Marketing’s economic worth needs nurturing

I applaud the Advertising Association and Deloitte’s effort to prove the value of the industry to the UK economy.

But what’s important here is not congratulating ourselves on a job well done and celebrating some positive press for a change. Rather, it is a chance to highlight that the industry needs ongoing support from the Government to continue our contribution.

These days marketing communications is not simply about creating funny 30-second TV ads, though in some ways how the industry is perceived is still shaped by that. Today, it’s about consumer creativity in a far broader sense: insight, strategic thinking, channel management, digital, social, data, effectiveness and efficient global and regional delivery. The UK leads the world but this requires continuous innovation and investment.

When you add the industry’s spirit of innovation to our geographical position, our native English language, the natural entrepreneurship that exists within the UK, and the hugely powerful global reputation we enjoy across all creative industries, it results in making advertising a powerful and thriving segment of the economy. The advertising industry is not just about marketing British brands to British consumers but the production of global marketing solutions for global brands, meaning massive investment into the UK and the export of our expertise around the world. With the right business environment and support, that trend will continue.

In my experience, the UK is seen as a world leader in marketing communications. But without adequate support for the UK advertising industry, we will lose this status and the huge economic benefits it brings, just as we have in other once crucial sectors to the economy. We rest on our laurels at our peril.

Chris Hirst, chief executive, Grey London

We must continue to enrich our digital capability

Advertising is successful because of the increasing number of ways it can positively impact and shape our culture.

The evolving digital landscape and adoption of new technology by advertisers is now enabling brands to re-engineer how they approach audience engagement for longer term reputational value. We have entered an era where advertisers need to flip from traditional thinking to centralising their approach around consumer behaviours on each platform, using rich data streams to connect the analogue and digital world. Advertising in 2013 is more of a value exchange, inviting consumers to shape their content experiences.

The plethora of digital interactions are changing consumer behaviour, which means the media mix needs to be treated differently and the industry must rethink how to measure the success of digital advertising. The bottom line is that digital advertising is not just a standalone promotion tool but an essential one for driving and increasing effectiveness of other marketing.

Andy Hart, general manager, Microsoft Advertising & Online UK

Siloed digital is divorced from reality

The calling for the drop of ‘digital’ is certainly a consideration authorities from all walks of the marketing mix should consider.

Every marketer’s approach needs to be as flexible as the on-the-go consumer with a simple but effective marketing strategy that complements every platform, rather than focusing on the nitty-gritty of one in particular.

The jump from marketing on screen to screen needs to be as seamless as a consumer moving from mobile to tablet to TV. At the moment, this can be a very cumbersome process.

The separate marketing budgets being poured into individual channels is simply, as the article suggests, counter-intuitive because they are providing a stilted customer experience – exactly what every brand strives to avoid.

It might seem an uphill struggle for brands to overhaul their marketing strategy but it is really a very simple step. If brands move away from the current fragmented practice of using a multitude of platforms to run campaigns on different screens and instead use one platform to organise all of the elements, the strategy becomes simple and the customer, satisfied.

Gustav Mellentin, chief executive, Adform

Dissonance in HMV’s grasp of Twitter

Regarding the news of HMV staff using its official Twitter feed to communicate job losses, let’s hope its buyer has a stringent digital strategy in place. A brand as recognisable and as large as HMV shouldn’t be getting blind-sided by employees on the internet, even if they are set to be made redundant.

We are talking about one of the largest high street brands here and this has seriously put a black mark against its social media know-how. It’s been noted that its senior marketing management were asking how to close down their own Twitter account. It’s clear that too many people along the chain got hold of the Twitter account details and exploited HMV’s vulnerable position.

But by shutting the Twitter account HMV has made for a poor and ill-advised PR move. What people will appreciate now is honesty and transparency.

Jason Woodford, chief executive, SiteVisibility

Social media is gateway to m-engagement

One way to achieve a consolidated strategy that includes mobile is to use existing social media identities to make brand engagement easier for the consumer and provide the brand with a single customer view.

Most sites require a login to provide an engaging experience but one of the biggest barriers to achieving this on mobile is asking users to register by entering details on small touchscreens or tiny keyboards. Enabling users to register via an existing social identity will make registration a simple push of a button.

Russell Loarridge, European sales director, Janrain

Affiliates can help with the digital dilemma

Reading ‘Google offers retailers solutions to avoid closure’ it’s clear that retailers are at an uneasy crossroads. Either they adapt or end up in the retail graveyard. But then they have the headache of opening up the opportunity for customers to shop elsewhere online.

One option for growing online revenue is affiliate programmes where stores are rewarded even if the product is bought elsewhere. A great example of this working successfully is the social platform, ‘The Fancy’.

Through schemes like this and by using location trackers, retailers can find out when customers are in-store viewing products but purchasing elsewhere and then ultimately be rewarded for interest.

We’ve recently seen some big names end up in the high street scrap yard. To avoid joining them, retailers need to be creative with new technology to drive sales and stay ahead of the game.

Peter Veash, chief executive, The BIO Agency

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