LONDON: Brand owners need to invest in mobile relationship strategies as well as increasing the amount of advertising expenditure directed to this channel, a leading industry figure has argued.

Writing in the Guardian, Thomas Enraght-Moony, CEO at Lumata, the mobile marketing consultancy, warned of a "serious risk" of a disconnect developing between a brand's mobile advertising spend and its mobile relationship investment.

"If that happens, mobile ad spend will become far less effective and mobile will be seen as delivering below-par return on investment," he said.

"Worst of all, customers are likely to become disillusioned with brands using mobile as a marketing channel," he added.

Latest figures from IAB UK, a trade body, show that over £500m was spent on mobile ads in Britain last year, with the channel accounting for around 10% of overall digital spend.

Enraght-Moony suggested that brands build trust with consumers by increasing their focus on customer preferences and landmark dates and offering them benefits or rewards they genuinely value in order to keep them coming back to the mobile channel.

"The only alternative to not having a mobile relationship strategy is to spend more money, acquiring more new customers to replace the ones that have left," he added.

The issue of churn was one that Enraght-Moony also emphasised earlier this year when speaking to GoMo News.

"I think that keeping customers loyal is the single biggest challenge in the market and critical to any financial planning of a successful business," he said.

"Churn and churn management will never decrease but only increase in value over the next decade."

Digital tracking, however, means brands could now predict not only how likely a customer was to respond positively to a particular mobile campaign, but also the reward or benefit that would most excite them.

"Advanced analysis can prove remarkably accurate and it doesn't have to be as complex as you might think," Enraght-Moony added.

Data sourced from the Guardian, GoMo News; additional content by Warc staff