On Monday and Tuesday of this week I had the good fortune to attend Digital Summit 2011 in Atlanta, GA. Overall it was a great conference and the turnout was pretty spectacular. I was a little let down as the déjà vu did set in rather quickly. One conference is very much like another anymore it seems. A positive takeaway, at least for me, was that we’re still listening to and talking about many of the same topics and strategies. You’d have to almost believe that mass adoption has nearly been achieved.

It’d be a lie if I said that I wasn’t surprised with some of the shared wisdom about mobile strategy; I was even more surprised about the data that was being referenced. We all know mobile’s time has come. I feel safe in saying that we all know that we really need to be thinking in that direction for our businesses. Not knowing exactly where I will lead my company on this front keeps me up nights. Are you feeling me?

The graphic below (click image to enlarge) from the always amazing Jesse Thomas of Jess3 really drives home the data. The numbers are impressive all by themselves, but look closely at the highlighted portion of each sphere…this area is representative of the mobile access population of each social network.

The graphic above is actually an update of one done less than a year ago. Take just a minute to compare the two and draw your own conclusions. I’ve also embedded a Slideshare from Jess3 that has different iterations of the same data. Pick one, or pick them all to share around among your peers!

Infographics do break down the data into an easily digestible format, but today, on this topic, I really want to explore and share with you the bulk of my own research. I’d like to take you on a journey that ends with you having a much better understanding about mobile and how it might affect your business.

When I need solid input about web strategy, I can always turn to Jeremiah Owyang. I was pleased to find that Jeremiah has much to tell us about mobile and how we might develop a strategy that embraces it.

At the recent Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit, Jeremiah was the keynote speaker. I am very pleased that there exists this 45 minute video of his talk.

The Slideshare presentation contains some actionable insight and provides some great examples of how others are utilizing mobile. At this point I’m sure that the motivation is not merely to grow one’s business using mobile. There are always many factors, possibilities, and implications to consider when dealing with new technology.

The smart marketer realizes the huge benefit that comes from reaching out to your customers and clients on their channel and device of choice.

There is no shortage of posts and articles positing a numbered set of steps to building a mobile strategy. In whatever fashion that you are keeping your ear to the ground to follow topics and trends, do yourself a favor and plug “mobile strategy” into your listening. If Al Jazeera already has a solid mobile strategy in place, can we really afford NOT to be pro-active?

Hubspot recently posted some key findings from the “Mobile Marketing: Plans, Trends and Measurability” survey conducted by Kingfish Media. Jump here to download the full report.  Another excellent report you may want to investigate is “The State of Retailing Online 2011: Marketing, Social, and Mobile” (PDF Download) conducted by Forester Research Inc. for Shop.org.

“Given the strong growth in smartphone ownership, everyone is dependent on the in-store experience – from retailers to product manufacturers – each must take advantage of opportunities these devices provide for generating sales and improving the customer experience…Along with designs for packaging, displays, and signage, we will see smartphone-based communication as a necessary element of retail planning.” – Jeff McKenna,a senior consultant for Chadwick Martin Bailey…who also conducted a very informative study available for download)

If you’re all the way down here then I hope you’ll count all of this as a great head start towards a better understanding of where mobile might take us. If you had no clue, then I intended this as a wake-up call. Mobile will surely have an impact on us all.

It may be possible to imagine that smartphones and tablets might not become a part of everyday life for every one of us. However, if you own or operate a business, if the future of marketing means anything at all to you, then I hope you don’t take that stance.

Here are several more recent articles that I think are relevant:

The “Post-PC” Era: It’s Real, But It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

HOW TO: Optimize Marketing Materials for Mobile Devices

Why I’m Not Excited About Mobile Applications

How Mobile Users Love Free: Let Us Count the Ways

Smartphone Sales Up 85% Year-Over-Year

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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