The Mobile Opportunity for B2B Marketers

Business-to-business brand marketers need to consider mobile advertising, according to eMarketer, which claims that mobile display is a springboard into mobile content offerings. With business professionals turning to mobile devices and tablets at a faster rate than the average consumer, B2B marketers need to be part of the action.

According to a Google study, mobile drives business communication. In fact, it is the primary communication tool for 56 percent of executives. Google also found that mobile drives business transactions as well. Seventy-nine percent of the executives polled said they are comfortable providing business contact information via the mobile Web. Sixty-five percent are comfortable making a business-related purchase on a mobile device, and 59 percent would rather do so via the mobile Web than via a phone call.

Ironically, B2B companies aren’t rushing to get onto the mobile advertising bandwagon, although there are a few exceptions. For example, Citrix Online developed a business iPad app, wanting to drive app downloads and generate trial registrations. With help from its agency, Mediasmith, Citrix targeted small-business owners through a mobile display campaign, with impressive results. Cost-per-download was less than 10 percent of the estimated customer lifetime value, beating internal benchmarks. As a result of the campaign, the Citrix Online app ranked in the top three in the business category of the App Store. The mobile ads also drove trial registrations and leads to CPAs (cost-per-acquisitions) that were 40 percent less than internal benchmarks.

“Although it lasted only six weeks and targeted just iPad users, the campaign exceeded our expectations in terms of sheer volume of app installs and the competitive cost-per-trials,” said Dawn-Marie Morris, media supervisor at Mediasmith.

Simply Business, a U.K. insurance broker for small businesses, also relied on mobile ads and found much success. Potential customers traditionally received quotes either by filling out an online form or by contacting a call center representative who completes the form on behalf of the caller over the phone. The company ran a trial via Google’s AdMob, using click-to-call and click-to-site mobile banners. Simply Business claims that it saw astounding results as soon as the campaign went live.

“As the mobile site is tagged with Google Analytics, we do have visibility on what’s coming in,” said Alastair Douglas, head of marketing and analysis at Simply Business. “You can see the huge increase starting at the time of the trial. Once our campaign went live, the calls started coming through immediately.”

Simply Business recorded increases of up to 800 percent compared to previous weeks, and the quality of calls and leads also beat expectations.

The success of these two companies is proof that B2B marketers can achieve great results in mobile advertising. After all, the audience is there; marketers just need to follow.

“Given the near complete penetration of smartphones and high adoption rates of tablets among this key target audience for B2B marketers, it’s no surprise these devices have infiltrated the B2B purchase decision-making process,” said Lauren Fisher, eMarketer analyst and author of the report Mobile Business Professionals: Seeking Efficiency with Smartphones and Tablets. “They are now used in all major phases of the buying cycle to save professionals time.”

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