Complex. Immature. But, oh, the possibilities are endless. The way many parents talk about their children is the same way that marketing executives talk about mobile advertising.

The current and future state of mobile advertising was the subject of a one-day forum earlier this week presented by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Mobile technology, while all the rage among consumers, is for marketers still considered very much in the nascent stage. Questions abound regarding CPMs, measurement tools and whether telephone companies will join together to create standards for mobile advertising (don’t hold your breath). And the “real estate” on cell phones is tiny, making ad sales on cell phones even more problematic.

Nonetheless, mobile advertising is starting to garner a bigger share of media spending. “Marketers are discarding old ways of doing business and finding new processing and relationship standards that will make them more comfortable” with mobile advertising, said Randall Rothenberg, president-CEO of IAB. Right now, Rothenberg said, major marketers typically devote about $500,000 to $750,000 of product/service budget to mobile advertising (as opposed to much bigger dollars devoted to branding). “That’s still small relative to classic consumer-brand marketing,” but the dollars targeting mobile advertising are bound to grow as the market matures, Rothenberg added.

John Burbank, chief marketing officer of The Nielsen Co., who spoke on a panel about mobile analytics, said: “As soon as the eco-system [of mobile] delivers more valuable stuff, people will pay for additional services…and the stuff that’s most interesting (read: non-voice tools) is the least mature.” He added: “It’s not just carriers, publishers or advertisers, but the entire eco-system working together.”

I was able to gather some more intelligence from various players with an interest in the development of mobile marketing. In order, I spoke with Rich Begert, president-CEO of SinglePoint, which is a conduit between advertisers and networks that are targeting mobile users; Jeffrey Litvack, global director of new media markets for AP Digital, who talked about the AP’s recently launched Mobile News Network and Evan Neufeld, VP-analyst at comScore, who addressed trends in mobile analytics. (Neufeld was previously VP-analyst at M:Metrics, which was acquired by comScore in May, so he knows his was around the digital landscape.)