Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Business-Oriented Mobile Apps Upside Opportunity


In December, Cisco Systems launched the Cisco Connected 360 Apple iPad app -- the on-the-move resource for Service Providers -- that's part of a growing trend where companies are co-creating and packaging content intended for consumption on new multimedia-enabled mobile devices.

eMarketer reports that business executives have been reliant on a mobile phone for years, giving them a lifeline to their work while away from the office. Moreover, as smartphones become entrenched into all aspects of life, and more tech-savvy executives move up the ranks, opportunities for business-to-business (B2B) marketers are improving.

Among C-suite executives surveyed in October 2010 by Forbes Insights, 82 percent had a smartphone -- far above smartphone penetration in the population as a whole. For a majority of executives, their mobile device is considered their primary business communications tool.

The oldest survey respondents were the group least comfortable with making a business purchase via mobile -- though even 48 percent of over-50s said they were comfortable. Overall, nearly two-thirds of respondents would buy items for work over the mobile web, a proportion that reached 78 percent among executives under 40.

Most U.S. executives were also using mobile apps for business purposes. There was a dramatic drop in app usage among the oldest respondents, but a majority of all those under 50 used both free and paid B2B apps at least occasionally.

And the executives are paying attention to ads on their mobile devices as well. A majority (57%) said they noticed mobile advertising, and nearly as many had clicked on mobile web ads (56%) and paid search ads (51%).

"As optimistic as this may sound to marketers, senior executives also present a warning to would-be advertisers: 53 percent of executives -- evenly distributed across age groups -- indicate that they find mobile ads more intrusive than typical web ads," cautioned the report.

Therefore, perhaps savvy B2B marketers would be wise to focus more on creating and publishing valued content that's useful to target stakeholders, rather than spending their budget on creating mobile advertising -- that may ultimately be ignored.