The Melee for Your Mobile Mindshare

With this past weekend’s release of the iPad, Steve Jobs and company hope that they’ve created a watershed moment in the world of mobile communications and entertainment. Whether or not that turns out to be the case (and I have some serious doubts about it), one thing is for certain: the competition for your eyeballs on the go has never been hotter.

With smart phones getting smarter all the time, cell phone providers pushing customers onto data plans and new devices like netbooks, tablets and e-readers gaining traction, one might be forgiven for believing that 2010 really could be the year that mobile finally lives up to all of the hype.

So how will people decide to consume media and seek information on the go? With so much undecided in the space, it’s hard enough for a consumer to decide what device(s) to buy and use. In a fragmented and highly uncertain environment like this, the challenge for marketers is even more daunting. For a few years now, the question has seemed to be how much to throw at mobile how soon. Now, the much more important question is where to throw it. The target, as they say, is moving.

Will a standard for mobile communications even emerge in a meaningful way? It seems like a distinct possibility that large groups of people will prefer to browse the web on their smart phones, while others prefer tablets and still others stick with netbooks or more traditional laptops.

Reaching people on the move at the right time with the right messaging on the right device will no doubt be the most important marketing challenge of the next few years. My advice to marketers: partner with a really smart agency. My advice to consumers: get used to your travel companions paying absolutely no attention to you.

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