Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Few companies will exploit the gold mine of mobile information in 2013: Forrester

Although mobile presents marketers with tremendous data to get a better understanding of consumers, not many are tapping into the device's full potential, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

The ?2013 Mobile Trends For Marketers? Forrester report looks at what marketers can expect with mobile this year. Additionally, the report outlines how marketers will shift budgets and investments to mobile.

"Information captured via GPS and sensors in mobile devices will increasingly fuel the big data phenomenon," said Thomas Husson, Paris-based analyst at Forrester Research.

"Context gleaned from mobile devices will be much more than just location," he said.

"Location is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile context. I think marketers will realize this shift and this opportunity and will invest to make the most of this opportunity in the years to come, but realistically in 2013 few companies will be able to fully exploit the gold mine of information that can be gleaned from mobile devices."

Multi-year vision
There is a difference between marketers that use mobile in tactical approaches and those that view it strategically as part of a long-term multi-year strategy, per the report.

To pull off the latter takes complex technology and significant investments from marketers that they need to own.

To increase investments, marketers have to fund the staffing and leadership abilities for businesses to grow. This includes creating a mobile governance group and appointing a senior executive to spearhead initiatives.

Forrester?s trends for 2013 are lumped into two buckets ? treating mobile as a priority and increasing investments around the channel. 

Treating mobile as a strategic priority means that multiple factors are involved to create context. The lines between content, marketing and product will blur to create experiences across multiple devices.

Context includes a combination of time, customer knowledge and place.

With consumers doing a number of different activities with their mobile devices, smartphones and tablets have become a central hub in how consumers communicate, which directly affects business models.

Take the mobile app Uber, for example. Consumers that have the app downloaded can schedule a car to pick them up, eliminating a dispatch center for taxi drivers.

Nowadays, businesses must react in real-time to keep up with consumers.

Marketing changes
The report also takes an interesting look at trends that Forrester forecasted in 2012 and what will be done this year to develop each trend.

For example, marketers were challenged to create a scalable mobile strategy in 2012. This year marketers will continue to put investments into mobile and evaluate how to split in-house development from outsourced help.

Furthermore, leading marketers will view how mobile makes their business stand out to competitors instead of tacking the medium onto other marketing efforts.

Additionally, expanding a strategy beyond mobile phones was a trend for 2012 as tablet adoption grew. To create a tablet-specific strategy, marketers now need to switch their view of mobile by focusing on tablets as media-consuming alternatives to PCs.

The report urges marketers to dip into their PCs budgets to invest in tablets instead of taking money from initiatives focused for smartphones.

?This is investment to enable mobile services,? Mr. Husson said.

?It is about time to move from basic branded apps to smart apps connected to products and CRM systems,? he said.

?This requires some minimal investments. Just looking at what your competitors are doing on mobile is dangerous because many are investing in the infrastructure that will enable them to differentiate moving forward.?

Missed opportunities
Mobile payments will continue to be all about trial and testing in 2013.

Retailers, banks, third parties and carriers will need to position mobile payments as more than simply a transaction. Combining payment with loyalty, coupons, deals and receipt options will make the technology appealing to consumers.

Near-field communication has promised marketers and consumers an easier way to exchange information and payment data. Per the report though, the technology will continue to only be used for experimentation by marketers in 2013.

At the same time, privacy and security problems will grow.

Several other new technologies, such as mobile big data, responsive design and cross-channel attribution will make progress in 2013, but they are over-hyped, per Mr. Husson.

For example, monetization will continue to plague mobile this year.

Forrester predicts mobile retail revenue in the United States to hit $12 billion this year, which is a 62 percent year-over-year increase. Mobile Internet advertising will bring in $4.6 billion, representing a yearly growth of 52 percent.

Despite the growth, attribution is still a challenge for retailers and media brands.

Responsive design is positioned to offer a consistent Web experience across multiple platforms. However, the approach can be expensive and is not a catch-all for a brand?s mobile Web efforts.

?Responsive design is not a technology per se but is more of a philosophy or an approach to design for multiple screens,? Mr. Husson said.

?I think it definitely can help fixing the basics and reduce the complexity of supporting multiple code bases or solutions,? he said.

?More often than not it unfortunately prevents marketers to really think about the need to offer different use cases, content and services for smartphones.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York