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WFA's Stephen Loerke: "We have barely scratched the surface of what is possible in Africa" / Dan Brain, dmg Events
Stephan Loerke, WFA's Managing Director explains the African
opportunity, programmatic progress and why Chinese regulators are more tuned-in
to realising the benefits of advertising.
With a General Election taking place in the UK this spring, what is your take on the current regulatory situation in Europe?
We need better recognition from European Governments on the benefits of marketing to the economy and society. Much of the regulatory focus here in Europe is on limiting the risks of advertising to consumers and built on a framework that shows a lack of understanding of the sector.
We are campaigning to ensure that Governments and regulatory authorities take a more proactive approach in helping brands to expand consumer choice and generate wealth.
This situation is in contrast to some global players like China where the where the Government is more supportive and committed to facilitating the development of successful global brands.
WFA@wfamarketerspublished its White Paper on programmatic last autumn. How do you expect the market to develop in the coming year?
Programmatic continues to excite and exacerbate global advertisers in equal measure. 90% of our members are using it but the industry is still held back over concerns like transparency, conflicts of interest and complexity in the value chain.
We published our White Paper to stimulate debate and properly engage stakeholders such as agencies and technology providers. Over the coming months, we will seek further dialogue and input from other important programmatic players such as media owners.
Uptake of hybrid forms will gain more prominence, rapid growth in the adoption of in-house trading desks will provide revealing insight and agencies will re-define their offer over time.
The transparency issue will rumble on as we work towards a cross-industry solution but we remain committed to supporting our members on their programmatic journey and helping them to capitalise on the enthusiasm to realise a new era of targeted and efficient marketing.
Aside from programmatic, what other issues are defining the global brand agenda right now?
Data continues to be a key concern as global brands get-to-grips with the in-house requirements of a data-driven marketing environment and privacy concerns. Our members are prioritising the challenges of gathering data effectively and ethically, and using it to disseminate stories in more engaging ways.
Procurement is also high on the list of priorities as global brands look for more mature and fit-for-purpose procurement models that reflect the changing media and consumer landscape.
WFA’s Global Marketer Conference will take place in Africa for the first time this month. Why have you decided to take the event to Marrakech and what can visitors expect?
Brands are excited by the growth potential of Africa and bullish on advertising spend predictions in the short, mid and long-term. Trends such as the emerging middle class reveal a fantastic opportunity for regional and international brands alike and we want to assist them in achieving their ambitions on the continent.
Global Marketer Week is part of our strategy to champion the local agenda, promote best practice across geographies and establish cross-border ethical standards. Building on the success of last year’s event in Sydney, we’ll be dissecting the brand marketing equation, tackling big issues and building networks.
Africa is an exciting continent where innovation is driven by necessity and this leads to some great creativity. We’ll be examining how brands can leverage creativity with contributions from people like AKQA Co-Founder Ajaz Ahmed and the role of mobile in growth markets with insights from Airtel. Global brand leaders from the likes L’Oreal, Lego and Barclays will present their vision, but we’ll also be looking at some of the lessons to be learned from success stories emerging from Africa.
Expect a lively mix of content and networking at a series of unique and inspiring venues at a time when we have barely scratched the surface of what is possible in Africa.