Use tools and rules to navigate city

Your cover story about Marketing’s Wild West, which was positioned as a warning to advertisers and highlighted transgressions by Party Poker and 888, looks straight out of 2005, following the broadcast of a certain edition of Panorama.

That was certainly the catalyst for self-regulation through the Internet Advertising Sales House (IASH). And no sector has done more to protect online advertisers than networks and sales houses, through its Code of Conduct.

For the Internet Advertising Bureau, the key quote in the Marketing Week article comes from Gareth Holmes of PubMatic, who says: ‘The internet is more like a city than the Wild West. You enter with the best intentions but can mistakenly take wrong turns.”

Holmes is a participant of the Digital Trading Standards Group, the post-IASH cross-industry group that is working with ABC on the new code for this new world.

As he says in the article, when it comes to inventory “if it’s cheaper than it should be, there’s a reason”. we’ve seen evidence of under-1p cost per thousand. Just as in the offline world, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

The Digital Trading Standards Group code is in place and endorsed by the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards.

We implore online marketers to insist their agency’s full display supply chain is properly engaged in the brand safety process. They’ll have the full backing of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

The internet is not the Wild West, but there are tools and rules to help you avoid the darker streets of the Big City.

Guy Phillipson, CEO, Internet Advertising Bureau

Tablets will take online commerce to the next level…

It was hardly surprising to read that f-trading is not likely to be effective among students (MWlinks.co.uk/studentsftrading). Facebook is a place for young people to communicate with their friends and share things that are of interest to them, not shop.

Of course it acts as a valuable channel for brands to build affinity with consumers, but this can only be done in a non-intrusive manner, otherwise the audience will simply switch off.

While Marketing Week was right to highlight the strong possibilities of m-commerce, which is emerging as the key player in generating sales for brands, your report failed to cite the tablet as transforming the shopper-seller relationship as we know it.

There is no sign of m- and t-commerce abating either, so it’s essential that brands adapt their strategy with these devices in mind and work backwards from there.

Peter Veash, managing director, The BIO Agency

…But only if brands apply their social media insights

The impact of social networks on purchasing decisions is something that many marketers are still trying to understand.

Our Global Perspectives research found that a third of people only interact with brands on Facebook when they have a customer service issue that they want addressed.

Ultimately, many consumers use Facebook and other social media because they want to interact with friends. This means that the content a brand shares on these channels must reinforce these interactions, and provide reasons for consumers to share the content without interrupting their experience.

Apps and advertising that understand this are far more likely to be successful. The challenge for brands is applying these insights in a way that will support the business objectives.

Jill Brittlebank, head of strategic services, e-Dialog International

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus

The differences in the way men and women shop and research their purchases is most apparent when you observe mothers (MWlinks.co.uk/facebookgender).

Our work with this group of consumers shows that they rely heavily on the opinions of friends and peers both on and offline. They seek practical as well as emotional advice on issues such as parenting, food and health as well as guidance on big-ticket purchases and everyday items.

The rise of Mumsnet and other mum-orientated discussion forums are a perfect reflection of this desire to connect with like-minded people who can share their experience and potentially provide a steer.

The male-dominated environments of car or guitar amp forums (yes, they exist!) present a very different face to that of Mumsnet and other forums that are aimed at women.

In their quest for solutions, men keep it practical, focused and relatively unemotional. That’s not to say they are not capable of spending as much time online as women. It’s just that the sources of information they tend to look for and how they interact with them are different.

Men tend to be great users of how-to videos – maybe because they are so much better than asking someone else – and can spend hours on a car configurator building their dream model.

There’s nothing sexist about any of this. Men and women are fundamentally different in how they go about seeking information and brands would be well advised to take this on board.

Sarah Druce, creative director, MARSY&R

Online in store is future of the high street

Marks & Spencer’s decision to install digital tools in its stores (MWlinks.co.uk/msdigital) highlights a serious issue for high street retailers, namely how to integrate online operations into their bricks and mortar business.

While retailers have been quick to realise the potential of offering online services, they have often been reluctant to bring them closer to in-store operations for fear of cannibalising revenues and damaging footfall.

It’s a valid concern, but an unnecessary one, providing on and offline services complement rather than compete with each other. By creating this hybrid of in-store and digital practices, retailers can deliver a unified brand experience without taking revenues from elsewhere in their business.

The amount of data available to retailers means that geolocation-based offers – where customers are enticed into stores with just-in-time deals – are becoming a reality. Once in the store, customers can use their own mobile device to scan barcodes and QR codes on items in order to view detailed product information, use augmented reality to visualise themselves in a garment and get recommendations for other similar items, based on the purchasing patterns of other shoppers – both on and offline.

Overall, retailers need to think about online as a means to deliver even more value to customers when they walk through their doors

Jamie Brighton, product marketing manager EMEA, Adobe

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