B2B marketers are attacking mobile with budgets that are jumping 11 percent over the next six months and an additional 17.5 percent over the next 12 months. But it’s clear they’re not terribly happy with the tools vendors are providing.

“Compelling solutions are still lacking,” one of the marketers VentureBeat talked to said.

The new data, published in a report released today, reveals that the biggest problem holding back B2B mobile marketing is lack of support and integration in the marketing technology tools they use every day. Almost 40 percent cited marketing software tool makers as the key issue:

Key challenges holding back B2B mobile marketing

Above: Key challenges holding back B2B mobile marketing

Image Credit: VB Insight

The second biggest issue — and likely one vendors will point to as more important than marketers care to admit — is that many marketing professionals do not sufficiently understand mobile marketing. That’s been a challenge for years, of course, and will continue to be one as this space evolves rapidly.

Other issues include lack of budget — and a surprising cohort of 15 percent who don’t believe mobile marketing is effective.


B2B Mobile Marketing: the power, the pain, the potential
is available now on VB Insight


One challenge with the tools is that many of the big marketing automation systems are designed for a promotional world built around content marketing and inbound lead-gen. This is perfect for the Web, but it can be more challenging on mobile, where your potential customers are buried inside native apps almost 90 percent of the time, and marketers have to reach into those apps in order to attract their attention. That drives many marketers to turn smaller purpose-built tools such as a Sumotext, a ThumbVista, or a RevMobile … which can be difficult to integrate at a data and lead-gen level in your CRM and marketing automation tools.

landing_page_dummies_newFor social apps, traditional Web approaches can be successful, because people share great content on mobile as well as the Web. But even so, the challenges are a little different on mobile.

For most, the answer is not a native app of your own.

“It makes more sense for most companies to focus their mobile marketing on a mobile Web experience, because dedicated apps are expensive, and only your most interested customers and leads are going to bother to download and install an app,” Hubspot CMO Mike Volpe told me via email.  “You will get 10x or 100x more usage of a mobile optimized website, and that is the first place to start.”

So mobile optimization makes sense. But mobile marketers also need to seriously look at mobile advertising solutions as part of their B2B mobile marketing campaigns.

Where B2B marketers will focus their ad buys over the next 6 months

Above: Where B2B marketers will focus their ad buys over the next 6 months

Image Credit: VB Insight

“We definitely see B2B marketers driving convergence between adtech and martech, especially but not only on mobile,” IBM global strategy director Jay Henderson told me as well. “B2B customers are syndicating profile attributes like product interest, purchase intent, lead scores, and more, to adtech platforms that then drive buys across channels – including mobile.”

Native ads will be B2B marketers’ favorite choice over the next six months, at 53.1 percent, followed by traditional banner ads at 43 percent. But video ads are a key — and rising — component as well, at 36.7 percent.

Almost every single B2B marketer we talked to believes that his or her mobile budget will increase over the next 6 to 12 months. That makes perfect sense, given that the overall U.S. mobile ad spend is projected to quadruple by 2017 to $31.1B.

The full report is available on VB Insight.

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