Borrell Associates has released a new report called “Main Street Goes Mobile.” The report is largely devoted to a detailed mobile advertising/marketing forecast. However the most interesting part of the document from my point of view is the data and discussion of SMB mobile marketing plans.
This portion of the report is based on a survey of 484 SMBs earlier this summer. The two big findings here are:
- Four out of every five respondents plan to spend money on mobile marketing this year
- On average, these businesses expect to devote more than 20 percent of their ad budgets to mobile initiatives
These datapoints are dramatic. In February Opus Research found (n=6,875) that 83% of SMB respondents were not doing any mobile marketing or advertising. In addition 74% said they didn’t feel like they had an understanding of how to reach their customers via mobile.
If the Borrell data can be generalized more broadly it would represent a sea change among SMBs regarding mobile as a marketing and advertising channel. No doubt Borrell’s SMB respondents are themselves mostly smartphone owners and keenly aware of increasing smartphone penetration among their customers.
Interestingly Borrell also pointed out that “nearly a third (32 percent) of the small businesses that reported plans to use mobile this year don’t expect to spend a dime to do so.” This is based on the assumption or understanding that existing media and advertising are being distributed via mobile (e.g., daily deals, business listings).
Most SMB mobile marketing or advertising will be facilitated by existing publisher or sales channel relationships. It’s unlikely that the majority of SMBs will seek out distinct mobile marketing tools or “solutions” independent of their other marketing efforts. The “one stop shop” is still preferred vs. “point solutions.” However local-mobile ad network xAD is doing direct sales to SMBs and said that the company was having great success with this effort.
Whether or not the Borrell data are accurately predictive of SMB spending, clearly there’s growing awareness of the importance of mobile to SMBs as a marketing and loyalty platform. Existing publisher and sales channels are in the best position to add mobile to the mix of services being sold to business owners.