Mobile is one of the biggest trends in digital marketing. B2B marketing teams have been slow to harness its potential. We urge a fresh approach.

Mobile is the fastest growing digital channel – According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, mobile was the fastest growing digital channel in 2015, and this is expected to continue. Nearly two thirds of Americans have smartphones now, and some estimates suggest that some sites are recording 30 to 40% of traffic from mobile. This has made marketing more of a ‘real time’ and geo-location issue.

Online video via mobile looks likely to be a crucial trend in 2016 and beyond – Online video is increasingly easy to consume by mobile. It also enables marketers to tell a story quickly and simply. One commentator has described YouTube as ‘the new Google for Mobile’, and a report states that Cisco has estimated that online video could account for 80% of internet traffic by 2019.

Ad-blocking is now available on mobiles with Apple’s iOS9 leading the way – Ad-blocking has become a bigger and bigger problem over the last few years, with users drawing on software to help them improve their experience of browsing. Estimates suggest that ad-blocking options on video may cost advertisers more than $41 billion in 2016. And as ad-blocking moves to mobile, marketers need to get a whole lot more sophisticated.

It’s easy to get it wrong on mobile – Mobile marketing is a bit like online dating, and that there were certain behaviours that should be avoided. For example, don’t be creepy: remember the person but not from one search three years ago. If someone is not responding, don’t keep sending notifications. And use the technology available to work out the optimum time to message users, so that you don’t disrupt them at inconvenient moments. This is probably even more important for B2B marketers, where customer relationships really matter.

Mobile has a lower conversion rate and higher ‘bounce’ rate than most other media – In other words, it’s hard to do mobile well. But on the other hand, if few companies are doing it well, it is possible to shine, especially if you concentrate on improving user experience. Apps, in particular, are likely to rise in importance over the next year or so, avoiding the need to optimise websites for mobile. In B2B, apps are seen as a way to distinguish the great from the merely good, with 83% of B2B marketers saying that apps were important to content marketing.

Mobile payments are rapidly rising in popularity, enabling a one-device user experience  – This may primarily be a B2C issue, but where B2C leads, experience suggests that B2B will follow, not least because most business customers are also consumers and customers outside work. Mobile payment features may be essential as the rise of mobile means that business customers no longer carry laptops.

Text message marketing is significantly more effective than email – Text messaging is just so old fashioned, right? Wrong. It’s actually significantly more effective than email, with estimates suggesting that we are at least five times as likely to open a text as an email. In other words, mobile marketing isn’t all about apps and websites. Sometimes it also requires more simple SMS messaging, with content including offers, discounts, and surveys.

Content is still king – Almost half of all customers, according to Smart Insights 2015, start their research via mobile using a search engine. Desktop may be dying, but search engines most certainly are not. What’s more, one third of users start with a branded website. Mobile therefore adds up to an emphasis on good content so that you can be found, and so that you are the ‘go-to’ authority in your niche.

Big data and analytics means that brands will be able to collect more information about their customers – Big data means that marketers can understand their customers better. Tailored content and marketing really matters, especially in B2B, where predicting and addressing customer ‘pain points’ could be the difference between successful engagement and loss of the customer.

The rise of mobile marketing automation supports personalised marketing and communication – Automation enables personalised content to be supplied to the customer more effectively. Coupled with better analytics, the ‘right’ way of reaching each customer can be identified, including the optimal time for communications, and the best way of communicating, whether email, text message or via an app.

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