It will be search on mobile devices. If you look back on the proliferation of the Web as a new broadcast channel, you'll see a heavy uptake right around the time Google uncovered the search Da Vinci Code.
The Internet came into its own when search became ubiquitous, easy and fast. The Tipping Point for digital marketing will happen when that same instance occurs on mobile devices.
The challenges we're all facing are more-than-similar to the ones we had a handful of years ago when too much money flowed into the Web and little came out the other side: the technology was still nascent, the pipe was not big enough and, most importantly, the critical mass was not there (and could not find a real reason to join the party).
Mobile is now where the Internet was about seven years ago.
The good news is that we have critical mass of users on mobile devices and, from best guesstimates, they are eager to find what they're looking for in a location-based mindset.
We'll have to look at new ways to get them not only the best search result on a mobile device, but the right result for where they are - not just what they asked for.
In a mobile environment it's not about the best results - it's about the only result. We don't want choices in that situation. We want the right answer right now.
Mobile search was discussed in Eric McCabe's article - Search Insider: The Emergence of Mobile Search And Its Impact on Advertising this past Wednesday. And what McCabe editorializes is spot on:
"For today's consumers, mobile devices are more than cell phones or PDAs. Like clothes, hairstyles, and cars, they define the user's identity. Listen to the range of ringtones people choose to alert them to the identity of a caller, and you will see the essential role these devices play in daily life. It's natural that search, an application that helps me find 'just what I was looking for,' will be the next big thing to happen in the world of mobile devices."
It's a tall order and may seem like a dream of what's to come. In truth, we'll all reflect on this in less than a few years and, like when Google took off, we'll wonder how we lived without it.
As a Marketer, I try to reframe the entire context of mobile by letting people know that it is no longer a phone. It is your personal remote control, and the ability to call someone and communicate by voice is one of many functionalities. And, it's not even close the coolest one.