Retail brands must tap into popularity of mobile shopping…

There are now more than 7.5 million consumers who use a retail app on their phone on a weekly basis – the equivalent of almost one in six shoppers. This not only signals the importance of mobile channels but also suggests a significant shift in the way we shop.

With this in mind, the time has come for major retailers to develop apps that allow consumers to shop as well as research their products on the move. Those that don’t risk being left behind at the expense of their competitors.

There are a few key things, however, that retailers should bear in mind. First, they must consider what operating system to launch their app on. Different systems attract different types of customers and retailers must develop the platforms that best reflect their target market. For example, BlackBerry has a young and female base that would suit some retailers but not others.

But this is a two-way process, and operating systems like iOS and Android must also act to attract retailers to invest in their platform. With 90% of Apple’s users satisfied with its app store, it is important for Apple’s competitors to attract new retail apps onto their devices to stay competitive.

It is not just retail apps that are becoming more popular with consumers – 50% of smartphone owners use games apps on a weekly basis and 33% use banking/finance apps – showing the enormous opportunities to be gained from mobile marketing.

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

Search is integral part of your marketing activity

Perhaps one of the unforeseen outcomes from Google’s Panda and Penguin updates is that search specialists will have to remove their earphones and emerge blinking from their screens to talk to the rest of the marketing department.

Search was traditionally a technical specialism but today it demands creativity and a host of soft people skills. Search is sexy, based on combining great sites with exciting content and connecting with influencers. It is a discipline of creativity, people and reputation management. Search experts are now digital asset managers that manage a brand’s online reputation.

For search to be truly effective, it must be an integral part of all marketing activity and weave around all elements of a campaign to ensure that it drives traffic to the brand or product.

Reputation management will increasingly fall to a search remit as consumer sentiment will impact search rank negatively or positively. This will require integration with customer service, social media and PR teams.

Our industry requires a new breed of search specialists and data analysts that understand data but get excited by creative ideas, engage with social channels and can talk PR. These chameleon SEOs will be the sexiest people in marketing.

Stu Owens, head of digital marketing, Bloom Agency

Promotions must embrace feelgood factor

Kinder Bueno’s sponsorship of London Fashion Week clearly demonstrates the scope and power of on-pack promotions when they incorporate a feelgood factor.

The latest Mars Sweet Sundays promotion also focuses on the feelgood factor – from both the product and incentive perspective – and is effective because a trip to the cinema creates positive connotations for the consumer, as does a link to buying clothes.

The crucial goal is to engage with the consumer. Matching the brand and being relevant is key. In essence, the partnership must make sense.

It doesn’t matter what item you want to promote, if it’s linked to a feelgood experience it adds strong appeal to any product – making the consumer more likely to bite.

David Pearson, director, Filmology

Recognise the true value of our affiliates

For far too long, the affiliate marketing industry has allowed its reputation to be tarnished by rogue marketers, as well as compliance and accountability issues. These have diminished the industry’s value in the eyes of brands and advertisers.

In the US, the Performance Marketing Association has done an admirable job in advocating on behalf of affiliate marketers and it is encouraging to see the IAB take up the mantle for UK affiliate marketers.

It is only through coordinated and sustained efforts that the true value of affiliate marketing will be recognised by brands, marketers and advertisers.

Keith Trivitt, marketing and communications director, MediaWhiz

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