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B2B mobile marketing spend will reach $106M in 2014: Forrester

Business-to-business mobile marketing spending will quadruple over the next five years, rising from $26 million in 2009 to $106 million in 2014, according to Forrester Research.

So far, the anticipation surrounding mobile marketing has been more bark than bite, even among the most experimental marketers. But rising smartphone adoption?especially in the workplace?and emerging mobile marketing standards mean that mobile is plush with opportunity. 

?One of the reasons it looks like it?s growing so fast is that it?s growing from such a small base right now,? said Michael Greene, New York-based analyst at Forrester Research. ?Mobile is still nascent. Nonetheless, over this five-year time span, mobile will become real, especially for B2B marketers.?

Forrester Research is an independent technology and market research company that provides its clients with advice about technology's impact on business and consumers.

Mobile-social intersection
Like social media, mobile marketing can be as much about creating deeper relationships with existing customers as it is about attracting new ones.

Marketers such as FedEx have done this by building mobile applications that allow businesses to track shipments on the go.

?These are going to be mobile applications that you can put in the hands of sales people or applications you can give to your customers to help them execute on your products and services,? Mr. Greene said. ?A great example is FedEx letting customers track their packages from their handsets.

?Especially as mobile technology becomes increasingly social, B2B marketers will take advantage of the intersection of the two, using mobile as a way to get an application in the hands of their customers to educate them about products,? he said.

In addition to customer engagement and education, mobile can be a useful channel for a company?s sales force.

?A mobile application is an easy way to put a product demo into the hands of a salesperson,? Mr. Greene said. ?Instead of carrying a big physical presentation around, it can be in their hands at all times and deliver collateral that engages the client.?

In terms of reaching customers, generating sales leads is a fantastic goal, and mobile can help that along, but the channel?s greatest strength is as an engagement tool.

?It is less about the high end of the funnel?lead generation?and more about ?Once we?ve identified this customer, how do we bring them along the purchase path??? Mr. Greene said.

Display spending rebounds in 2010
Meanwhile, even with a short-term spending decline in 2009, display advertising will grow faster than any other established interactive category, including paid search, search engine optimization and email,  from 2009 to 2014, according to Forrester.

Display remains a versatile medium, valuable for both branding?through high-impact rich media and video formats?and lead generation.

B2B marketers and their agencies have told Forrester that richer display formats mean it is easier to inform and educate customers about complex products and that better, more accurate targeting technology is creating better ROI on lead-generation campaigns.

"Mobile display ads are included inside our mobile number [$106 million in 2014],? Mr. Greene said. ?It?s obviously something we see as becoming a bigger part of the ecosystem as more consumers get smartphones, and as standards continue to develop in the mobile space.

?Marketers have so many different types of mobile formats to deal with, they are spending time and money trying to navigate those formats instead of putting out really effective advertising and marketing campaigns,? he said.

While B2B marketing has not always been associated with the cutting edge, Forrester's Mr. Greene believes that is beginning to change.

?It?s often assumed that because B2B marketers are traditionally conservative, they?re going to shy away from digital channels such as mobile and social, but I don?t think that?s going to be the case at all,? Mr. Greene said.

?They are going to use these digital channels to engage customers and we might even see more benefit from mobile for B2B than for B2C,? he said.

?For B2B marketers, it?s not about launching the coolest app, it?s about creating value and utility for the sales force and the customer.?