If you’re the person who makes the marketing decisions for your company, this post is for you.

Marketing strategy – and by extension, advertising strategy – comes down to a few simple, but critical, points that will determine the success or failure of that strategy.

Right now, the most important pillar in the foundation of how you market your business is mobile.

Why is mobile so important?

Mobile is important because the world is mobile today.  And becoming more so with every passing day, week or month.  Whether you target the under 35 crowd (almost completely mobile) or other demographics such as the Latino market (if you’re a US business, you definitely need to know that the Latino/Hispanic demographic is very techno-friendly), or even mainstream, middle class (also going mobile at a much faster rate than predicted a couple of years ago), you have the best chance of reaching that demographic by utilizing a good mobile marketing strategy.

[LISTEN: How Mobile Affects the Shoppers Journey PODCAST]

More than half of emails are opened on mobile initially.  More than half of online time is spent connecting via mobile.  And almost all the initial research that people do prior to making a purchase, going out to dinner, or deciding where to go on the spur of the moment for entertainment begins on a mobile device.

This does not mean that you should chuck your TV or radio ads out the window (though you might want to re-evaluate the ad spends by category), or that you should stop advertising in your local periodicals or circulars (again, you may want to look at the ROI and adjust the budgeting); it simply means that you need to get onboard with making your business attractive to mobile users when they are in the research stage, all the way through to their final choice.

Mobile is not a fad.

I know that everyone tells you that you need to advertise somewhere else – usually people who have a vested interest in where you advertise (full disclosure, I’m an owner in a mobile advertising and marketing company) – and many of them will tell you to stop all other advertising but their kind.  I’m not telling you to do that.

In March of this year, Google released figures stating that 88% of all searches had the phrase “near me” in them.  This could be a little bit misleading, since the auto-complete feature on mobile search will add those two little words to nearly anything you can search for on mobile.  But that doesn’t take away from the fact that in 88% of the cases, those searches were completed with those two words.

Google obviously has a vested interest in bringing people search results that correlate with what they are actually looking for when they choose to search.  Which brings me to the three tenets (again) that you should use to build your mobile marketing or mobile advertising strategy.

#1 – Mobile search.

This isn’t rocket science; it’s easy and it’s free.  Put your business in Google My Business and make sure you update the information as it changes.  Take the time to do the snail mail confirmation for your physical business.  Write a short, direct description of your business and what you offer.  Use key words or phrases to describe your business that correspond to what people looking for your business would use.  If you don’t know how to do this, Google has some tools that make it easy.

#2 – Mobile social.

Again, easy and free.  You should have a basic Business Page on Facebook, Google + (part of Google My Business), and LinkedIn at a minimum.  If there are other industry specific sites where prospective customers might find you, then take the time to put your business in there as well.  ActiveRain or Zillow, if you’re a real estate agent, for instance.

Social should be defined as any place that people congregate to discuss among themselves a topic.  Yelp, for instance, if you’re a restaurant or service business owner.  Angie’s List is good if you’re in the home improvement or home services business.  Houzz is a great spot if you’re a cabinetmaker or interior designer.

[DOWNLOAD: 3 Steps to Creating a Mobile Strategy Worksheet]

Pinterest only works well for some business types, so make sure you match your business to the outlet, otherwise you’re just wasting your time.  Same with Snapchat, Periscope, FB Live, etc.  Don’t go overboard until you know what’s working, and make sure you measuring actual metrics that count.

#3 – Put Your Business on Mobile.

There are three ways to do this, and unless you’re a big business with a large user base, only two of them make sense.

First – get into as many aggregator apps as you can that are relevant.  Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Zillow, Trulia, Houzz, these are not just social apps, they are also what we like to term aggregator apps.  They take information from many businesses and offer users many options.  Users like this, it’s a very simple way to search and compare.

Second – mobile wallet marketing (again with full disclosure, I am an owner in a mobile wallet business – MobileWalletMarketer.com).  It’s much more cost effective, technically easy, and allows you to market your business, not turn into an IT guy.

Third – build an app.  TERRIBLE idea.  If you aren’t Starbucks, United Airlines, Facebook, or similar, don’t even bother.  You will turn into an IT guy, and you’ll bleed money on development, maintenance and user acquisition costs that will dwarf anything you’ve ever spent in the past.  Since only your most loyal customers will use your app, you’ll also be throwing money down the drain supporting the same people that are already buying from you.

Bottom Line –

Make mobile advertising and marketing an integral part of any budgeting discussions you have inside your business.  If you don’t do it, and quickly, your competition will get an edge on you that will be very difficult to overcome.

People are creatures of habit and once they get used to using your competitors in mobile form, you’ll work that much harder to convince them to switch to your mobile presence.