Mobile Marketing is the Key to Unlocking Omnichannel’s Fullest Potential — BDO USA Survey

November 2015

Emily Dell
Bliss Integrated Communication

Chicago – The number of retail chief marketing officers (CMOs) using mobile in their holiday marketing mix increased for the third consecutive year. This is the first year mobile marketing is being used by the majority, according to the tenth annual BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, a survey of 100 CMOs at leading retailers throughout the country. Approximately two thirds (65 percent) of CMOs will tap into mobile, up from 49 percent in 2014. And of those using mobile, 34 percent will focus most heavily on delivering mobile coupons. As retailers turn to mobile to round out their omnichannel approach, they plan to focus 12.2 percent of their marketing efforts on mobile technology.
More than half of those surveyed (60 percent) are familiar with the concept of an enhanced omnichannel approach, and a little more than a third (37 percent) of those respondents report adjusting their marketing strategy to provide customers with a cohesive experience across channels. The top strategy, cited by nearly all retailers (98 percent) who are at least slightly familiar with omnichannel and have changed their marketing strategy in response, is relying on consistent pricing across channels to grow customers’ satisfaction, followed by consistent promotional strategies (77 percent) and expansion of delivery options (63 percent). 
“With consumers literally sleeping with their smart devices, researching and making more purchases online, it’s no surprise that retailers are prioritizing the use of mobile in order to capitalize on consumers’ digital dependency,” says Natalie Kotlyar, partner in the Consumer Business practice at BDO. “And while retailers are ready to reap the rewards mobile provides, they also remain cognizant of the challenges it can present from a data management and security perspective.”
Confirming this obstacle is the growing majority of retailers (89 percent), up from 72 percent last year, who find it challenging to manage the vast amount of customer data available as a result of an omnichannel strategy. For the third year in a row, effectively using consumer data for marketing is the top data challenge retailers face (37 percent), and surprisingly, cited slightly more than five times more than managing customer privacy concerns (7 percent) or potential data breaches (7 percent).
As retailers’ concerns around managing customer privacy worries and the risk of data breaches shrink, so too do their thoughts on the number of risks related to these cybersecurity matters. Three times as many retailers in 2015 (15 percent) than in 2014 (5 percent) believe their risk has declined.
These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 CMOs at leading retailers located throughout the country. The telephone survey was conducted in September and October of 2015.
Additional Findings of the 2015 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs Include:
Growing Number of CMOs to Increase AND Decrease their Marketing Budgets. For three consecutive years, retailers have increased their marketing budgets for the season. Twenty-six percent of retailers plan to grow their budget this year, up from 22 percent in 2014 and 20 percent in 2013. Conversely, 16 percent of retailers plan to lower their budget, up from 6 percent in 2014. Despite these polarized sentiments, retailers’ marketing budgets have netted out relatively flat, decreasing a mere 1 percent.
Retailers Rely on Social to Sell. The vast majority of retailers (78 percent) will use social media as another way to connect with customers this holiday season. Social media will primarily serve as a deals and discounts delivery mechanism (90 percent), followed closely by offering exclusive promotions and customer service, which tied at 81 percent each. Lastly, as “buy buttons” grow in popularity as a sales conversion tool, click-to-buy will be used by more than one-in-four retailers (27 percent) on their social media platforms.  
The BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs is a national telephone survey conducted by Market Measurement, Inc., an independent market research consulting firm, whose executive interviewers spoke directly to chief marketing officers, using a telephone survey conducted within a scientifically-developed, pure random sample of the nation’s retailers.
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