NEW YORK: An overwhelming majority of marketers regard mobile as being not only essential to generating sales and reaching consumers but as vital to their own future careers, according to new research.

A joint study, the Marketers' Guide to Mobile and Data, from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Neustar, a provider of real-time information and analysis, surveyed 400 companies across the consumer product and service categories, and found that no less than 85% of marketers saw mobile as a gateway to new markets and audiences.

Further, 80% said mobile was a strategic factor in ensuring their careers stayed at the cutting edge of emerging trends and technology.

Greg Stuart, MMA chief executive officer, observed that mobile had moved beyond its role as a connection or convergence device. "Marketers no longer ask 'why mobile?' because the future health of their brands directly depends on mobile's role as a marketing vehicle," he said.

That mobile was "business transformational" was no longer in dispute, he added, since the survey showed it had "advanced from an afterthought to the first thought when mapping out a marketing strategy".

Marketers said they had become convinced of mobile's effectiveness after reviewing the impact of their outreach. Depending on which platform was deployed, between 40% and 65% stated their mobile tactics were extremely impactful, particularly those who had integrated mobile coupons, real time location targeting and mobile optimised sites.

The survey further established that data offered significant value when paired with mobile, the combination being cited as a "game changer". Some 65% of marketers indicated that data delivered a competitive advantage for their business and 61% of companies planned to invest more in data capabilities over the coming year.

"Data represents the breadcrumbs of the consumer journey," said Lisa Peterson, Director of Mobile Solutions Business Development at Neustar. "Without data, marketers operate blind when trying to determine how to connect meaningfully with their audiences."

"Marketers that are able to glean more insights about what consumers want, need and expect from brands across this journey will drive higher and more effective levels of engagement," she concluded.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff