​ Executives doubt mobile marketing, but if it follows in content marketing's footsteps, widespread adoption could be around the corner.

For several months, marketing experts have shouted at the top of their lungs that 2013 is the year of mobile. However, businesses shouldn’t transition their marketing budgets toward the practice just yet. According to a Forrester Consulting poll of 155 enterprise executives, commissioned by Aquent, lack of mobile marketing ROI prevents the practice from earning the spotlight. But that doesn’t stop mobile from serving as a content distribution tool … nor does it predict the channel’s future.

Similar to content marketing, which struggled to earn the trust of executives from the start, mobile marketing has the potential to change how businesses distribute digital media to consumers. It’s also clearly a new avenue on which content marketers can leverage their creative efforts.

Of the marketing professionals surveyed by Forrester, approximately 68 percent say they continuously need to prove that mobile marketing can generate returns before they hire additional talent to support growth. Businesses expanding their internet marketing efforts take caution over mobile technology, and some key executives remain critical of the channel’s ability to turn a profit. Thirty percent of survey respondents say they must earn executive support for mobile before they can proceed with future campaigns.

The struggle to convince executives to experiment with mobile technology is reminiscent of content marketing’s rise to fame.

Mobile marketing spend has hit a stalling point – 45 percent said they expected that their budgets increased slightly last year. Fifteen percent of respondents predicted a significant increase. The struggle to convince executives to experiment with mobile technology is reminiscent of content marketing’s rise to fame. Before content creation became standard practice for brands online, marketers struggled to encourage decision makers to jump on board, but studies from the Content Marketing Institute show the leaps of faith paid off.

In 2012, 55 percent of B2Cs and 54 percent of B2Bs increased their content marketing budgets. How did these investments pan out? Fifty-seven percent of B2Cs and 59 percent of B2Bs say the efforts effectively engaged audiences and helped achieve set goals. In some cases, content marketing led brands to establish themselves within their niche fields and allowed marketers to create online narratives to support their products and services.

While businesses shouldn’t break the bank on full-fledged mobile marketing campaign without any indication it will work, early adopters gain insights that help them achieve greater success down the line. Perhaps starting off small could help – begin using mobile as a channel to deliver email content to prospects, and see if the ROI meets expectations. In some cases, mobile marketing may work best as part of an overlapping strategy, distributing deals, promotions and branded content to new and existing customers.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.