One of the most authoritative studies in the mobile marketing world is the annual Chief Marketer Mobile Marketing Survey. The executive summary of this year’s report was released a couple of weeks ago and the biggest surprise is this: Mobile users want to make phone calls and yet mobile marketers don’t want them to.

This fairly stunning nugget came out of this question posed to marketers: What path-to-purchase features do you enable? Meaning, essentially, what form of engagement do marketers encourage from their consumers, or, how do marketers want mobile users to interact with their brand?

This is a critically important question.

Seventy-three percent of the 500 chief marketers surveyed said they encouraged mobile users to do additional research about their products or services, first and foremost.

These marketers encourage additional research by driving mobile users to a mobile site with articles, white papers for download, or links that say things like “Learn More” and “Details.”

The most surprising finding is that most companies do not allow mobile users to buy directly via their mobile device. Not only that, but most companies don’t actively encourage mobile users to call them from a mobile device. They don’t provide a click-to-call phone number on landing pages or on their website. Nor do most companies offer click-to-call customer service.

In other words, marketers want mobile users to research their product, but not interact with them or actually buy. That. Makes. No. Sense.

Chief Marketer survey responses to the question, "What path-to-purchase features do you enable in mobile?"

What are marketers missing?

Mobile users want immediacy. When they conduct a mobile search they are ready to buy. Google reports that 9 out of 10 mobile searches result in action and 7 out of 10 result in action within one hour!

Chances are that by the time someone searches your brand on their mobile phone they have already conducted research or they are doing a search “on the fly.”

Direct TV features a pricing summary and a phone number to encourage phone calls.

In other words, mobile users aren’t terribly interested in doing intensive research on their device. And yet, according to the Chief Marketer study, a stunning 73 percent of marketers allow extensive research on their products but provide no way to buy, call or do much of anything else.

Only 29 percent offer click-to-call customer service.

Only 44 percent offer actual mobile purchase.

Google has told us repeatedly that the most common action in mobile marketing is a phone call. A phone call is the method of engagement mobile users are most comfortable with. It is the action that is most natural on a mobile device. In fact, Google says that mobile search results in a phone call 61 percent of the time. xAd says that 52 percent of all mobile ads result in a phone call.

Mobile users are begging to make a phone call. And yet, marketers want them to do “intensive research.”

The mobile web is different

Remember, there are two types of mobile searchers: the kind that has conducted research and wants to buy, and the kind that impulsively wants to buy and has no need for research.

If mobile searchers are ready to take action quickly (which they are), one would think that marketers would provide simple, quick paths to action like a phone call, a map to a location or an e-commerce platform.

An address box lets users of McDonald's mobile site find the nearest location quickly and easily.

For example, DirecTV’s mobile landing page has a quick snapshot of pricing and then a bright red “Call Now” button.

McDonald’s has a quick zip code box to generate a map to the nearest McDonald’s location.

Online retailer NewEgg actually lets you buy its products online.

But most marketers are trying to force mobile users into behaving the same way desktop users behave. The problem is, they don’t.

Mobile marketers shouldn’t ask for white paper downloads or complex form fill-outs. They shouldn’t plan on mobile users reading detailed articles about products or services.

Marketers need to escape the mindset that the mobile web is for research. The mobile web – especially mobile search – is for immediate action.

Now it’s time for marketers to act.

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