What will be the most popular forms of mobile marketing in 2012? According to a new survey from AT&T, the relatively new tool of mobile barcodes will be among the top mobile marketing strategies, coming in a close second to mobile apps.
The survey was commissioned by AT&T, and the sample was 501 marketing or advertising director-or-higher professionals working in U.S.-based companies with more than 1,000 employees. The survey was intended to determine the attitudes of such decision-makers toward mobile marketing, and specifically toward mobile barcodes.
'Turn Up the Volume'
AT&T Business Solutions Vice President Chris Hill explained that the move by marketers to include mobile barcodes is not surprising. Because of the growing popularity of smartphones, he said, "it's only natural that marketing executives want to turn up the volume on their mobile strategies next year."
Mobile apps were the highest-ranked strategy to be deployed over the next year, with 43 percent of respondents choosing that option. Mobile barcodes were selected by 41 percent, banner ads by 40 percent, 35 percent chose mobile Web, 34 percent SMS messages, 17 percent digital signage, and 17 percent plan to use all of those options.
A mobile barcode is the black-and-white, pixelated-looking, 2D box found on products, similar to the old-fashioned striped or linear barcodes. They can be placed on products, movie posters, or magazine pages, and a mobile device user can scan them in to immediately go to a Web page with more information, without having to type a long Web address.
Static printed ads can thus become an interactive marketing experience, which is permission-driven. Mobile phones can be used to read a variety of different 2D mobile barcodes. Each barcode that is used can be traced back to the product or ad where it was located.
Consumer Demand, Cost, Security
The survey found that the three most important factors for marketers in considering the use of mobile barcodes were consumer demand, cost, and security. All three factors were cited as highly important, by more than 80 percent of those queried.
Slightly more than half of those surveyed said that mobile marketing would be part of their current marketing strategy, and 88 percent of those with an existing mobile marketing program said they expected it to increase over the next year.
Smartphones and other mobile devices have become a popular tool in purchasing decisions. In October, another AT&T survey about the role of smartphones found that 60 percent of respondents used their mobile device to find Web sites, 52 percent to find locations, 36 percent to make purchases, and 31 percent to scan regular barcodes for price comparisons.
That survey also found that 23 percent of small business owners are responding to this increased use of smartphones for purchasing decisions by having a mobile-friendly Web site. One fifth regularly send text messages to customers, 14 percent have a mobile app, and 9 percent use location-based services.
The October survey was conducted with 300 small-business owners, all of whom had more than 25 percent of their annual sales from the holiday season.