Yes. You need to be in the mobile game.

Why mobile?

Well, that’s easy. 40% (and rising) of Americans have a smart phone. 20% have a tablet. These are the young and the affluent, people you want as your customers or very shortly will be.

Adoption rates lead us to expect that at least 80% of Americans and Western Europeans will have either a smart phone or tablet in the next three to five years (and half of them will have both).

Doctors will be living on tablets in the next 12-18 months (and right now, most assume they’ll want an iPad, though that was before Amazon’s announcement).

Tablet users buy more, buy more often, and generally don’t see their device as a work-tool, but as a personal tool (HCPs are a notable exception here as they are one of the fastest-adopting professional sectors for tablets). This is where you want to reach your customers, not in between meetings and appointments, but when they are on their own time, thinking about themselves and their family.

Clearly the audience is almost there. And when they are there, they will be ready to listen to your message, provided you present it in an appropriate fashion.

What does it mean to be in mobile?

The key to be successful in mobile is to embrace the idea that mobile shouldn’t be a silo of your existing content strategy, but should become the core of your content strategy.

For the last ten years, you’ve probably been building a patchwork quilt of content. It started with a web page that was pretty much a label and a logo, but then you added more content like testimonials and videos. Then you added an HCP site. Then you thought about adding a blog. Maybe somewhere in there, you redesigned because you realized that your design didn’t handle all the new content you built. Then you added a YouTube channel and more tools like sample requests and method of action eDetails. You had to build some microsites because you had some new messaging and you didn’t want to interfere with the existing site, Now, you’re spending a lot of time thinking about adding social media. Um, that’s a lot.

Did you ever have that moment when you said, “if I had a blank sheet of paper, this is how I’d do it right?” Mobile is that moment.

Because mobile isn’t another add-on, it’s a paradigm shift. You shouldn’t be thinking “I need a gimmick that’s mobile-friendly” because thats just another silo. Instead, you should be thinking, “how do I get everything from all of our web presences onto mobile.”

Any plans for mobile should have as it’s goal “everything we’d ever want on the web site should be mobile-ready.” So anything that goes on your web site should be able to go on the mobile site. The smart play is to think about it in reverse: if it fits on mobile, it will fit on the web site.

So you need to start thinking about how to make everything mobile-ready. Not long ago (and by that, I mean last week) you really only had to make a simple decision: app or web? If you went for app, you started on either iOS or Android and then completed the other once the first one was done.

But the waters have been muddied by Amazon’s announcement. With web tablets that only cost $200 (the cost of an iPhone if you sign a 2-year contract), a whole new population is about to emerge. While the Fire runs a version of Android, it’s a completely forked version (meaning, Google isn’t updating it) so it might share lineage with Android, but it really is it’s own creature. And since we don’t know about how well it handles apps (I mean, it will have to have apps, but we don’t know how Amazon will be selling or distributing them: through an open marketplace like Google, or through a more managed system like iTunes), we have to treat it separately.

So instead of having to develop for three separate app platforms, maybe the Fire is the tipping point to getting people to focus less on apps and more on the mobile web. Suddenly, the economics of “build twice for apps or once for web” has changed to “built three times for apps or once for web” and I can guarantee more and more people will stop making apps in favor of a web-based tool.

Consider this a do-over. A mulligan, if you will. Take all the lessons we’ve all learned over the last fifteen years of being online and start clean with a new mobile platform and build. Make all your content mobile-friendly and port it out to the website.

Start fresh. Do it right. Now is the time.