I’ve said and written repeatedly that there are no absolutes in mobile. Cash won’t be gone by Tuesday despite the advancements of mobile payments. Some will join and see value in loyalty clubs while others will shy away due to privacy concerns or misplaced worries that they will be “spammed”.
Given my “no absolutes” beliefs, I have to give a thumbs-up to the Why Mobile Marketing Isn’t a Fit for Every SMB headline http://streetfightmag.com/2014/11/04/why-mobile-is-a-split-decision-for-many-small-businesses/ in Street Fight Magazine. That statement is true.
But a more robust handclap for the story? Nah, I have some issues with the particulars.
“Small businesses are being bombarded by marketing programs that promise to deliver calls, customers, and sales right from a prospect’s cell phone,” the piece says. “And for some companies that may be true — mobile could be the answer.
But the facts on the ground indicate that mobile marketing is, at best, a mixed bag so far for most small businesses.”
Author Todd Bairstow, Founder and a Partner at Keyword Connects, said that he works with hundreds of home improvement and home services companies across the country to drive online leads. He wrote that mobile works well for them, but less so for window companies, remodeling businesses and others that have high prices and usually require extensive research.
Where Bairstow begins to lose me is when he writes about mobile as if it’s a self-contained channel. It isn’t for me, you, and everyone we know.
SMBs should think about more closely integrating online, mobile, and brick and mortar efforts. Why? While mobile represents nearly a quarter of time spent with media per day, the majority of mobile-related conversions are offline – 60% come in store, according to xAD.
Smart business owners chart the customer journey. The purchasing funnel goes from awareness to action, and the consumer often goes from mobile to desktop to tablet, back to smartphone. We should all look at the entire journey and think holistically while understanding the role that mobile can play.
Also, several studies tell us that mobile users act swiftly after doing research on their devices. Microsoft says that 70% of Bing mobile users convert within five hours of their mobile search. PC users take weeks to convert. (Conversions include calls, store visits and purchases across screens.)
Sure, mobile isn’t for every business. Few things are beyond heat and a lock on the front door. But, according to Nielsen’s Digital Consumer study, more than 4 in 5 smartphone and tablet owners are using a mobile device for shopping activities. Twenty-six percent of smartphone users plus 35% of tablet users do more shopping because of mobile devices.
Those are numbers that no SMB can ignore.
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.