With everything that’s been written and said about mobile marketing, here’s something they don’t tell you often: Not all marketers need a full-blown mobile marketing strategy. In fact, in a lot of situations, that’s the wrong way to approach mobile marketing itself. Here’s how you should be thinking about mobile.

Now first off, let’s shrug off some potentially misleading ideas about mobile marketing you’d normally com across.

While it’s true that marketers are ‘underutilizing‘ and have been ‘slow to embrace‘ the full potential of mobile, the way most of them arrive at these conclusions deserves closer scrutiny. A lot of people associate the relatively lower amount spent on mobile ads as a sign that marketers aren’t prioritizing mobile that much. However, like everything else in your marketing budget, the amount you set aside for mobile doesn’t tell the whole story. Does spending zero dollars on mobile ads and promotions really mean you don’t have a mobile marketing strategy? Of course not.

Suppose you only decide to optimize your current marketing channels with the mobile experience in mind (e.g., making your email campaigns more mobile friendly) and not really adding another channel (mobile ads, apps, SMS, etc. into the mix. Doesn’t that count as a mobile strategy? Doing this would require few to zero marketing dollars specifically for a mobile item on your budget, but it would still constitute a mobile marketing strategy nonetheless.

That’s why having a full-blown mobile marketing strategy (i.e., using it as an additional channel) is NOT the only choice you have. But, if you’re really considering displaying mobile ads, developing an app for your brand, or sending out SMS messages as part of your marketing efforts, make sure that:

1. It’s where your leads stay and come from. With the current trend in mobile device usage, this requirement isn’t that hard to meet. Drill down on your site analytics. How much does mobile traffic contribute to your results? Can you identify distinct patterns among mobile users such as keyword choices, site behavior, traffic sources, etc? The idea here is to find out whether your existing channels are no longer able to accommodate mobile users (even if they’re already optimized for mobile), highlighting a potential need for a new platform to engage leads in.

2. It solves a real problem for your prospects. This is particularly crucial if you’re thinking about making use of mobile apps as part of your strategy. On average, users regularly access 15 apps each week, so it’s only fair to say this platform is a bit crowded. Unless your app addresses a real pain point or fulfils an unmet need, it’s not going to contribute much to your marketing efforts (or to your prospects’ life, obviously). The same can be said of targeted mobile ads and SMS. If they’re merely unwelcomed interruptions, you’re going to end up generating more complaints than leads.

3. It’s not hard to integrate with your other channels. Or, put in another way, it really does fit into your overall marketing plan. Don’t just develop a full-blown mobile marketing strategy for completeness sake or for fear of missing out. Instead, make sure that it really helps you and your audience communicate better with each other. Otherwise, it’s simply an unnecessary distraction that’s going to cost you opportunities.

If you’re unable to meet all three requirements, then a full-blown mobile marketing strategy isn’t what you need. Don’t worry, you’d still be able to leverage the power of mobile marketing. Just try making every marketing channel you currently have more mobile-friendly. You don’t have to go all the way. After all, less is more.