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It’s 2011. Why haven’t you gone mobile?

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More than two in five (45 per cent) Brits now access the web using their mobile phone, according to research released by the Office of National Statistics last week. This is an increase of 14 per cent compared to 2010. 

This market is continuing to grow tremendously, showing no signs of slowing down. Mobile phones have gone beyond keeping us in touch; they now connect us to everything. 

Despite the meteoric rise of smartphones, only 17 per cent of UK businesses have mobile-optimised sites, according to research conducted by Google and the Mobile Marketing Association earlier this year. 

Many of you may be thinking, why should this matter? The answer is simple: 81 per cent of UK smartphone users search for local information on their phones. If they were to go onto your site, what would they find? 

No matter what your business, the mobile channel can extend and enhance your reach. Over the past year especially, consumers are living mobile lives whether it be shopping, networking or searching on mobile phones. Indeed, mobile search volumes rose by 216 per cent year-on-year. This significant increase contributed to a 27 per cent growth in overall search volumes. 

Consumers want to engage with brands on the move. If they hear about you, see some advertising, your product in a shop or read an article in a publication, they want to access additional information about you. 

By looking at your web analytics, you can see how much traffic is coming from mobile devices. Even if this percentage is comparatively small at the moment, it will inevitably increase. 

Smartphones have created the consumer expectation of a whole world of information at their fingertips. If you make it hard for them to find out information about your brand or business, you now run the risk of losing their custom. Now is the time when companies should be considering the integration of a mobile element into their business and marketing strategy. 

There are simple steps that you can take to do this. To get the best results, mobile should be integrated into the rest of the marketing mix, not used as a standalone channel. 

A great way to build your understanding of what can be achieved with mobile is to hear from business leaders from multiple countries about the impact that mobile has had on their brands. 

If you want to find out how to make the most of the mobile channel and integrate it into your business and marketing strategy, the Mobile Marketing Association Forum (MMAF) London, taking place on October 4-5, is the best place to start.  

You will be able to hear directly from brand leaders such as Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, NHL, Jet Blue Airways, La Redoute, Mahou-San Miguel, BBC, The Economist, Debenhams and many more about everything from mobile publishing, commerce, engagement with TV audiences, marketing to regional audiences and business. 

The Forum will also see the latest research release from Google on mobile readiness, mobile spend, mobile website usage and m-commerce activities. 

For more information or to register for the event, visit the website.

Paul Berney is chief marketing officer and managing director for EMEA of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). Real Business is a media partner for the event.

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