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Weber Shandwick Research Reveals Growing Appetite for Mobile-Friendly Communications Across Europe

  • 45 per cent of those polled say they prefer to do business with companies that make it easy to interact with them via mobile.
  • Nearly half of those surveyed urge brands to develop websites that are easy to use on mobiles.
  • Majority of consumers questioned say they are being turned off by poor mobile experiences.

LONDON – 8th June 2011 – Brands are failing to invest and sufficiently focus on mobile as an audience communications channel, according to a European study entitled, “Smart Marketing: Mobilising Your Brand” conducted by Weber Shandwick with KRC Research.

The survey highlights that there are significant challenges facing brands and organisations in the way they interact with consumers through smartphone technology.

Weber Shandwick’s survey of 2,000 smartphone users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK found that mobile devices are becoming their primary channel for interaction with brands. Nearly half of respondents (45 per cent) say they prefer to do business with companies that make it easy to interact with them via mobile. Despite this, brands are currently delivering poor experiences and not taking advantage of the potential to connect more closely with consumers.

Comments Colin Byrne, CEO EMEA, Weber Shandwick: “Smartphones are a central part of mainstream consumer life and are becoming the first and only port of call for interaction with the brands and businesses that matter to people. Despite this, the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from our research is that the level of focus and budget currently afforded to mobile by the marketing function is at odds with its importance as a catalyst for socialising content and generating advocacy.”

Worldwide sales of smartphones are rocketing, growing by 85 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 (Gartner), making it increasingly vital for communications professionals to consider what it’s like for their audiences to communicate with them using this platform.

Consumers are using mobile intensively to engage with companies and brands

  • Nearly half of European smartphone owners say they ‘feel naked’ without their smartphone. One in four (23 per cent) prefers to use a smartphone rather than a PC to access email and information even when at home.
  • Consumers are advocating for brands through smartphones. Company news is the most widely shared content type on mobile devices, with 30 per cent of consumers having passed on a story about a company or its services in the past year.
  • One in three say their purchasing is affected by the mobile channel.

Quality of mobile interaction plays a key role in brand preference

  • Over a third (36 per cent) agree that mobile is changing the way they think about and interact with products and companies. Seventy-one per cent of European smartphone users say they feel more positive about companies that make it easy to access their site on a mobile.

Consumers are being turned off by poor mobile experiences

  • Two-thirds of respondents identify websites that are slow to load or difficult to navigate on mobile as their top annoyances, and nearly half (49 per cent) are annoyed by not being able to find information about companies in the local area. Topping the European consumer ‘wish list’ for a better mobile experience are websites that are easy to use on mobiles (45 per cent).

Consumer mobile likes and dislikes vary considerably market by market

  • Smartphone users in the UK (51 per cent) and France (54 per cent) feel most strongly about the bond with their smartphones; German consumers are least likely to agree that mobile is changing the way they think about products and companies (24 per cent).

Adds Byrne: “Our research highlights a clear opportunity for brands to get closer to their audiences through mobile devices. They need to start by understanding how their audiences interact using mobile devices and also critically assess what it’s like when those people try to engage with them via mobile today. They can then think about how they can take advantage of the immediacy, location and personalisation inherent in mobile to enhance their communications.”

Full details of the research are available in Weber Shandwick’s Smart Marketing: Mobilising Your Brand report, available at: www.webershandwick.co.uk/documents/smartmarkreport.pdf. The report includes specific recommendations for communications professionals to use to help shape a strategy for mobile.

Jennifer Norton

Jennifer Norton

SVP, Global Marketing & Corporate Affairs

jnorton@webershandwick.com
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