Stop playing tablet design by the book

Steve Hemsley’s feature ‘Looking for a visual feast in the tablet experience’, brings to the fore the growing importance of tailoring the design of websites and apps for each of the different devices available.

Tablets are indeed set to be a “device of choice” for a very large number of consumers. Our estimates at TMW, looking at rates of growth and device launches and prices, suggest that around 30 per cent of the population will own a tablet by this time next year (not including basic e-readers).

This usage will bring a major opportunity for brands to break free from the outdated design and interaction conventions that can be traced back to medieval manuscripts. The advance of capable browsers, fast native apps and touchscreens allows user experience and design professionals to develop new ways of providing intuitive touch and gesture-based interfaces that are not looking over their shoulder at books, notepads or mice.

At the moment, perhaps the best that we can hope for is the client budget to make “clicky mouse” sites work passably well on touch devices, but as their popularity grows we’ll hopefully see creative thinking that starts with “How can we make this content shine on these devices?” rather than “Let’s make these web pages swipe-able!”

Douglas McDonald, director of mobile & connected consumer, TMW

Energy firms must embrace midata to generate trust

Chris Combemale is correct when he says companies need to use the Government’s new midata initiative to meet customer demand for ‘a greater exchange of data’.

Consumers want services that focus on their needs, and this is an opportunity for the retail, mobile and energy sectors to use this value exchange of data to enhance customer experience.

While energy providers such as Scottish Power and British Gas already provide information electronically to their customers, midata is a solid platform on which to accelerate the process of brands becoming more open with customers about the data they hold.

If brands can incorporate an open data initiative in order to deliver better customer experiences, they will see results in both sales and brand loyalty. 

Mike Fisher, chief futurist, Indicia

Guardian’s ad plan could be a boon to content

Lara O’Reilly’s comment that digital advertisers could soon be publishers’ only source of revenue ‘Newspapers finally living up to digital first aspirations’, highlights one of the biggest problems facing the industry as we move from print to digital.

The perception that people do not want to pay for content online is holding back and potentially devaluing online content; for one reason – there is no such thing as “quality” free content. 

For too long, the industry has been trying to cling on to the old paradigm of ad sales and circulation, but this way of financing “quality” content has been faltering. Of course, the upside of this is the more innovative publishers and brands have been forced to think up different funding models.

As a result, we have seen a number of these springing up across the industry – from the high volume and engaging “freemium” content models of publications such as Stylist and Shortlist, to the approach of brands like Coca-Cola or Asos that invest in content to promote brand awareness, consumer engagement and ultimately sales uplift.

The Guardian’s recent announcement that it plans to shake up its online advertising model to allow different ads to be targeted at different segments of the publication’s audience at different times of day, and even across different devices, is a real indication that the publisher is starting to live its web-first aspirations.

Web and mobile-based publications offer inherently measurable and powerful ways for publishers to divide up and target their audiences, and this can be a strong proposition for advertisers; much more so than just offering them the traditional half, quarter or full-page ad spaces in their printed magazines.

If publishers such as Guardian News & Media can find a way to prove their value, then everyone from brands to the consumer stand to benefit as we will avoid being overrun by a tide of mediocre content.

Mark Inskip, managing director, Europe, Group FMG

Digital outdoor to be brands’ gold standard

The development of digital outdoor and its potential for engaging audiences ‘Olympics show digital screen making its mark’, marks it out as one of the first true hybrid integrated media. I firmly believe as it develops and more digital screens are installed across the UK, it is going to become the interactive lynchpin behind brand activity, continually engaging across all media channels.

Brands need to ensure, however, that their enthusiasm for it does not mean out-of-home returns to its mass, untargeted nature. Its true power lies in personal connection before mass communication. I think the Marmite Christmas campaign is an example of how to do it right. By fusing social media and digital outdoor, Marmite not only gets its brand message across on one of the busiest shopping streets in the UK, but also through its online fanbase.

Essentially, harnessing the new evolution of digital out-of-home comes down to knowing your audience and ensuring your digital outdoor campaign is extremely tailored to them.

Samantha Sida, co-founder, Limited Space

Royal Mail has exposed our shortcomings

Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene revealed that almost half of all deliveries now consist of direct marketing, or “junk mail”.

Greater delivery volumes may be good news for Royal Mail, but it can only mean there is a growing pile of unwanted marketing landing on the nation’s doorstep.

Wastage has always been an issue in direct marketing but it is being tolerated less now that budgets are being squeezed and return on investment is high on the corporate agenda. 

Even online, where data enables marketers to identify audiences for campaigns, I still see ‘Royal Mail’ type scenarios occurring. But with technology, marketers need never send an untargeted message again. 

Dominic Trigg, managing director for Europe, Rocket Fuel


David Pemsel

Q&A with The Guardian’s CCO David Pemsel

Lara O'Reilly

Former ITV marketing director David Pemsel took the reins as the Guardian News and Media’s chief commercial officer in September this year as the company looked to consolidate its commercial and marketing leadership.


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