Five essential takeaways when measuring mobile ROI

By Jeff Hasen

| Retail

The results of a Forrester survey released a few months ago highlighted many marketers’ ineptitude when it comes to mobile ROI. The survey revealed two-thirds of marketers are unable to gauge the success or failure of their mobile programs. Newer information released from IBM and discussed at IBM Amplify demonstrated that almost 50 percent of the largest companies doing mobile are operating on an ad hoc basis rather than in a strategic fashion.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to do better.

The following are five takeaways from these reports and actions to take before you ask senior management for more mobile budget:

1. Establish business goals first

It’s clear that not enough marketers are starting mobile projects with the identification of business objectives. When objectives are detailed first, marketers can work their way backward and develop programs that lead with or include mobile. Take a lesson from the wireless carrier that addressed a concerning churn problem by providing personal and timely mobile videos that brought transparency and comfort to individuals. The result was tens of millions of dollars in saved business. That’s mobile ROI.

2. Focus on results, not budget

At first blush, smaller businesses may look at the mobile dollars being spent by enterprises and think they have nothing in common. In fact, according to the IBM study, the average number of mobile projects being done at enterprises is five, and the cost of each project is more than $2.4 million. The commonality in successful mobile programs from companies of all sizes is a commitment to engage users and key stakeholders to identify quick wins and impactful use cases.

3. Don’t cut corners

This should be a given, but judging by the evidence, it needs to be said. In all but rare exceptions, fast and cheap is dumb and dumber. An ice cream shop I visited as a child had a sign that said, “Good food is not cheap. Cheap food is not good.” All these years later, you can and should apply the same line of thinking to mobile.

4. Mobile benefits are clear

The mobile-enabled companies surveyed by IBM expect a 7 percent increase in revenue and a 6 percent cost decrease. It’s safe to say retailers can expect similar results. Not only can these stores sell more when they combine mobile commerce and brick-and-mortar, but they can often reduce overhead in terms of shelf space and service personnel with customer-driven mobile efforts.

5. More mobile projects needed

The expectations of mobile users rise every year. Many people have little to no patience for slow mobile web pages, irrelevant messages and experiences that are not intuitive. As a result, businesses of all sizes cannot afford to wait. In the IBM survey, 22 percent of companies plan to undertake 10 or more mobile initiatives in the next year, while another half of the group are planning between five to nine projects. Your numbers may not be the same, but the clear trend is that more projects are needed to remain competitive.

In summary, it all starts and ends with the ability to gauge mobile ROI. At IBM Amplify, Pete Teigen, mobile leader of the IBM Institute for Business Value and co-author of the aforementioned report, explained that what you don’t measure, you don’t get. That’s a lesson to be learned by all businesses, regardless of whether they have one employee or 1 million.


Written By

Jeff Hasen

Chief Marketing Officer, Mobile Strategist & Author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion

One of the leading strategists, evangelists, teachers, and voices in mobile, Jeff Hasen has counseled businesses of all sizes, enabling them to define their mobile strategy, establish or further their mobile product roadmap, and identify additional business growth opportunities. Through…

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