A Warning Sign For Brands: You May Not Be Keeping Up With Your Mobile Customers

Last week, I met with two marketing agency CEOs whom I’ve gotten to know over the years. As we caught up on their businesses, I asked them the same question I ask a lot of non-mobile native company executives. What mobile projects are keeping you busy?

The surprising answer, for them and me? “There really aren’t many.”

I was surprised. A report by comScore released last week claims that 60 percent of digital media exposure now happens on mobile devices, and a eye-popping 51 percent of all digital time is now spent on apps for mobile devices. Isn’t it obvious that companies need to invest in order to keep up?

The answer is complicated. As one of the CEOs summarized it for me, companies have spent the last decade or more preparing for the digital revolution. They have invested billions in storage, content management systems, customer relationship management tools, design and user interfaces, and all the engineering, support, marketing and sales personnel to go with them.

Now, they find that virtually overnight, nearly two-thirds of their audiences have migrated to devices and channels they did not anticipate, ones they are not necessarily prepared to accommodate.

You’d think that companies would react to this migration with urgency and speed. By one indication, though, that’s not the case.

On Saturday, June 28, I did a keyword search on LinkedIn, Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com for jobs in the U.S. using the following terms: “mobile marketing,” “digital marketing,” and “social marketing.” Here is what I found:

LinkedIn keyword search for the United States, 6/28/14:

  • Mobile marketing: 16,791
  • Digital marketing: 22,327
  • Social marketing: 21,941

Monster.com keyword search for the United States, 6/28/14:

  • Mobile marketing: 491
  • Digital marketing: 1,000+
  • Social marketing: 687

CareerBuilder.com keyword search for the United States, 6/28/14:

  • Mobile marketing: 6,552
  • Digital marketing: 6,154
  • Social marketing: 11,883

For all but CareerBuilder, there are more digital and social marketing jobs than mobile marketing jobs, typically by a wide margin.

Why is that?

Agencies, for one, take their cues from their clients. Agencies tend to hire only when their clients have projects that need any particular expertise.

Then why aren’t brands prioritizing this? One CEO thinks there could be change fatigue. First, they had to build digital businesses. Then, along came social media. Now, mobile is disrupting the way brands engage consumers. Maybe brands need a breather.

Or, perhaps they sold their management and investors on systems that were so-called “future-proof.” They may find it uncomfortable to ask for additional budget to adapt these systems and human resources to a new mobile world.

It’s also true that many companies have product or engineering-driven cultures that view marketing as the dark arts, a discipline they do not trust or understand.

Whatever the explanation, these CEOs agreed that change is coming soon, and they think many brands and their agencies risk having to play catch-up. The comScore report echoed this sentiment.

If you’re a non-mobile native brand or an agency that supports brands like this, what should you be doing? Logic says that your prior investments should not get in the way of making the right decision now. As any accountant will tell you, those are sunk costs, and you can’t get them back now.

Second, audit those investments. How effectively do they support your mobile audience?

  • Do you have channels to funnel mobile customers to your databases?
  • Is the mobile data you collect integrated with all the information you collect on customer and prospects?
  • Is your marketing, including email, direct response, display, search, video, retail, events, Comms, app store optimization, and more, delivering a best-in-class mobile experience?
  • Do your mobile websites and apps load quickly, operate smoothly, and with minimal downtime?
  • Do your service level agreements, or SLAs, support any potential mobile-related problems?
  • How do all these things compare to your competition?
  • How well do they keep up with the way your customers want to engage your company?

Let the results of this audit inform the decisions you need to make today, not reflect poorly on the decisions you made last year, three years ago, or before. Not many people foresaw the mobile revolution. If you didn’t, count yourself in good company.

Just don’t let that hold you back from making the right decision today.


  1. […] couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the domination of apps in the battle for the time we spend with digital media. Over a recent lunch with a friend of mine […]


  2. […] which already dominate mobile media time, compared to websites, increasingly make their way onto other types of devices, mainly laptops and […]


  3. […] Websites are out. Apps are in: Because apps offer faster performance and often consume less bandwidth than websites, consumers have flocked to apps for everything that websites long have dominated on PCs. More than half of all digital time spent by Americans is now spent in mobile apps. […]


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