make these decisions, mobile influence is set to soar.

A recent Deloitte study, the Dawn of Mobile Influence, projects that by 2016 as much as 17-21% of all retail sales will be mobile influenced.

According to Deloitte themselves:

The current influence of mobile devices on traditional in-store sales already far overshadows the value of direct sales on mobile devices, which is forecasted to be $12bn in 2012. 

Furthermore, by 2016 we expect the influence of mobile will even surpass the fast-growing sales of the ecommerce channel.

In fact, we project the mobile influence factor will reach 17–21% over the next four years, which will likely translate to $628–$752bn (or an average of $689bn) in mobile influenced retail sales.

But while mobile consumption is on the up, the lack of investment in mobile by Australian companies is underwhelming - which has resulted in a growing divide between consumers mobile experience expectations and the mobile capability of businesses.

In a recent survey conducted by Experian it was found that only 4% of Australian marketers are regularly implementing mobile marketing activities, despite the widespread belief it will be one of the most important ways to communicate with customers in the future.

Additionally, in November 2012, BRW revealed only 50% of organisations participating in Click Frenzy (Australia’s biggest online sale) had a mobile-enabled site experience.

This not only makes mobile an important consideration for Australian brands in 2013, investing in mobile should be a priority on every senior marketers' professional New Year’s resolution list.

What will be hot in mobile down under in 2013?

Many New Year’s resolutions are usually at risk of being ditched by February - and by March they are a distance memory - but I have a feeling that mobile will not be a resolution Australian marketers turn their back on during 2013.

Below are some of the key areas I believe Australian marketers will turn their attention to in the year ahead.

Mobile Coupons

Get ready for a big year in mobile coupons. 

With a growing number of mobile coupon / local deal platforms in the market (i.e. ShopperNova, Groupon) and POS systems becoming more sophisticated – brands in verticals like retail, fast food will be looking to leverage mobile coupons as a new cost effective local area marketing tool to lure consumers in-store.

Campaign integration

An increasing number of brands (locally & globally) are turning to QR codes as a way to enable above the line campaigns to become more interactive and I think we will see even more Australian brands adopt them in 2013.

But unfortunately QR codes have never really become mainstream. Recent research by Econsultancy revealed 62% of Australian consumers don’t know what a QR codes is, or how to use them.

I also envisage brands will begin to experiment with AR and SMS to build more engagement and interactivity into campaigns.

Mobile email

While it isn’t as glamorous or sexy as other parts of mobile marketing, I do believe marketers who are serious about mobile will take a closer look at how their email strategy is impacted by the shift in eyeballs to smaller screens.

A report released by Pure Profile in 2012 found that 41% of Australians check email on their phone as the first thing they do in the morning when they wake up - and 45% do it as the last thing they do before they go to sleep at night, even on weekends.

As a result, marketers will start to focus on mobile friendly email designs (or responsive design) to improve the email experience for consumers and maximise response rates.

Multi-channel apps – loyalty, payments and preferences

Savvier Australian brands, that have embraced digital, will experiment with technologies like Apple Passbook in 2013 to improve the in-store customer experience.

Like Starbucks, Target and Walmart, Australian retail leaders will focus their attention on building and enhancing apps with loyalty, mobile payment and preference features to reduce wait times, eliminate physical loyalty cards and provide a more personal shopping experience.

Teresa Sperti

Published 15 January, 2013 by Teresa Sperti

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