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9 controversial marketing issues you must address

9 controversial marketing issues you must address John Montgomery

Programmatic is transforming the way we buy media

Programmatic is not just an option anymore, it's an inevitable industry shift that will drastically evolve the way marketers buy media over the next two years. Your process will have to become programmatic to survive. You will need to free up your time to execute more creative marketing tactics and strategies in order to beat the competition. This automation will not -- as some have argued -- rub out the one-to -one contact you currently enjoy with publishers. Rather, it will focus your conversations toward stronger and more innovative marketing initiatives.

The death of the RFP and IO

You will soon say goodbye to the request for proposal and insertion order. With the rise of programmatic replacing manual negotiations, you will no longer have to spend countless hours filling out and bouncing around an Excel spreadsheet only to gain a small amount of viewable impressions and clicks at the end of the day. If your agency isn't preparing (or trailblazing) the future where these methods will be outdated, you're already falling behind. How much more of your career do you still plan to waste on manual processes?

Measurement based off viewable impressions

Wouldn't it be great if marketers only needed to pay for the impressions that consumers actually saw? It's a concept that's gaining popularity in the agency world, and publishers may not be able to ignore the cries any more. Companies are working to create technology to measure if ads are actually gaining the attention of consumers. Will webcam eye-tracking technology be the solution? Will marketers only need to pay for over-the-fold impressions? These are questions that will soon be answered and become practice.

In this exclusive interview, John Montgomery, COO of GroupM Interaction, speaks to iMedia about the most transformational marketing issues facing the industry today, and why some of them are so controversial.

Unlimited access to data has created increased industry responsibility

One of the biggest benefits of the modern world is that it has never been easier to collect hg amounts of data and consumer information. Marketers are so overwhelmed by it that they have coined the term "big data" to encompass how they feel about the overload of metrics, insights, and analytics they have access to. Right now marketers are focusing on how they should sort it out and use it. However, there's a bigger ethical argument taking place; when should marketers draw the line?

Whether they want it or not, marketers have a new responsibility to be the guardians of consumer information. You can't just do whatever you want with it. You need locks and safeguards making sure you're in control. This all begins with a company's philosophy on privacy for its customers. Know what it is and take the appropriate steps to be in line.

Convincing consumers to continue to share personal data

Marketers can write up as many terms and conditions as they want, but at the end of the day consumers need to voluntarily provide information for the best target relevant messages. Marketers are not well-liked or well-trusted people in the general public. You need to make an effort – ideally with transparency – to convince your users, site visitors, or customers that it is in their best interest to participate in their own ad serving experience. A free ad-supported internet is the new foundation of the first amendment, and you need to remind your customers that ads are not going away. Be clear and ethical about how you will use personal data, and consumers will continue to help you deliver relevant messages.

Addressing fraud in ad serving

In a world where Google openly admits that almost 10 percent of its Ad Sense ad clicks are fraudulent, it can be assumed that online CTRs and impression data may not be reflective of reality. The hour is growing too late for marketers to accept or ignore that the industry has a big ad fraud problem. So how do we fix it?

Surprisingly, the answer might not be to fix it, but rather to strategize ways that your agency can only pay for impressions and clicks you know to be accurate. Marketers can't afford to be optimists anymore, nor do they need to be skeptical of every impression delivered. Rather, invest in ways that you can track clicks and impressions that are coming from bots and ones that are coming from humans.

John Montgomery, COO of GroupM Interaction continues our conversation by explaining how GroupM Interaction is addressing some of these concerns, and the lessons you can take from its example.

Allowing mobile to reach its potential

Hasn't it felt like the past five years have been "the year of mobile?" It's because in many ways they have been. In fact, you might call this "the decade of mobile," because that's how important it will be for marketers. Imagine if 20 years ago someone told you that you could market right to consumers' own pockets? How excited would you be and how much money would you pour into it? Well, that scenario is now a reality. If you're still kicking mobile down the road with a "we'll get to it eventually" mentality, you are severely behind. Mobile still has much room to grow, so be a part of its evolution, not on the sidelines.

Investments in data technology will be critical

Not every agency is big enough to acquire or hire data technology providers, but you must be making an actual effort to obtain consumer data outside of what you collect by your own means. Your users, visitors, and customers are only a portion of the data potential you could be collecting. New information could help you blow open brand new market segments and increase sales in places you never thought possible. Partner with data technology providers to give your agency the best chance at collecting a sufficient cross section of the marketplace.

You are not immune from the privacy debate

As was mentioned before, the incredible influx of data for marketers to use has forced them into an ethical conversation they need to have with consumers. It's the debate surrounding privacy and how brands can respect it, while at the same time using information for ad tracking. Agencies need to be nimble, so they need to collect new user information all the time. How do we marry the two ideologies?

Create a clear and simple privacy policy for your audience and give them actual control in how they manage their private information (your website will need to be extremely user friendly). Put privacy in the front seat and you will avoid angry customers in the long run. If you pay attention to this issue (and not just pretend to) you will be much better off.

John Montgomery, COO of GroupM Interaction, ends our conversation by talking about the pragmatic internal steps your company (and CEO) can take to inspire the solutions to these pressing marketing challenges.

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John Montgomery is COO of GroupM Interaction in North America. Montgomery joined Ogilvy in 1989 in South Africa as media director, and launched Mindshare in that country. In the final three years he spent in South Africa, he was managing director of...

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