Like any industry, analysts and pundits that focus on mobile marketing often talk about the future – the sexy apps and technologies that they deem critical for innovation. But for marketers, often times the challenges and associated solutions aren’t that sexy. Take Passbook for example. Last year, many predicted that Passbook would arrive in full force. With 2014 here and Passbook not yet ubiquitous, it looks like last year’s push was premature and the app didn’t move beyond a novelty and/or offer enough value for marketers.

This conversation rings especially true in the retail industry, where consumer adoption of mobile is growing at an exponential rate. Even so, retailers are still challenged with the simple goal of using a cross-a channel strategy to acquire and nurture a subscriber database, not launching Google Wallet or Apple Passbook.

I came across a survey of major retail brands conducted at the recent DigiDay’s Retail Summit, and the results confirmed this as well. Very few of those surveyed mentioned using iBeacon or Geo-fencing. Rather, they’re more focused on how to use mobile to connect with consumers, track conversions between channels, and drive consumers into stores.

Sure, there will always be customers and marketers who are attracted to the novelty of the new apps, but the majority have a more pragmatic approach. Take Waterfall’s customer Stuart Weitzman as an example.  They are using Instagram to post image shots, customers can then text the style name and receive back a direct link to that product’s purchasing page. The international retailer’s simple yet effective approach to connecting social and mobile marketing has turned loyal fans into brand enthusiasts.

Check out a few of the responses from the DigiDay survey below to get sense of what marketers really want in a mobile marketing strategy. Do you agree? Are you going for the bright shiny object, or are you focusing on the more pragmatic approach?

Diana Klochkova, global social media lead, Levi’s
Everyone works in silos at Levi’s. We have a hard time integrating efforts across the board. Mobile creates a really big need to be in sync, because mobile isn’t its separate category; it needs to be at the heart of everything we do.

Tim Buckley, digital marketing manager, American Express
We’re finding different ways that we can give offers to our various retail partners through different social platforms like Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter.

Lisa Archambault, display and social marketing manager, Zappos
Without having showrooms, our problem is knowing whether the person who we just communicated with on desktop is the same person we’re talking to on mobile.

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