A few weeks ago, I went to an Improv Show in which they strategically used mobile marketing on a half-bored audience waiting for the show to start. They screen in front flashed an offer to text a code in exchange for a few free show tickets. Since we had nothing else to do and had just paid for a show, the offer of a few free tickets seemed pretty enticing. Deciding to go for it, we texted a short line of code and were rewarded with free tickets that I’ve already misplaced somewhere. However, a week later I started getting text offers from the improve theater for reminders of upcoming shows and additional weekday discount offers. What weeks ago was a soon forgotten pledge to “come here more often” is now rekindled each time I receive a relatively unobtrusive text here and there. It was mobile marketing at its finest.

By 2017, businesses will spend 7.4 billion in mobile messaging and I can see why. It’s direct marketing that captures your attention and is guaranteed to at least get businesses noticed. And it makes sense for businesses too. With over 80% of consumers using a smartphone to shop, not to mention the billions that have a smart phone ready to opt-into the above example of mobile marketing strategies, it’s simply a digital place where your consumers are. If you’re not there too, you’re missing out on arguably the biggest market – bigger than automobile manufacturing, agriculture, and the entertainment industry.

Furthermore, retailers that embrace mobile also know that…

Mobile Marketing Triggers Conversion: 64% have made a mobile purchase after seeing a mobile ad but nearly 74% haven’t received mobile ads from their favorite brands. Source: Mobile Advertising survey 2012

It can cost five to 15 times more to acquire a new customer than to gain repeat business from an existing one. Source: Restaurant Success by the Numbers

Mobile Marketing Boosts Location-Based Marketing Success: 65% of mobile users said they used their mobile device to find a business to make an in-store purchase. Source: Google.com

27% of companies worldwide planned to implement location-based marketing in 2013. Source: Econsultancy 2013

Mobile Marketing Helps Escape the Social Media Bubble: Last year, only 12% of shoppers bought through social media. Source: PwC 2013

Mobile Marketing Encourages Business Transparency: 40% of shoppers consult 3 or more channels before purchase compared to 10% in 2002. Source: Conlumino and Webloyalty 2012

The number one reason why small businesses are suffering with the fast evolving new markets is simply due to a lack of time and resources. They’re often just one person; and even with a budget for simple fixes, they’re slow to give up control to someone who can target key areas. If you’re not sure you need mobile marketing tweaks, then I recommend DeviceAnywhere and PerfectoMobile, which let you see what your site looks like to other users. You won’t just get one look, but a kaleidoscope of what your site looks like through seven different phone models.

Companies already engaging in a plan have reported an 84% increase in business and (per Convince and Convert) 78% of retailers plan to invest in mobile this year. Simply put, it’s not just an additional investment opportunity into your business; it’s the way business is performed. It’s the equivalent to not even having an online presence, which 10 years ago was an option but today would be considered quite fool-hardy. Mobile optimization is already heading in the same direction – and if we look at the facts, it’s already there.