ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Mobile Marketer site for the latest mobile marketing news.

36pc of retailers include mobile in holiday marketing plans: BDO

Just 36 percent of leading retailers in the United States included mobile in their holiday marketing strategies this year, according to a new report from BDO USA.

The survey of chief marketing officers at leading retailers also found that mobile budgets remain low, with 84 percent of those who said they included mobile in their holiday marketing strategies also saying that mobile accounted for less than 10 percent of their overall programs. However, the many mobile successes being reported by some retailers over the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend could spur others to invest more aggressively in mobile. 

?Only 36 percent of retailers are including mobile in their holiday marketing strategy ? it may seem a little surprising that the number is so low,? said Stephen Wyss, a partner in the retail and consumer products practice at BDO USA, Chicago.

?But when you look a little deeper at the responses, 58 percent of larger retailers indicate they are including mobile,? he said. ?They have the ability to make significant investments in mobile sites and apps.

?The early reports on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are very positive, especially for mobile. That success will lead to more retailers adopting mobile.?

Flat budgets
Overall, retailers? marketing budgets are not changed much from last year. According to the survey, 65 percent of CMOs say their 2011 holiday marketing and advertising budget remains the same compared to last year.

For the 20 percent of retailers who have increased their holiday marketing budgets, the average increase is 0.4 percent.

Part of the reason for the low investment levels in mobile is that it is still an experimental strategy for many. However, with smartphone penetration levels continuing to grow and consumers increasingly using these devices to for shopping ? as results from the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend showed ? mobile marketing budgets are expected to continue growing.

?The investment in a mobile platform can be a significant one,? Mr. Wyss said. ?In some cases, since mobile is still relatively new, a lot of retailers are testing the waters and looking to larger retailers to do the experimentation.

?Once we see what works, you will see a lot more flow into mobile,? he said.

The low investment levels in mobile could also be a reflection of the fact that mobile is relatively more cost efficient than some other marketing channels and that investments in mobile technology platforms fall under the budgets for information technology departments and not marketing.

Other findings from the report include that 82 percent of CMOs made social networks a part of their marketing strategies this year and that only one-third are using flash sales.

The majority of CMOs ? 53 percent ? said search engine results are the primary way their customers find them online.

Additionally, 27 percent of CMOs are spending the bulk of their holiday advertising and marketing budgets on broadcast.

The findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country.

?As mobile technology improves, smaller retailers will catch up and will follow the larger retailers,? Mr. Wyss said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York