In a world with a thousand digital channels competing for your customers, how the heck do you implement a coherent and effective mobile strategy?

If you’re like most other executives, you’re looking at the mobile web and native apps that your tech team has cobbled together — and you’re thinking that while they look nice enough, they’re also compromised by either a cash-strapped budget, the need to get something out of the door quickly, or both. And you’re also wondering how to tie it all together with the rest of your growth strategy?

That’s why we’re hosting our fifth annual VB Mobile Summit on February 23 & 24 in San Francisco.

We’re invite 180 of the top executives we can find from leading brands, together with representatives of the top advertising and marketing tech platforms, to debate and showcase best practices of mobile-led growth. The peaceful, idyllic resort of Cavallo Point — residing practically under the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge — is a perfect place for leaders to network with their peers. While the event is invite-only, you can apply here to be considered for a ticket.

One of the biggest challenges is the omni-channel nature of your customer. Mobile is just one form of your customer’s multi-device journey. Only you know which of your customers are mobile and how best to engage them there. For Hilton Hotels, its customers are inherently mobile, and that’s why it’s racing to lead the hotel industry in allowing customers to check in and select rooms via a mobile app, and why it became the first major chain to announce plans to allow devices to be used as room keys, a feature to be rolled out early next year. Joshua Sloser, VP Digital Products and Innovation for Hilton Worldwide, will be attending the Summit and talking about what it means to go all-in on mobile as a strategy.

Second, mobile commerce is finally going crazy. Mobile app usage has exploded — this activity alone (not even counting mobile web browsing) has surpassed time spent on desktop and laptops. And mobile retail is following: Mobile commerce via smartphones and tablets grew 80 percent in 2014 to $83.78 billion, or 21 percent of total web sales, according to a survey of 500 leading mobile retailers by Internet Retailer.

But to excel in mobile commerce, you need to master payments, and much more. For retailers, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and PayPal all support customer credit cards, while CurrentC, an independent initiative by some major retailers, is trying to bypass those credit card companies. Meantime, in-app messaging, location, show-rooming, loyalty, convenience, and experience are part of mobile commerce success too.

If you’re international, one explosive mobile commerce market is China, where 527 million people have smartphones. The install base of devices in China will be 1.9 billion in 2018, six times larger than in the U.S., or as big as the rest of the world, according to some estimates. Coca-Cola, Burberry, Oreo, and The North Face are already there, The New York Times points out, in an article about how U.S and other retailers are scrambling to appeal to users with customized mobile advertising on Weixin, China’s leading text and messaging app, among other places. We’ve also invited executives at some of these companies to be present at the Summit.

We’ll be discussing these strategies and more in our intimate working group sessions.

Here are four other key trends we’ll be debating:

  • 1 to 1 marketing: Companies need to learn how to target specific customers’ unique tastes, and that means extreme personalization. But how do you do that at scale? One way to do that is to offer customers personalized coupons and deals, based on things like their location, preferences, and stated needs.
  • Ad tech: There’s a new generation of ad technology that businesses need to figure out, with things like video, interstitials, full-page takeovers, and social ads all performing better than the traditional display advertisement.
  • Dashboard strategy: Once you’ve defined your user base, you need a data dashboard to track your customer nurturing and ad spend campaigns, and the return on investment you’re getting from those activities. Here we can learn from the pathbreaking game industry, where mobile game leaders like San Francisco’s Kabam are calculating the lifetime value of their users for specific types of games, and tweaking the games to optimize value over time. Within five years of getting started, Kabam has been valued at more than $1 billion. We’re inviting leading executives from Kabam and other gaming companies to the Summit too.

Finally, VB will also be unveiling several proprietary research reports from our VB Insight unit about mobile growth and ad technology at the event, and so there’s plenty of grist to provoke discussion.

Those are just seven reasons to attend the Summit. We’ll be talking about it more over the coming weeks. Look forward to seeing you there. Apply to attend now!

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