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3 Ways to Grab an Early Piece of the $500 Billion Opportunity in Mobile Marketing Almost half of a brand's customers will soon be proverbially "up for grabs" to anyone with an effective mobile marketing strategy.

By Alex Campbell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

More than $500 billion in sales and nearly 20 percent of all in-store retail sales are now influenced by mobile content -- and in 2016, that number is expected to jump to more than 50 percent, according to a study by Deloitte. This means that right now, almost half of a brand's customers will soon be proverbially "up for grabs" to anyone with an effective mobile marketing strategy.

What's more is that although consumers are spending just as much time on their mobile phones as they are watching TV, advertisers are spending only 4 percent of their advertising budgets on mobile (compared with 66 percent on TV). This means that advertisers are missing out on an incredible opportunity. Brands who so choose can effectively own the mobile marketing channel and a direct link to both their customers and all of their competitors' customers.

Related: 5 Ways to Maximize Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

Even though it's easier than ever for consumers to buy things through mobile devices and even with all of these staggering statistics, many companies have yet to take notice of the opportunity that mobile gives them. Companies that embrace mobile marketing will have the upper hand on their competitors. The time to act is now.

Starbucks, for example, has reaped the benefits of having an effective mobile strategy. Opting to go on the offensive while its competitors were not focused on mobile, Starbucks began capitalizing on its mobile-focused customer base. As a result, it gained upwards of 6 million transactions per week -- all by simply making it easier and more enjoyable to shop at Starbucks.

Thanks to its investments, customers can now pay through their phones, never needing to take out their wallet to conduct a transaction. Starbucks anticipated the mobile opportunity long before its competition did and this proactive approach has given the company the equivalent of an added $30 million in business per year.

If Deloitte's predictions are correct, nearly half of your brand's customers will be willing and ready for mobile brand engagement. To capitalize on the opportunity at your fingertips, here are a few tips you can employ as you think about your mobile game plan:

1. Guard your mobile-influenced customers

To kick-start your mobile marketing program, start by paying close attention to your current customers. You can do this by utilizing technology (such as Vibes' mobile customer-relationship-management platform Catapult) that tracks and monitors mobile customers and subscribers, so every customer interaction is personalized and relevant. You can also pinpoint the times that your customers are using mobile in their purchase process and begin providing them with relevant content.

Related: 4 Tips for Passing Google's New Mobile-Friendly Test

Observe what people on their phones are looking for. Make sure your brand is providing it to them.

Start off with basics such as using push notification engagement or reminders about near-expiring coupons through your app when customers enter or are near your business. You can also leverage relevant, location-triggered messaging to target personalized content specific to the mobile-influenced audience.

2. Aggressively pursue your competitors' mobile-influenced customers

If you aren't leveraging the power of location-based notifications, it's time to get started. If you are, you should be using it to give your competitor's customers an offer they can't refuse by linking a mobile advertisement that appears only for your competitors' shoppers. Amazon is doing this today, and so should you. Take it a step further and only target your competitors' highest value customers.

By leveraging a combination of targeted mobile advertising and a dynamic mobile wallet, you can find shoppers who should be your high-value customers. Once you have found and identified them, deliver mobile-web and mobile-wallet content to entice them to switch brands. Thanks to the inherent trackability of both mobile web and mobile wallet, you can watch them make the switch in real time.

3. Become a mobile giant

Take things up a notch by coming at things from both ends. You can create a multi-channel campaign across email and SMS, for example, or solicit customers through personalized advertisements. You can also take your mobile content to the next level by crafting engaging mobile-wallet experiences, personalized for each customer. The key is to balance taking care of your own customers with taking advantage of opportunities to gain market share from your competitors.

You can certainly choose to do nothing and completely opt out of having a mobile marketing strategy. However, you may find that you will need to implement a mobile marketing strategy in the future and it will end up costing you more.

There's a huge mobile opportunity for marketers and there's never been a better (or more important) time than now to make sure your brand is accelerating its investment in mobile.

Related: 10 Tweaks That Instantly Increase Mobile Conversion Rates

Alex Campbell

Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Vibes

A pioneer in mobile marketing for more than 15 years, Alex Campbell is highly regarded in the industry as a champion for the value of mobile as a viable discipline for marketers. Alex co-founded Vibes in 1998, back when mobile phones were just for calling people. Today, Vibes works with some of the biggest brands in the industry – like The Gap, Verizon, and Home Depot – to help them better engage with customers and influence purchasing behavior using mobile marketing.

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