December 6, 2011, 12:30 PM

Overwhelming majority of marketers expect to expand m-commerce, AT&T survey finds

And four in 10 say 2-D bar codes will play an important role.

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88% of marketers expect to expand their mobile commerce programs in the next 12 months, according to a new survey by AT&T, which provides mobile technology and marketing services.

43% rank deploying a mobile app as an important mobile priority, the survey of 501 U.S. marketing and advertising professionals finds. 40% of marketers say running banner ads on mobile web sites and in mobile apps is an important next step in their plans, the survey says. 35% cite mobile web sites and 34% text messaging programs.

41% say 2-D bar codes are key. 2-D bar codes—QR codes are the most prevalent—enable retailers and other companies to connect smartphone owners to mobile web content through a scan by a smartphone’s camera via a bar code scanning app.

66% of respondents predict mobile bar codes will drive innovation in mobile marketing in the next year. Consumer demand, security and cost are the three most important factors when considering mobile bar codes as part of a marketing program, the survey finds.

“With the growing popularity of smartphones and the increasing dependence on mobile devices, it’s only natural that marketing executives want to turn up the volume on their mobile strategies next year,” says Chris Hill, vice president of advanced mobility solutions at AT&T Business Solutions.

An increasing number of companies are using QR codes to promote products, contests, e-mail sign-ups and more. A recent Taco Bell and MTV promotion netted 420,000 QR code scans. Consumers who scanned a Taco Bell code with their cameras using any of the multiple free bar code scanning apps available in app stores were linked to a mobile web site with music videos from MTV. Walgreen Co. is using QR codes in a teen sex education program. Teens can use their smartphones to scan QR codes on Walgreens signs to be connected to a page where they enter their e-mail addresses to receive information on entering a contest designed to get students to communicate better with their parents and peers.

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