For decades businesses have recognized that “word of mouth” is one of the most effective sales tools they possess. Personal recommendations between consumers create confidence in the buying decision.

Brands are established by personal connections between a consumer and a product or service, yet many businesses were slow to view mobile devices and social media as an avenue to engage their customers.

Today, due to the rapid growth of social media, these product opinions and recommendations are moving en masse to a digital format. In addition to leveraging the abundant information available on the Internet to research products and services, consumers are consistently reaching out to their peers through social media to find solutions.

These recommendations are far more powerful than print advertising or an e-commerce site’s product recommendations.

Viewing customer engagement as an information system gives businesses an opportunity to establish themselves as the expert in the customer relationship. “Internet presence” should now be viewed as Web pages, mobile-optimized sites, and social media working in concert. Consumers are spending more time every year researching online before making purchases, and studies have shown that between 65% and 75% of B2B purchasers first turn to search engines to start their research. Overwhelmingly purchasers and researchers are looking for clear information, which is downloadable, portable, and can be easily transferred within the buying agency. Think of how many ways that content can be delivered today … if emerging technology is leveraged.

The pace of change is rapid in the ways consumers and purchasers are accessing information from the Web. Smartphone and tablet shares of Web access are doubling every year and it’s expected that they will overtake traditional computer access to the Internet by the end of 2014. Mobile-optimized websites are becoming imperative.

Among consumers, 75% say that they are more likely to return to a site if their mobile experience was good. In another recent study, the majority also said that if they can’t find what they need on a business’ mobile site, they will go to a competitor’s mobile site before accessing information from a traditional computer.

According to, a mobile technology research firm in Dublin, Ireland, broadband subscriptions in the U.S. have topped 256 million. That translates into a population penetration of 81%.

It’s never been easier for business to take advantage of this new technology trend. Tablet computing, smartphones, and open-source coding (the platform that allows anyone who wishes to build an application that will function on an Apple smartphone or tablet), affords companies the ability to deliver multiple streams of content to their customers.

Educational opportunities, product knowledge, sales brochures, and dealer locators, to name a few, drive traffic to a business, engage customers, and support brand awareness. This move to cloud-based computing and open-source coding has also created the opportunity for a business, of any size, to leverage new technology in ways that were in the past, reserved for large corporations with huge marketing budgets and fully staffed IT departments.