The Mobile User and Mobile Marketers: Miles Apart

The following is a guest post by Jason Wells, the CEO of ContactPoint.

The executive summary of this year’s Chief Marketer 2012 Mobile Marketing Survey is out. And it is—as usual with anything Chief Marketer produces—first class and thorough. But, there were a few surprises (at least to me).

The biggest surprise in the research is the response to this question: What Path-to-Purchase features do you enable?

The most common answer given by the 500 chief marketers surveyed is Research Products. 73% of the time the marketers surveyed said they enable the ability to research most commonly. Most companies do not allow mobile users to buy. They do not allow (or encourage) a click-to-call purchase. Nor do they offer click-to-call customer service. (Appropriately, the title for this section of the Chief Marketer Report is ‘Everything but the Sale.’

This data tells me one thing: the features mobile marketers are providing are not aligning with what mobile users are most frequently doing on a mobile device.

This is fairly stunning.

We know that mobile users want immediacy. We know that mobile users generally don’t conduct a mobile search (for example) until they have previously researched a product or service fairly extensively or it is an impulse search for something they want to buy right now. In neither case are mobile users interested in intensive research. And yet, 73% of marketers allow extensive research on their products and provide no way to buy, call or do much of anything else.


Only 29% offer click-to-call customer service.

Only 44% offer actual mobile purchase.

Am I missing something?

Google has told us repeatedly that the most common action in mobile marketing is a phone call. A phone call is the method of engagement mobile users are most comfortable with. It is the action that is most natural on a mobile device. A phone call is the most common action after a search (61% of the time), a text message or a display ad of any kind (52% of the time). Mobile users are begging to make a phone call.

Remember, there are two types of mobile searchers: 1) the kind that has conducted research and wants to buy, 2) the kind that impulsively wants to buy and has no need for research.

And here’s the kicker, the most famous mobile marketing statistic on the web (or, at least one that I see quoted a lot) is the statistic that says 90% of mobile searchers take action after a mobile search. One would think that marketers would heed that statistic and provide simple, quick paths to action like a phone call or an e-commerce capability. Instead, according to this research, they are providing a simple path to extensive research.

That simply doesn’t make much sense.

The bottom line: marketers are trying to force mobile users into behaving the same way desktop users behave. The problem is: they don’t.

Marketers need to get out of their mindset that the web is for research. The mobile web is not for research. The mobile web is for making phone calls and buying stuff.

The reality of mobile engagement doesn’t jive with what mobile marketers are trying to force onto mobile users.

About the author

Jason Wells is the CEO of ContactPoint. Their new product, LogMyCalls, represents the next generation of intelligent call tracking and marketing automation. Prior to joining ContactPoint, Jason served as the Senior Vice President of Sony International, where he led the creation and international expansion of Sony’s mobile business line from London.

Jason has spoken on marketing topics at SES New York, SES Toronto, Ad Tech, Digital Hollywood, CTIA and elsewhere. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  To read Jason’s work please add LogMyCalls to your Google+ circles and follow them on Twitter.