Brands in Asia- Pacific are struggling to develop formal mobile strategies, putting the future effectiveness of their marketing programs at risk, even as they realize the power and potential of mobile, according to a new study, conducted by Warc in partnership with the Mobile Marketing Association on behalf of the Festival of Media Asia.

The study found that an overwhelming majority of Asian marketers believe mobile will play a major part in their plans over the next year: 90 percent of respondents, including 90 percent of client advertiser respondents, rated mobile as ‘very important’ or ‘quite important’ to their 2013 plans. However, only 29 percent of brand advertiser respondents admitted they currently have a formal strategy for mobile.

“The study underlines the marketing industry’s uncertainty when it comes to the rapidly expanding mobile channel,” says Edward Pank, managing director at Warc Asia Pacific. “Both brands and agencies in Asia recognize that mobile will be an important platform for reaching consumers. But the medium is so new and developing so rapidly, that many brands are still working out how best to use it.”

The survey asked which types of mobile marketing Asia-Pacific marketers were most interested in this year, and which they expected to be important in five years’ time. The top responses for 2013 mobile programmes were app development (cited by 49 percent of respondents), mobile display (48 percent) and mobile-based social marketing (46 percent).

Overall, expenditure in mobile is growing, but not exponentially so. Only 38 percent of respondents reported mobile spend growth of more than 25 percent.

Samsung is the most admired brand for its mobile presence. It was named as an innovative mobile marketer by 10 percent of respondents, followed by Coca- Cola (9 percent), Nike, McDonald’s and Starbucks (4 percent each).

Japan (16 percent) and South Korea (15 percent) are viewed as the most innovative nations for mobile marketing in Asia-Pacific. China was in third place (11 percent), ahead of Singapore (9 percent).