A very good friend of mine (who will go nameless) heard that I was running the Mobile X Festival and reached out to me to ask a few questions about it. My friend is one of the smartest people I know, and he’s had several successful careers (one of which was in management consulting), so he’s an accomplished, well-versed, individual.

I told him that the Mobile X Festival was an un-conference for businesses that want to use mobile to grow their sales and revenues. In other words, it’s a conference for all businesses since all businesses should be vigorously learning everything they can about how to use mobile to sell more stuff.

I explained to my friend that we had leading experts from Google, Coca-Cola, CNN, E&J Gallo, Kimberly-Clark, and other well-known brands who were going to be speaking and attending the event.

When I got to the end of the explanation, he said to me, “What exactly is mobile?”

He was serious. But it raised a larger issue, which is that even the smartest business people I know don’t really understand what mobile is and what it can do for your business.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d provide a quick update on the mobile landscape and what it can do. By understanding the tools that are available to you in mobile, you’ll be able to figure out how best to use mobile to grow your sales revenues.

Let’s start with a definition of mobile

I define mobile as any digital technology not tied to a land line that connects people to other people or the internet. That includes smart phones and tablets (of course). It also includes beacons, chat devices (like Amazon Echo) and arguably small laptops that are easily transported.

Now that we have a broad definition of what mobile is, let’s dive into the specific tools of the trade. Here goes:

Mobile websites

When I first wrote Go Mobile, the number one best-selling Amazon book on mobile, mobile websites were much more difficult to create. Today, they’re relatively easy. Virtually all WordPress and Drupal templates are mobile responsive. What that means is that the website reformats itself based on size size of the screen. As a result, someone can engage with your website from a smartphone just as easily as they can engage from a desktop.

Your mobile website is the foundation upon which you’ll build all other mobile marketing initiatives, so be sure you have a mobile responsive website before diving into the other items on this list.

Mobile apps

Here’s a little secret about mobile apps. They’re actually best for customer retention, not for customer acquisition. In other words, they’re best used with people who are already engaged with your brand and already trust your brand. After all, which app are you most likely download? An app from Walmart? Or an app from Bob’s Discount-o-Rama?

Of course, the Walmart app is the one you’ll download. Why? Because you trust the brand and already know it.

Poor Bob.

One other thing you should know about apps — you won’t get rich if you come up with a wonderful app idea.

There are a gazillion wonderful app ideas already out there, and the big winners are usually heavily-funded.

That said, you can still find apps that have caught on just through hard work and elbow grease. So, even though the vast majority of app ideas don’t work out, there are occasional apps that somehow break through the clutter and gain traction.


Short Message Service (SMS) is the tried and true mobile technology that keeps on delivering. It may not be the newest kid on the blog, but it can still be very effective.

Some of the SMS companies I’m most familiar with are SUMOTEXT, and Waterfall. Both of these companies have dozens of case studies that show new and innovative uses for their continuously-evolving platforms. So even though there are a lot of new tools coming online all the time, sometimes it pays to go with the workforce of the mobile marketing industry– SMS.


Ever heard of Facebook? How about Instagram? Or Snapchat? Of course you have. These are just some of the social/mobile tools that are available to connect you with your customers.

Hardly a day goes by where these tools don’t have some new feature for update that allows you to quickly and easily promote your brands. Better still, since many of these tools are self serve, getting started in them is relatively easy.

One thing to keep in mind is that some of these tools have yet to show that they are true marketing workhorses. It’s too early to tell which of these will play out (other than Facebook), so for now dip your toe in the water with these tools and consider them exploratory in nature.

Beacons, Wi-Fi, and Near Field Communications.

When you walk into a retail store and start comparing Brand A to Brand B, what’s one of the first things you do? If you’re like most people, you whip out your smartphone and access the internet to check the reviews.

What if a marketing message were embedded between you and the Internet that offered you a discount on the products you were looking at. Would that make you pause and explore the possibility of buying that brand? You bet it would.

That scenario is playing out in retail locations around the nation. The technology that is being used to embed messages into your smart phone includes beacons, Wi-Fi, and Near Field Communications.

We don’t have time to go in to the details of those technologies now, but if you’d like a good e-book on the technology (written by me, by the way) visit the Hotspot Revenue website where they have an eight page e-book that provides everything you need to know about these tools and technologies.

Mobile Paid Search

One of the wonderful things about Google is that they make it so gosh darn easy to use their products and services. Mobile paid search is no exception. If you’ve ever created a desktop search campaign, then you have everything you need to create a mobile paid search campaign.

Just keep in mind that the person viewing your paid search ad is not sitting at a desktop computer. Instead, they’re sitting at a park bench or standing at a traffic light or in a mall. Given that, be sure to provide landing pages that don’t require a lot of forms to fill out. There’s nothing that hurts a conversion rate more than a mobile landing page with a lot of forms to fill out.

Mobile Display Ads

Mobile display is one of my favorite topics. The ability to target, track and engage people via mobile display continues to grow more and more enticing. For starters, the targeting capabilities in mobile display ads are amazing. Companies like 4INFO allow you to target specific individuals based on their purchase behaviors. We’ll be going into details about this at the Mobile X Festival, but trust me, the technology here is mind blowing.

In addition to the targeting capabilities, companies like 4INFO are able to track the deployment of an ad back to purchase at the store level. In other words, they’re able to serve an ad to somebody living it 123 Smith Street, and then see if that person bought the product at the store by connecting the dots. This is a game–changing technology and if you don’t already know about it, I would suggest checking it out at the Mobile X Festival or reaching out to Dave Matthews who is the head of sales at 4INFO.

One other thing about mobile display — if anyone tells you that mobile display ads are annoying little banner ads, they don’t know what they’re talking about. The variety of ads that are available to businesses like yours are amazing. We don’t have time to go into the details of the different creative formats that are available today, but check back on this blog regularly because we’ll be addressing them in the future.

The bottom line

The mobile marketing landscape continues to evolve every day. That’s what makes it so fascinating. If you’re interested in staying current on the latest trends in mobile, I encourage you to join us at the Mobile X Festival where we’ll be teaching and learning about mobile in a vibrant, engaging, un-conference format.

If you can’t join us at the Mobile X Festival, please check back with the 60 Second Marketer or sign up for our e-newsletter. We’ll be talking about mobile with greater regularity as we move forward in the future.

About the Author: Jamie Turner is an internationally-recognized author, speaker, and business thought-leader. You’ll find him on the 60 Second Marketer and occasionally as an expert commentator on CNN. He is the founder of SIXTY, a marketing optimization firm working large and small corporations. He is also the founder of the Mobile X Festival, an un-conference for businesses that want to use mobile to grow their sales and revenues. 

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