Mobile issues to tackle in tough economic clime

By Dilip Dand

Analysts have proclaimed the advent of mobile marketing. Avid readers of this publication have read numerous stories on mobile campaigns almost daily. As recent Nielsen data showed, there are 40 million mobile Internet users nationwide and growing.

As a marketing executive, you would love to reach all these millions of users.

However, despite the success of American Idol in getting the United States to vote via text, there is a huge gap between these numbers and reality. People are still wary of receiving marketing messages on their mobile devices. They consider it one safe haven from spam and advertising messages.

Enterprises thinking of mobile marketing campaigns face many challenges. In the current economic climate, justifying the investment can be a tough sell. In addition to the proliferation of new devices and training issues for users, there are some key issues that need to be addressed.

Mobile use cases. There are various types of marketing campaigns that are available, ranging from simple SMS campaigns to interactive campaigns to voting by text. Marketing executives need to plan their choice of campaigns to align with their overall marketing strategy.

Choosing the right vendor. There are numerous vendors and agencies providing mobile campaigns. Marketing departments have to do their due diligence in selecting the vendor. They have to pay special attention to how the vendor plays with various operators and also what sort of integration the vendor support.

Mobile operator. There are several players in the mobile ecosystem. However, the biggest fish in this pond is the mobile operator. Since the operator controls a lot of infrastructure, enterprises have to think through how the solution of choice plays well with the operator's infrastructure.

Integration with existing systems. Just as mobile campaigns are part of the overall marketing strategy, so too the metrics and leads need to be captured and integrated in the overall CRM system. This typically involves custom development.

A number of vendors have developed connectors to popular systems such as SAP and Oracle. However, there is some degree of customization required to support the enterprise-specific use cases.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The aforementioned integration and security solutions come at a price which increases the TCO for an enterprise mobility solution.

In addition, most of the mobility middleware solutions themselves require a lot of consulting expertise to implement successfully without customization.

Time-to-market. Considering all the integration, customization and security resolution, the time-to-market will be extended. Certainly the pre-built connectors help speed the development up, but still the average time-to-market to get these solutions out is upwards of six months.

With all these challenges, enterprises certainly need to plan their mobility strategy carefully and select the right vendors for their needs.

Enterprises have a lot of choice when it comes to selecting the mobility solution. There is a lot of benefit to mobilizing, but the choices need to be evaluated carefully and selecting the right partners can go a long way in implementing a mobility solution.

Dilip Dand is CEO of DvDand Solutions LLC, Pleasanton, CA. Reach him at