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Mobile messaging in marketing held back by organizational issues: Forrester

The report, ?Create Mobile Moments With Messaging,? co-authored by Julie Ask, co-author of The Mobile Mind Shift underscores the need for marketers and their organizations to get up to speed on mobile quickly as customers increasingly see receiving mobile messages as essential. 

?I believe that marketers understand, but can't execute,? said Ms. Ask, vice president and principal analyst for ebusiness and channel strategy and the marketing and strategy client group with Cambridge, MA-based Forrester. ?Their companies don't have the organizations, technology or processes in place to execute on using messaging well to win, serve and retain customers in their mobile or micro mobile moments.? 

Mobile moments 
The report also finds that eBusiness professionals should identify the mobile moments that will benefit from the immediacy and simplicity of messaging. 

The Mobile Mind Shift?s key argument is that the mobile revolution has increased consumers? expectation that they can get what they want in their immediate context and moments of need. Based on an understanding of the customer?s context, messages can be proactively pushed out to serve customers in those moments. 

Marketers need to get up to speed on mobile messaging quickly.

Forrester?s report also finds that the use of analytics is the key to learn, fail fast, and develop the expertise to serve customers in their mobile moments through proactive engagement with messaging. 

Only 49 percent of marketers reported using SMS in Forrester?s second-quarter Global Mobile Executive Online Survey. Just 33 percent reported using push notifications. And too much of that usage is in the traditional upper funnel, according to the latest report. 

The report finds that too many business professionals adhere to a PC paradigm by using mobile messaging to broadcast information that is neither time-sensitive nor contextually relevant. They depend on traditional media targeting such as demographics, home address, and preferences rather than broad-based profiles that include real-time context such as events, location, mobile engagement patterns or behavior, according to the report. 

Moreover, they treat messaging like email ? pushing out weekly or daily messages with minimal relevancy based only on country or gender. Few companies have the combined depth of experience and analytics to create the insights they need to use messaging effectively, according to the report. 

Consumer opt-in is beyond the companies? control while highly targeted content ? content that is specific to a micro location, such as the painkiller section of the drugstore ? does not exist. Although vendors understand best practices, they lack the enterprise-wide influence with clients to make broad improvement, the report said. 

Given that it is difficult to determine the return on investment from messaging, ROI based on open rates or click-through rates to mobile web or into apps will fail to drive the investment that mobile messaging requires, according to the report. 

The report found that the combination of loyalty programs and coupons offer an effective tactic, especially if messages drive consumers to save offers in Apple?s Passbook or Google?s Wallet that then offer additional functionality such as location-based reminders to use them in or near physical stores. 

Too many messages from marketers is a turn-off.

In another finding, too many business professionals view messaging as a tactic to deliver promotions or updates that drive action later in the week or simply interrupt the day, the report said. 

Too few professionals view messaging as a tool to transform a customer experience with timely information that inspires immediate action. 

Messaging outlook 
Despite these findings, there is reason for great optimism in the marketing space. ?Marketers will start to get it more right more often,? Ms. Ask said. 

?For customers, these messages that deliver just the right information in their micro moments that helps them to take action, these messages will shift from being annoying ? what they tend to be today because they are irrelevant ? to essential, something consumers depend on.? 

?Messaging is the most underutilized mobile technology or mechanism,? she said. ?As consumer expectations shift and they expect ever more relevant, timely, quick, efficient engagement from enterprises, messaging will become indispensable as a tool. 

?Messaging today tends to be text, but don't overlook that it could be colors, pictures, sounds and haptic signals,? she said. 

Final Take 
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.