For Business Large and Small, Mobile Remains an Opportunity

Posted by Taylor Haney on Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Excited to share another insightful mobile guest blog post with you. Christopher Litster (@cmlitster), Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Constant Contact discusses the important of keeping an eye on trending mobile innovations. 

Chris Litster 2015A member of the Constant Contact team since 2006, Chris has played a pivotal role in the company’s growth and product expansion and now oversees Constant Contact’s global sales and marketing strategy.  During his tenure he has served in a variety of senior sales and marketing positions, from leading Constant Contact’s web strategy and conversion marketing teams, to launching its first business unit based on an event management tool.  Through these roles he has developed a deep knowledge of the small business market the company serves.  

“We need to be doing more on mobile.”

It’s a common goal I hear from both our small business customers at Constant Contact and my peers at larger organizations. Marketers everywhere are realizing that mobile technology can unlock tremendous potential for their businesses and radically change customer acquisition and engagement.

However, what exactly does it mean to “do more on mobile”? Recent research suggests that the answer may differ based on the size of the company, but common threads are apparent.

Small Businesses: Moving Beyond “Traditional” Smartphone Use

First, the notion that small businesses aren’t using mobile technology should be dispelled immediately. One of our recent surveys found that 70 percent of small businesses are using mobile tools or solutions for their businesses, with 39 percent using multiple mobile devices. Customer communications and time management lead the way in smartphone usage (73 percent and 75 percent, respectively), and earlier this year Endurance found that 55 percent of small businesses realize that mobile technology is fundamentally changing sales.

However, many small businesses appear to not recognize the full extent to which they can take advantage of mobile. Communications and time management have been primary functions of smartphones now for almost a decade, but only 51 percent of small business owners view their phone as a marketing tool. And other ways small businesses can use mobile technology are still largely untapped: Fifteen percent use their phone for employee management, and only 10 percent leverage accounting/invoicing mobile apps.

Large Businesses: Struggling to Address Mobile Strategy Gaps

Forrester’s 2015 Mobile Predictions report paints a fairly stark picture of the mobile landscape among larger businesses. The research firm predicts a mobile technology “arms race,” with companies investing more in mobile than ever before. However, the report also warns that effective mobile implementation requires more than just financial investment, it also requires a mindshift. Enterprises need to rethink how they can tap mobile, moving beyond seeing it as just another communications channel to focusing on “mobile moments” that delight customers. Forrester cites that only seven percent of enterprises have been able to successfully make such a transformation.

A more specific example of enterprises struggling with mobile was released earlier this month. Boulder Marketing Technology surveyed each Fortune 500 company website and found that 44 percent of their sites were not mobile friendly, which is surprisingly high given the minor investment a mobile-friendly website would require for these corporate leaders. These findings become even more concerning when you take into account that Google will soon start deemphasizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly in their search results.

Mobile as an Experience

Whether you’re part of a five-person operation or five-thousand, these findings suggest that the correct solution to “doing more on mobile” means changing the definition of “mobile.”

As the Forrester report highlights, mobile is no longer just another digital channel. Mobile is now an experience, one that most people have on a near-constant basis and one that allows for a kind of marketing spontaneity and creativity never-before seen.

It is also an experience that is always expanding. A few years’ ago both marketers and consumers were delighted just to see an email on a Blackberry or iPhone app; now 75 percent of consumers say they will delete an email if they can’t easily read it on their smartphone.

Ultimately, to succeed in mobile today means to remain constantly aware of how mobile innovations are changing how people communicate, and then holistically applying those changes to our businesses.

And then expect that everything will change tomorrow.

Topics: MITX, mobile