Mobile is everywhere: the grocery store, train station, movie theater. and yes—even the doctor's office.

Look around, and you'll inevitably find people using a mobile device. With the additional connectivity smartphones offer, mobile has become a part of our culture's fabric.

recent CTIA survey found that US wireless subscriptions outnumber the total population of the US (327.6 million vs. 312.4 million). The survey also found that smartphone and wireless-enabled PDA (personal digital assistant) device usage rose from 61.2 million to 95.8 million users since mid-2010.

And according to a 2011 Mobile Commerce Daily survey, 50% of consumers use their mobile devices for shopping purposes.

That is great news, but the question remains: How can marketers use this powerful force to their advantage? Capitalizing on the mobile revolution is surely a lot easier said than done, requiring several sophisticated steps. Here are four critical questions every business should consider to maximize its mobile marketing return on investment (ROI).

1. How strong is your mobile database?

Consumers are clearly stating their communications preferences via their most powerful tool—their wallets. To gain adequate share, you've got to secure your customers' permission to communicate via mobile with them, commonly referred to as "express consent" or "opt-in."

Besides being mandated by industry regulations, express consent offers a unique perspective and insight into how customers shop, where they shop, how often they want to be contacted, and which brands or products they prefer to receive information about.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Romano is senior vice-president of Mobile Sales and Services for SoundBite Communications, a provider of mobile marketing and cloud-based, multichannel communications solutions. He is a contributor to the SoundBite blog, and he can be reached via mromano@soundbite.com.