To reach its full potential in the small and medium-sized business environment, mobile must fit logically into your overall marketing plan and work synergistically with its other components. That said, it’s clear mobile’s role in marketing is expanding rapidly, and its position in the hierarchy of all marketing tools is on the rise. 

“While mobile is just one tool currently, it is rapidly emerging to be a very important one,” stresses P.K. Kannan, a professor of marketing science at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. He attributes that growing importance to mobile’s “ubiquitous availability and presence, the personal nature of the access that it affords a marketer, and the potential for geo-targeting applications which are going to emerge fairly soon.” 

Businesses of all types and sizes were already facing the challenge of combining digital and traditional marketing approaches and getting them to interact effectively with each other, and mobile introduces a new variable into the equation. Traditional and digital marketing need to work together in an integrated fashion to maximize potential, says Francois de Repentigny, vice president, marketing at Guavus, a provider of business analytics solutions. Marketers are in a unique position where they can layer multiple touchpoints into a marketing campaign, such as traditional TV and broadcast with social media and mobile advertising, to create highly relevant and targeted personal campaigns to individual subscribers, he suggests. 

There are many challenges involved in fitting mobile into an overall marketing plan and getting it to work synergistically with the plan’s other components, says Yariv Ron, CEO and founder of Appwiz, a global mobile monetization platform. They include technology and platform issues, browsing and usage habits, and the abundance of devices, screen sizes, and operating systems. “Add to that location- and time-based questions, and you have a long set of new paradigms that need to be solved,” he says. It may take some time and research to find the right solutions for your business needs, but they are out there and worth the effort. 

With the emergence of a multi-channel environment where consumers switch seamlessly between online, mobile, and traditional channels, the challenge for marketers is finding ways to link those touchpoints in a manner that reflects consumer usage patterns and contributes to overall purchase conversions, Kannan advises. “This understanding is very important for marketing budget allocation in campaigns run across multiple channels. While such an understanding is still in its early stage, techniques, methodologies, and metrics are being developed quickly to help marketers (achieve it) so that they can use the power of mobile fully in marketing their products and services,” he says. 

Important things to keep in mind when integrating mobile into your overall marketing efforts include: 
• Understand the role mobile plays in your end-customers’ lives and whether mobile is relevant in how they interact with you. 
• Experiment with a small allocation of marketing dollars to mobile, measure the incremental return, and increase the budget if the return justifies it. 
• Set specific goals and objectives for mobile within your overall marketing campaign and track the results. 
• Accept that mobile should no longer be considered optional, “but rather a fundamental piece of any overall marketing plan in today’s business environment,” de Repentigny stresses. 
• Optimize your marketing efforts for the mobile experience, (e.g., mobile app, mobile-friendly website, etc.). 

Learn more: 
• The Latest on Mobile Marketing Developments 
• 2014 Trends in Mobile Marketing