All power to the hashtag

It’s very powerful for brands to keep on top of what is ‘relevant’ at a particular time for a consumer, and personalised, dynamic marketing is an extension to that conversation ( 

With sight of hot topics and conversations, brands can almost pre-empt how a consumer is feeling and serve marketing messages that are personalised and relevant. 

For example, if we know a young mum is discussing her experience of motherhood or is creating a birthday party for her child, the hashtag really becomes powerful. It can capture users through their ‘emotional’ experiences and provide a more meaningful brand interaction. 

Social media sites have become the largest source of such traffic, and when you open up an opportunity to drive performance-based sales, advertisers will see even more value from these channels.

Rakhee Jogia, director of retargeting services, Rakuten MediaForge

CSR cynicism defused

Your piece on community investment ( highlights that young people are just as concerned and switched on to brands’ CSR and community initiatives as are older shoppers.

Our own research confirms shopper scepticism about brands’ CSR initiatives – 31 per cent say national businesses will never become part of a local community whatever support they give. Yet they also expect brands to be good corporate citizens. 

This puts brands in a tough position – they’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

The solution is to create palpable shared values at the root of CSR initiatives, which transparently show that the brand, as well as the community, benefits. As your own feature points out, this relevance can create a successful platform for brands.

Jamie Matthews, chief executive, Initials Marketing

Don’t mess with the T&Cs

Your story ‘O2 takes centre stage in EE Glasto competition upset’ ( reinforces that you cannot change the T&Cs for a promotion halfway through, unless it is absolutely unavoidable. 

In the EE case, Glastonbury being cancelled would count as absolutely unavoidable; deciding after the promotion launches not to give the 10 prizes to Twitter after all, but split them between Twitter and Facebook, would not. Then getting the T&Cs wrong just makes a bad situation worse. 

The ASA gets frequent complaints about T&Cs changing after prize promotions start; it usually finds that doing so breaks the CAP code because it unfairly disadvantages consumers who have already entered. 

The IPM’s legal advisory service is often asked if promoters can change T&Cs halfway through. We try to stop them doing so. If they absolutely have to be changed, any change must be announced as publicly as possible.

Becky Munday, chairman, Institute of Promotional Marketing

Put people first

I agree with Lou Cooper’s article ( on how marketers need to develop user-centric strategies, but what’s truly surprising about it is that marketers still need to be reminded to put the consumer at the forefront of their strategy.

Marketing technologies can now make shopping online more like visiting a village store. Digital shops are capable of remembering every individual they see and communicating with them about their interests in real-time.

Great marketing platforms help brands to create meaningful, real-time connections with visitors, improving customer experience and sales by bringing the personal approach of the old village store to the digital space. Marketers just need to remember that their job is to market to people, not platforms.

Malcolm Duckett, chief executive, Magiq



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