Honey I shrunk our WebsiteMobile is a powerful marketing medium, it’s in everyone’s pockets every waking moment, it’s instant and intimate, and it’s becoming a marketing juggernaut. But those that think it’s just a mini version of current methods, there are serious issues. Mobile must be treated as a beast unto itself. There are varying devices in market from mobile browsers that lack a lot of functionality to smartphones that offer unique browser experiences (think iPhone and Android). On top of that, iPad and the new tablet revolution add a whole other layer of complexity into the equation. As marketers seek to include customers in the conversations, integrate online and offline and “chunk” content into easily consumable sound bites – the emergence of mobile offers a key delivery vehicle to capitalize on these new marketing imperatives.

Consumers are embracing mobile. They want access to digital information anytime and anywhere. The numbers are outstanding:

  • 78% of business people use their mobile device to check email. (Source: AT&T, March 2011)
  • 40% of US smartphone owners compare prices on their mobile device while in-store, shopping for an item. (Source: Comscore, January 2011)
  • 1 in 5 US adult mobile phone owners have used their device to make a purchase in the past month. (Source: Mobile Marketing Association & Luth Research, May 2010)
  • 101 million smartphones were sold in Q4, versus 92 million PCs (IDC, January 2011)
  • Laptop ownership has increased dramatically from 30 percent to 52 percent, and desktop ownership has declined.(Pew Research, October 2010)

This rapid growth of mobile technology offers extraordinary opportunities for marketers. Mobile devices allow us to connect with consumers no matter where they happen to be, and the power of location-based services enhances potential interactions even more. Let’s face it: Marketing as we know it is changing. We are working in the midst of a revolution, and mobile technology offers a key delivery vehicle to capitalize on today’s new marketing imperatives.

Creating a mobile version of your website is more than creating a smaller version of your current brochure ware website. The reason you do not need a mobile version of your current website is because mobile is not the same as the Web. From platform to technology to how the consumer interacts with the media, the only thing that that the Web and mobile have in common is that they are both new media. The way someone accesses the content is fundamentally different from a Web experience, but most importantly, more and more consumers are using mobile as the first gateway to find out about your brand.

For instance, marketers can use mobile campaigns to:

  • engage customers in personalized two-way conversations,
  • provide compelling location-based offers, incentives and services, and
  • deliver “chunks” of content that are easily consumable –and readily re-transmissible throughout users’ social networks.

Keep in mind mobile is not the new internet. Mobile is something completely different. It’s portable. Voice still plays a factor in it. It will not be manipulated by a keyboard or a mouse (it will be touch). The content and context must be easy to use, deliver results fast and give immediate value to the consumer. Not only do mobile devices require specifically designed content; they also demand an entirely new generation of go-to-market tactics, as well. Mobile devices are quickly evolving into individualized digital ecosystems, each of which provides enormous potential for expanded reach, real-time engagement, and location-specific content. Marketers who discount mobile’s unique characteristics, or those who do nothing more than “spam” what many consider to be the most personal and private of channels, are doomed to fail.

With the explosion of growth in mobile technology, today’s marketers must reach and engage consumers with immediate and location-specific content, giving the old term “point of sale” new meaning. Mobile offers tremendous opportunities to engage customers no matter where they happen to be, and the power of location-based services enhances interaction opportunities. While the rules are still being determined as more and more companies wade into this new territory, marketers should look for integrated mobile marketing solutions. Solutions that capture and engage your target audience and give you the insight to align relevant offers and call to actions that will drive conversions. Going mobile offers companies the opportunity to be everywhere that their customers are. But in order to be relevant companies need to do more than create a smaller lighter version of their current website.

*This post originally appeared on From Click to Closed – Inbound Sales and Marketing Blog and has been reposted with permission.