As a marketing vehicle, mobile is certainly no longer experimental nor even incipient. Most marketers would agree that the channel itself is mature. The marketers themselves exhibit a broad spectrum of ability to exploit mobile — varying levels of maturity.

In common parlance, ‘mature’ can mean “careful,” “thorough,” “deep,” or “considered.” But it can also conjure a different image, far from suggesting an adept mobile marketer:

 

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

(Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash)

We hew to the first meaning and believe that marketers should strive toward maturity in their mobile strategy. Our survey data reveal that marketers are increasing their activity in the mobile channel:

  • In 2016, they told us that on average they were using or piloting 5.5 of the thirteen tactics we listed.
  • Just 18 months later the number had risen by more than a third (Gartner clients can read further insights here).

But enabling Facebook Messenger access or adding QR codes to your packaging does not mean that you have achieved maturity. In fact, it may mean just the opposite, that you are prone to haphazard experimentation with unproven tactics and a hazy vision of return on investment. (Not you, of course…I’m talking about the other guy.)

Achieving maturity in your mobile marketing is all about balance — the assortment of tactics that mirror how your customers engage with your brand, products, and services. Programs and campaigns that complement your email, web, social and other channel efforts. All built on a foundation of analytics that deliver a reliable feedback stream that enables you to iterate and fine tune your programs to deliver on the objectives you’ve set out in advance. And realized by an organization that reflects mobile’s connective tissue role by not isolating it in a silo.

Take your website. Please. Seriously, given its reach and overall traffic patterns, your prospects are much more likely to arrive there on their mobile device than via a desktop browser. Hence, a mature marketer would design their site for mobile access, but in fact only 44% of those we surveyed said that their site was mobile optimized. Further, our data indicate that in the near future more marketers will have a mobile application live than will have a mobile-optimized website. There’s nothing wrong with mobile apps but few brands can serve the full complement of customers with a mobile app and a website that yields a poor experience on an average smartphone.

So, do aspire to mobile marketing maturity. If you’re a Gartner client, we have research to help you assess your maturity level and advice on how to raise it. Irrespective, craft a balanced approach that meets your customers where they are and yields the results that you desire — like that old dude up above. You’d kill to have his mobile conversion numbers. Also, his time on the Mt. Evans hill climb was better than most of the people 20 years his junior. Maturity rocks.

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