These words are so ingrained in internet history (and articles, presentations and quote round-ups) that I can’t seem to pinpoint when or where she actually said them.

Nevertheless, they’re wise words, and by all accounts date to long before most marketing and business luminaries were saying anything of the sort about mobile.

Mobile might not always seem like the most glamorous or inspiring of topics. In 2018, we’re long past the point of seeing mobile devices as revolutionary or game-changing: by now, they’re part of the fabric of our everyday lives (and some of us are pretty fed up with them).

Yet it was only two years ago that mobile web browsing officially overtook desktop on a global scale. Even as we begin to see the slow encroachment of other devices that could one day become dominant, like wearables and smart speakers, mobile isn’t going anywhere for a good while – and we’re still finding new ways to tap into its powers for marketing.

Mobile Marketing Best Practice Guide

So, for the next time that you need a reminder of the power and potential of mobile marketing (or a quote for your next presentation), we’ve rounded up 28 inspirational quotes about mobile through the years.

From then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt commenting on the lightning growth of mobile in 2011 to Elad Natanson pondering the next mobile revolution in 2017, these quotes sum up why mobile marketing is unique, why it’s so effective, and why it’s sure to only get bigger from here.

Follow the people – not the tech

First, a piece of common-sense of advice from Matt Haig, author of Mobile Marketing – The Message Revolution. While keeping tabs on how technology evolves is incredibly important for marketers, so is keeping tabs on how people’s behaviour changes.

Understanding how technology has changed is only half of the story: to really grasp its impact, we need to understand how people are changing. Thus, Haig writes:

“End-users, not technologies, shape the market. Consequently, marketers need to stay abreast not only of technological developments but also of the way people respond to them.”

The growth and adoption of mobile

The way that mobile usage caught hold and took off defied the expectations of even veterans of the digital industry. During his keynote at the 2011 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, Eric Schmidt – then-CEO at Google – stated:

“Mobile use is growing faster than all of Google’s internal predictions.”

Two years later, speaking to Bloomberg about his predictions for the year 2014, Schmidt made an even more definitive statement:

“The trend has been that mobile was winning. It’s now won.”

Sure enough, in 2014 Emma Crowe, Senior Vice President of Client Strategy at Somo, told attendees at the Mobile Retail Summit:

“The adoption rate of mobile is twice that of the internet, three times that of social media, and 10 times faster than PCs.”

And in 2016, on the heels of mobile internet usage officially pulling ahead of desktop worldwide – the long-awaited tipping point – Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting for Zenith, spoke to Digiday about the joint threat and opportunity that it posed.

“The expansion of mobile internet consumption is an opportunity for traditional publishers and broadcasters, as much as a threat. Traditional media has invested heavily in online brand extensions, and some of them have larger audiences online than they ever had for the offline products.”

The mobile revolution

As mobile usage began to pick up pace and mobile devices started to position themselves at the centre of our online lives, commentators had plenty to say about the “mobile revolution”.

Nihal Mehta, Founding General Partner at Eniac Ventures, said:

“The mobile device has become our communications hub, our diary, our entertainment portal, our primary source of media consumption, our wallet and our gateway to real-time information tailored to our needs. The revolution is now!”

At the 2016 Mobile Marketing Brand Summit, Katy Halewood, Head of Maxus for Business, looked back on the effect that the mobile revolution had had on B2B brands.

“A lot of brands weren’t secure in this mobile revolution that we’ve stumbled into, and the trust still isn’t there for many of them.”

Most of us probably believe that the “mobile revolution” is now over. The technology is here, and it’s well-established. But Elad Natanson, writing for Forbes in 2017, pondered whether we might just be on the cusp of a new revolution:

“What if the mobile revolution is just beginning?

“What if the next mobile revolution is all about real-world and context-driven experiences — individual needs that are taken care of through mobile, making our lives easier and more seamless?”

Mobile is everywhere

Janice H. Reinold, strategist at Rosetta Marketing, once said,

“In today’s modern world, people are either asleep or connected.”

Post-mobile revolution (or mid-mobile revolution, depending on your perspective), it certainly seems that way. Jan Chipchase of Frog Design put it even more descriptively:

“The mobile phone is used from when you get up in the morning and is often the last thing you interact with at night.”

But the most evocative image comes from Rich Barber, former marketing manager at Blackstone Media, who in 2012 wrote for the International Association of Business Communicators that:

The magic of mobile marketing lies in the fact that people are seldom separated from their mobile phones. Like Gollum and the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, people are loath to be away from their precious technology, which keeps them connected to the world and provides them with timely information.”

As both an ardent Lord of the Rings fan and an ardent mobile user, I can confirm the accuracy of this comparison.

The convenience of mobile

Still, who can blame people for being attached to their phones when these devices are so darn convenient?

Speaking at the Mobile Retail Summit in 2014, Rob Thurner, Managing Partner at Burn the Sky, praised and lamented the convenience of shopping on mobile:

Amazon’s one-click is almost too convenient – I got home the other day to find a guitar in the hallway my ten-year-old had bought on my phone when I wasn’t looking.”

The omnipresence and convenience of mobile has brought about a wider shift in consumer behaviour that goes beyond opportunistic ten-year-olds with their parents’ phones.

Lisa Gevelber, VP of Marketing for the Americas at Google, summed up this change in a 2017 piece for Think With Google, ‘Micro-Moments Now: Why expectations for ‘right now’ are on the rise’:

“With our phones acting as supercomputers in our pockets, we can find, learn, do, and buy whenever the need arises—or the whim strikes.”

Mobile as the “future of online”

David Murphy, founder of Mobile Marketing Magazine, prophetically said:

“The future of mobile is the future of online. It is how people access online content now.”

Cyndie Shaffstall, software entrepreneur and founder of Spider Trainers, similarly believed that the mobile “future” was upon us, and early on, was urging marketers to meet consumers on their chosen channel:

“Mobile is not the future, it is the now. Meet your customers in the environment of their choice, not where it’s convenient for you.”

And in 2013, Marc Benioff, the founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, spoke to Forbes about how mobile was converging with other emerging technologies to bring about a dramatic transformation:

“The world is being re-shaped by the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data, community and other powerful forces. The combination of these technologies unlocks an incredible opportunity to connect everything together in a new way and is dramatically transforming the way we live and work.”

A different experience

Even as marketers have come to accept that mobile is the future, they haven’t always been adept at appreciating how much the mobile experience differs from the desktop computers that had dominated digital for the previous two decades.

In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg, speaking on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, said:

“Mobile is a lot closer to TV than it is to desktop.”

In the same year, Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, was already emphasising the importance of mobile-first design in an interview with Time magazine:

“People interact with their phones very differently than they do with their PCs, and I think that when you design from the ground up with mobile in mind, you create a very different product than going the other way.”

In her ‘Five mobile predictions for 2014’ for Econsultancy, Carin van Vuuren, CMO at Usablenet, emphasised the importance of context in mobile design:

“As the consumer’s device of choice, mobile is almost always on hand. It’s the brand’s first point of contact with the consumer, but that doesn’t mean forcing them to walk around with the entire website in your pocket. Rather, the mobile experience needs to address the context of a mobile user.”

But years later, marketers were still failing to properly design experiences for mobile users. Julie A. Ask, an analyst at Forrester, wrote in a 2015 report,

“We still see most of our clients cramming PC experiences onto phones when they should be thinking in terms of mobile moments instead.”

Fast-forward to 2018, and marketers and advertisers continue to grapple with how best to tap into the power of mobile and use its unique traits to their advantage.

In a 2018 interview with Econsultancy on the future of mobile advertising, Chris Childs, Managing Director UK at TabMo, spoke about the power of the technology and data behind mobile:

“Mobile is such a different experience compared with desktop. The screen is different, the technology is vastly more powerful; and the data is more powerful, because it’s based on location.”

User Experience and Interaction Design for Mobile and Web

Mobile is local

One of the things that makes the mobile experience so different is that mobile devices are, well… mobile. They accompany the user wherever they go, meaning that consumers could be accessing mobile websites and mobile marketing in any setting – hence the importance of designing for context on mobile.

As the device of choice for accessing on the go, mobile also has profound implications for local search and marketing. Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon, told the Sunday Telegraph in a 2012 interview that,

“Local commerce, without question, will be one of the fundamental use cases enabled by mobile devices over the next several years.”

Lisa Gevelber, VP of Marketing for the Americas at Google, laid out the opportunity presented by mobile for local businesses in a 2017 article for the Think With Google blog:

“Looking for something nearby—a coffee shop, noodle restaurant, shoe store—is one of the most common searches we do. In fact, nearly one-third of all mobile searches are related to location.”

Jacob Baadsgaard, founder and CEO of Disruptive Advertising, concurred, writing in Search Engine Land:

“Optimizing for local search is important, but if you aren’t optimizing for mobile, you’re going to miss out on your most important source of local traffic.”

Mobile and the next generation

The rise of mobile has shaped the lives and habits of almost everyone who has come into contact with – but none more so than the generations that have grown up with this technology at its fingertips. Peter Rojas, co-founder of Gizmodo, predicted that:

“The majority of internet usage will be done via a mobile device and for most people the mobile web will be their primary, if not their only, way of experiencing the internet.”

In 2013, Chris Cheung, a Senior Product Manager at Autodesk, spoke of the potential that this held for creativity on mobile:

“There’s entire generations who are learning and being exposed to computing in this form… What they imagine, and what they invent, is going to define possibilities that we can’t even imagine today.”

Mobile connectivity has its benefits and its drawbacks, some of which we’ve covered here already. And few know this better than the “mobile native” Generation Z, who have largely grown up using mobile devices from a young age. A Think With Google report published last year observed:

“While millennials were mobile pioneers, teens are mobile natives. Yet teens are equal parts aware of and wary of their dependence on technology—meaning their online lives are both spontaneous and carefully curated.”

Finally, I want to end by sharing a quote by Belgian painter Erik Pevernagie, from the description of his painting, ‘Even if the world goes down, my mobile will save me’. Written in 2007 – the same year that the iPhone was released – it manages to be both unerringly prophetic and idealistically utopian:

“The smartphone has become a young divine, embodying the ultimate desire and saving us from droopiness or lack of care and concern. It is the epitome of happiness, encompassing pleasure and contentment, but for sure does not allow woe and depression.”

If you’ve got a favourite quote about mobile that inspires you – no matter how new or old – share it in the comments!

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