Airwide Survey Reveals Progress, But…

An independent survey of 50 global brand-name companies commissioned by Airwide Solutions, the mobile messaging infrastructure and application provider, reveals significant progress for the mobile marketing industry.
The survey, conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne in July 2007, found that 28% of companies surveyed have already launched live SMS campaigns, and 18% have launched live MMS campaigns. Growth in the sophistication of mobile marketing campaigns is reflected in the number of brands considering implementing both SMS and MMS mobile marketing in the next 12 months, which has doubled to 28% since a similar survey was carried out in 2006. The survey also found that more brands are looking to spend a greater proportion of their marketing budget on mobile campaigns in the near future, with 71% of brands projecting to spend up to 10% of their budget on mobile marketing within two years time. 
Brand experience with mobile marketing is increasingly positive, as more brands are getting higher response rates from their campaigns. The percentage of big brands who said that up to 10% of recipients of mobile marketing campaigns requested more information as a result of receiving a mobile marketing message grew from 32% in 2006 to 58% in 2007. The news is even better for financial transactions, with 73% of brands stating that up to 10% of recipients subsequently undertook a financial action as a result of the campaign, compared with 28% in 2006. Every responding brand agreed that their most recent mobile marketing campaign was successful in increasing customer familiarity of their brand.
Most significantly, the experience of brands using mobile marketing demonstrates that the actual campaign response rate is even higher than the expectations of those who have not yet implemented mobile marketing. According to the survey, 57% of brands not yet using mobile marketing anticipate that customers will request more information, while 83% of brands that have already implemented campaigns said they received requests for more information.
The numbers for financial transactions are even higher, with 38% of inexperienced brands stating that they expect consumers to undertake consequent financial actions, while 82% of experienced brands said that recipients completed a financial action as a result of being sent a mobile marketing message. 
Despite enthusiasm for mobile marketing, however, there are barriers holding back even higher growth rates, with more than half of brands not yet employing the use of either text messaging (58%) or multimedia messaging (60%) for marketing purposes. 
As brands have learned about mobile marketing, the perception that SMS is a reliable and measurable medium has increased, with the number of brands that find SMS too complicated for marketing dropping significantly from 24% in 2006 to 8% in 2007. Additionally, more brands now know how to measure its effectiveness, with uncertainty about how to do so dropping from 18% in 2006 to 11% in 2007. In contrast, however, the perception that MMS is difficult to use, has grown from 14% in 2006 to 29% in 2007, and concerns about reliability have grown from 12% in to 34% in the same timeframe.
Almost half of big brands (46%) are concerned that mobile marketing is too intrusive, with many feeling that customers will perceive messages as spam. Of these, 41% are unsure how to rectify the problem by targeting specific audiences. Over a third of brands (36%) would require detailed information on how the user responded to the message, and one in five want proof that the message has been received by the users handset (concerns mirrored by recent high profile issues with TV text voting).
Airwide aims to tackle these issues through elements of the companys mobile messaging product line, including AirGate, AirGuard AntiSpam and AirManager Reporting. Airwides suite of solutions provides marketers with information to better target campaigns, enhance the reliability and scalability of the underlying infrastructure, improve the quality of interaction with the consumer and measure overall campaign effectiveness. In addition, the suite provides network operators with tools to support marketing campaigns, while protecting their subscribers from SPAM and giving consumers the controls to ensure they only receive wanted information from trusted sources.
The ongoing development of component-based mobile messaging systems has paved the way for a range of valuable new marketing opportunities for brands which, in turn, creates a significant revenue opportunity for mobile operators, says Airwide Chief Marketing Officer, Jay Seaton. However, the present take up of mobile marketing is somewhat inhibited by a lack of supporting information to manage and optimise marketing programs. With reliable infrastructure in place and a means to control and measure campaigns, more and more mobile operators will be competing to create and deliver the most effective mobile marketing initiatives to subscribers.
It is not only the brands that will benefit, says Airwide. Mobile phone users are expected to benefit from a range of incentives as part of the growth in mobile marketing, with almost 60% of brands intending to send special offers via the mobile phone, and over a third (36%) sending discount vouchers. Other incentives will include digital loyalty cards, free gifts and preferential terms.
Airwide Solutions provides mobile messaging infrastructure and applications to over 80 mobile operators, content providers and aggregators in over 46 countries.