10 Things You Need to Know About B2B Mobile Marketing

my iPhone family pileYou see them everywhere, crossing streets, in meetings, at lunch and even driving. Busy professionals focused on their smartphone, nearly oblivious to everything else around them.

These are the same business decision makers and influencers your B2B marketing is targeting. But chances are they aren’t looking at your site, email or content on their smartphone.

Last week nearly 50 marketers joined #B2Bchat on Twitter to discuss the state of mobile marketing. In short, everyone believes mobile should be a priority, most are seeing a significant portion of traffic from mobile devices, yet many struggle to make the case for mobile and to execute on it. (You can read the summary here on Storify)

Following are five key facts to help make the case for mobile in B2B marketing and five aspects of mobile marketers need to be aware of.

5 Reasons Your Marketing Needs to be Mobile

1. Your Audience is Mobile
Business professionals live by their smartphones today.

91% of mobile workers use a smartphone for work. What’s more, many say they would be emotional (59%), disoriented (40%) or distraught (34%) if they worked without a smartphone for a week. Additional stats are in the infographic below from [x]cube labs.

2. B2B Mobile Traffic Matters
ComScore reported 8.2% of US traffic in 2012 was from mobile devices, and Walker Sands tracking shows mobile traffic increased by 102% from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012.

Participants from B2Bchat reported mobile traffic of up to 27%, with most between 10% and 20%, all on B2B websites.

3. Email is Mobile
By the end of the year, ReturnPath predicts mobile clients will subplant desktops and web mail as the top email clients.

If you are not already designing your emails for mobile screens first, start now. For marketers making this switch today, start looking at comps or tests of mobile emails first, before looking at desktop versions.

4. Social is Mobile
Consumers now spend more time with Facebook and Twitter from a mobile device than from laptops and desktops. (source)

For roughly one month in Q4 2011, I tracked traffic to B2B Digital Marketing from Triberr with its own campaign codes in Google Analytics. During that month, traffic from Triberr tweets was 48% more likely to be from a mobile browser than the rest of my blog traffic.

5. Search is Mobile
By December 2012, Marin Software predicts 25% of all paid search clicks will be from mobile devices, more than doubling over December 2011. (source)

5 Things You Need to Know Before Going Mobile

Mobile is moving quickly and keeping up is a challenge. Here are five things B2B marketers need to know before developing mobile plans.

6. Apps are Not a Slam Dunk
Apps are still a major focus in mobile, however few are widely downloaded and even fewer are regularly used. According to research from Flurry, the average user uses only 15 applications per week, and those 15 include Facebook, Twitter, email apps, Instagram, Pandora, etc.

Will your app meet a key unmet need for your audience and give you an opportunity to become one of these 15 apps? For those that don’t make it one of their top 15, your mobile web experience, not your application, will continue to be critical. Sam Fiorella put it nicely:

7. Responsive Design is the New Standard
Responsive web design delivers a page that is appropriately laid out for every browser, based on the individual device, screen size, orientation and more.

Google is encouraging responsive design, further solidifying it as a best practice all B2B companies should be considering in their mobile plans.

8. Flash is Out
Flash, the standard for rich content and online applications for years, is not supported by the majority of mobile devices. If you have ROI tools, videos or content in flash, they will need to be updated to serve mobile audiences.

9. Mobile-Specific Functionality is Key
Mobile devices support a number of functions that are not widely used on desktops, such as clicking to call a phone number or provide directions to a specific address. Mobile visitors have come to expect these functions and they need to work as expected.

Dianna Huff (@diannahuff) published her view and tips after attempting to reference a site that was not as mobile ready as it should be.

10. Mobile Does Not Stand Alone
You cannot segregate mobile, it must be an integrated part of all of your marketing. Mobile traffic can come from the same search, banner, direct mail or social activity that drives laptop and desktop traffic.

Instead, mobile is simply one more way your audience may respond to or see any element of your marketing program. On Twitter, MySocialCloud said it well:

Your Turn

How do you use your mobile for business, beyond phone and email? How should marketers consider mobile devices when targeting you? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.