My personal response to this question is to first take a step back and define the term "mobile."
A current definition of “mobile” or “mobile marketing” encompasses SMS or MMS bi-directional messaging, mobile advertising in its nascent state, mobile-friendly web content and perhaps some forms of mobile social networking (Twitter) all generally taking place on a mobile device like a cell phone or a smart phone. In these terms, it’s true that not all marketers need to be active in the mobile channel. Not all marketers have a clear-cut path to implementation of mobile tactics that makes sense for their brand, their customer or prospect, or their budget. My colleague Brian Deagan summed up this argument very well in his Lunchpail post here, and Dutch Hollis spoke to the possibilities of mobile targeting here.
Not every marketer needs to be implementing mobile marketing tactics in the next 12 to 24 months. This is a perfectly acceptable strategic statement for a company to have: “Our strategy at this time is to forego the production of content to be accessed on mobile phones, or the distribution of messages directly to mobile phones via SMS, mobile-friendly emails, web pages or mobile social networks.”
However, every marketer needs to know what the future of mobile marketing holds. As Ad Age asks, will there “even BE a ‘mobile’ category in the near future?” CNET’s Natali Del Conte responded at the NY:MIEG event: “in five years we’re not going to be talking about mobile, it’s just going to be part of connectivity.”
“In five years we’re not going to be talking about mobile, it’s just going to be part of connectivity.” – Natali Del Conte
When we define “mobile” in this more literal long-view the answer is clear: you must have a strategy for the future marketplace where the majority of consumers are engaged actively (daily) with portable media/communications devices (hopefully our future selves will stop calling them “phones”). As Ms. Del Conte summarizes, “If you don’t think about the fact that your content is going to be everywhere and people are going to be taking it with them all the time then you’re remiss at this point.”
While not every marketer needs a long-term mobile strategy, every marketer does need to formulate a strategy for the “all-content-is-portable” near future. E.g. “Our long-term marketing strategy recognizes the rapid changes in how consumers interact with online media. We are developing a five-year roadmap including a shift in focus and budgets to the production and distribution of content where and how the consumer demands.”