Mobile and Small Business - Stats Cut Both Ways

There was something for the naysayers and for the optimists in an important survey of small and medium size business and their use of mobile.

Mobile and Small Business - Stats Cut Both Ways
On the positive side, SMBs understand the value of building a database of prospects, according to a new survey by well-respected Borrell Associates.

SMBs prefer paying for signups as opposed to paying for mobile advertising clicks or impressions (27% versus to 19% for clicks and 6% for banners), according to the polling of over 1,300 SMBs. But 52% are unsure, which isn’t a big surprise in what are still the early days of wireless.

But proving that those of us in mobile marketing still have convincing to do to drive more mobile adoption, 45% of small business plan to maintain their level of spending, while 27% of medium-sized businesses plan to increase their level of spending on mobile media in the next year, compared to 4% who expect a decrease in mobile spend.

SMBs say that they are not satisfied with the ROI on mobile advertising, but 49% that have bought mobile ads say that they would spend more if a higher ROI could be garnered.

My take?

Big brands say that they will accelerate their mobile spends at higher rates than what businesses told Borrell.

In each case, there is plenty of proof that mobile can work if done smartly.

As an example that was detailed in my Mobilized Marketing book, Fox Chevrolet in Baltimore combined mobile and radio during the recession when it had not sod a car in more than a month pre-Cash For Clunkers.

The program worked like this: Fox Chevrolet bought two weeks of airtime on Hearst’s 98 Rock radio station to run 10- and 15-second promotions encouraging listeners to text in to enter to win the chance to purchase a car for $98.

In total, nearly 500 listeners texted the keyword Fox to the station’s short code. Each was entered to win and given details on how to attend the drawing at Fox.

On a Saturday morning, nearly 300 showed up on the lot and two were given the opportunity to purchase a car for $98.

Although the foot traffic was nice, it doesn’t begin to measure the success of the campaign. With prospective buyers enticed by shiny cars and competitive deals, Fox turned around its fortunes by selling 17 new cars and 17 used cars at full price on that one day.

Another example is the local maid service in Salt Lake City that had to hire more help to serve the demand produced through a text to win sponsorship that cost only hundreds of dollars. 

But as much as we want businesses to get mobile, the offering of proof will take more time.


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

Mobile and Small Business - Stats Cut Both Ways