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Mobile Marketing Rises Despite Growth Challenges

Automotive Mobile Marketing Rising Sharply in 2012, Despite the Challenges That Stunt Growth

Automotive Mobile marketing programs and related budget allocations by car companies and dealers are projected to increase in 2012. However, 37% of automotive marketers report that a lack of strategy inhibits their adopting mobile marketing, and 22% cite a lack of resources. Those results are according to [pdf] the “StrongMail Mobile Marketing Survey 2012,” conducted in April 2012, of more than 800 business leaders worldwide.

Car Company and Dealership Mobile websites (70%), mobile applications (55%) and QR codes (49%) are the most popular forms of mobile marketing, but less than half of automotive marketers are currently running any of them.

Of those who are, 57% have only been running them for a year or less. However, the opportunity is not lost with auto industry marketers, as 75% of car companies and auto dealers not currently running programs plan to within a year or more – and of those businesses that are, 70% expect to see their budgets increase over the same time period. The survey results also highlight a real opportunity for automotive marketers to embrace and integrate mobile with email and other digital channels to properly engage automotive consumers at various stages of the vehicle ownership lifecycle.

“With smartphones now accounting for nearly half of all devices in use by mobile users, it is more imperative than ever for automotive digital marketers to adopt and integrate mobile marketing tactics into email and their overall marketing mix,” said Kara Trivunovic, vice president of agency services, StrongMail. “Email marketers who are serious about garnering and maintaining consumer attention in this new era of mobile need more than just a solid strategy; they also need the right tools and resources to execute.”

Retail’s Tablet Influence

Smartphones may account for nearly half of the devices in use by mobile users, but when it comes to actual sales automotive retailers are reporting, tablets outrank smartphones nearly two to one.
According to the 2012 Research Inc. “State of Retailing Online” survey, tablet and smartphone sales as a percent of retailers’ total web sales in 2011 were 3.2% and 1.5%, respectively. Some 49% of retailers say their average order value via a tablet is now higher than traditional web sales. Nearly three in 10 (28%) retailers say they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as their website.

“Overall, we expect smartphone shopping adoption rates to stay low but fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers,” said Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. “With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns.”

Strongmail Survey Highlights

  • 45% have adopted mobile marketing; 57% have been doing it for 12 months or less
  • 37% cite lack of strategy as top reason for lack of adoption, followed by lack of resources (22%)
  • 55% reported increased mobile marketing budgets for past 12 months; only 2% saw a decrease
  • 70% expect their budget to increase in the next 12 months
  • 43% have integrated email marketing and mobile marketing

Businesses Understand the Benefits of Mobile Marketing

Despite lacking a clearly defined strategy for how to get into the mobile space, respondents were clear about the expected benefits. More than 50% of respondents believed that a mobile program could help them increase sales and acquire new customers, while nearly 50% of respondents say a strong automotive mobile marketing program would increase brand awareness.

Mobile and Email Integration Gains Ground but Lacks Sophistication

Forty three percent (43%) of businesses have achieved some level of integration between their email marketing and mobile marketing programs, but with mobile landing pages (32%), mobile number capture at email sign-up (25%) and mobile optimized templates (22%) being the top areas of focus, progress needs to be made in implementing more sophisticated programs. To that point, only 27% are running cross-channel, life-cycle marketing programs that include mobile messaging. Similarly, only 29% have used mobile response data to optimize offers in email or other channels.

Mobile Marketing Adoption Held Back by Lack of Strategy and Resources

When asked to identify the top obstacle to launching a mobile program, 37% of automotive related businesses cited lack of strategy, followed by a lack of resources at 22%. Mobile marketing budgets also remain a small fraction of overall auto industry interactive budgets, with 54% of car companies and auto dealers allocating 5% or less to mobile programs. Nearly a quarter of all businesses reported less than 1% allocated to mobile. On the positive side, 55% of automotive marketing professionals report increased mobile marketing budgets over the past year.

About the Data: The “StrongMail Mobile Marketing Survey 2012” was conducted in conjunction with Zoomerang. The poll, which gathered feedback from 802 business executives in a wide range of industries, was conducted from April 11 - 23, 2012.


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Tags: Challenges, Despite, Growth, Marketing, Mobile, Rises


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Comment by Shawn Case on July 24, 2012 at 1:54pm

Kevin, we understand that frustration at Liqueo. Unfortunately, most new forms of social media are under utilized or abused leaving adopters at bay in the beginning.(ie, Twitter adoption) That was the challenge when figuring out how to implement QR codes correctly and increase their usefulness.

We developed a powerful new patent pending cloud-based platform that enables automotive dealers to easily manage dealership wide, QR Code enabled, mobile marketing campaigns for each vehicle in stock. It's like having a virtual salesperson for each car at all times.

We now have 60 dealerships on-board with over 500 scans per month. We recently partnered with Barrett-Jackson for the Orange County auction. In those few days Liqueo generated over 8000 scans! Over 90% of all cars were scanned and we are still seeing hundreds of scans since the auction ended.

Click here to see QR codes used at Barrett-Jackson Orange County



Business Development Director

Liqueo INC


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Comment by Rick White on May 30, 2012 at 7:21am

Thanks Ralph for posting this information. It clearly highlights the challenges facing dealers and calls us to strategically engaging in order to capture the business value available.

Comment by Kevin Frye on May 30, 2012 at 5:54am

Of note, per QR codes, when I was at the Google Summit a few weeks back, someone asked Google about their feelings towards QR codes. Their response was that the click-through rate on QR codes is minimal and they were not confident about the future of QR codes. That matches up to the experience of almost every dealer I have spoken to - QR codes might be everywhere, but few people actually scan through on them...

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