Marketing Technology » Legislation Combining marketing and technology to develop new markets and grow existing ones Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:47:54 +0000 en hourly 1 Obama’s Technology Commitments Wed, 05 Nov 2008 09:08:00 +0000 admin As I write, it appears that Barack Obama will become the first black American President in history – but aside from the colour of his skin, what impact is he likely to have on marketing technology?

Well according to Hill & Knowlton’s experts on the other side of the Atlantic who have been up all night preparing a full report to clients (link to follow), President-elect Obama has already identified three key areas of technology policy that he intends to focus on:

“Open” internet and media
Obama supports network neutrality and will encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media. He favours parental controls over what children see on the Internet and tough penalties for those who abuse it. He also aims to strengthen privacy protections, holding “government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy”. ISPs and online media take note.

Modern communications infrastructure
Obama wants to bring “true broadband” to every community in America, planning to better use the nation’s wireless spectrum and promote next-generation facilities, technologies and applications. This is sure to present opportunities for technology hardware, software and service companies.

Technology in government
Obama has stated a commitment to creating a transparent and connected democracy, using technology to “reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens”. To deliver this, he will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer, who is sure to have a substantial budget and need help from technology providers and e-government consultants.

Will we see the promised change any time soon? I very much doubt that. The biggest change is likely to be fewer blog and Twitter posts talking about the election!

But if Obama is to be believed, technology is going to play a key role in his administration and marketers in all sectors – and technology companies in particular – need to pay close attention to his every move.

If you’d like to receive a copy of the full report produced by our team, please drop me a note with your name, job title, company and email and I’ll pass your details on to them.

UPDATE 6 November: Duncan Burns has written a more in-depth analysis on the new Tech & The District Collective Conversation blog.

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Restrictions on Commercial Communications Take Force in May Tue, 15 Apr 2008 16:01:00 +0000 admin ‘Seeders’ and buzz marketers beware. Next month sees the introduction of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act in the UK.

Under the legislation, which comes into force on 26 May 2008, strict regulations will be placed on commercial communications. One particular clause will make the following a criminal offence:

Falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for the purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely representing oneself as a consumer.

According to the IPA, this will catch marketing activities such as:

  • seeding positive messages about a brand in a blog without stating that the message has been created by or on behalf of the brand;
  • using buzz marketing specialists to communicate with consumers in social situations without disclosing they are acting for the brand;
  • seeding viral ads on the internet that implies you are a simple [sic] member of the public.

The social media naysayers are already out proclaiming this as the death of blogger relations, but they obviously haven’t read it properly. The Act is designed to protect consumers from those who do not disclose their true identity (such as hiding behind a pseudonym), not marketers who are transparent and honest about their motives behind building online relationships.

So most PR agencies will have nothing to worry about (I can’t speak for the advertising agencies) as long as they follow some of the de facto guidance abundant online.

I think it does illustrate the compromise that marketers have to make though. If – as a consumer – I genuinely recommend a product that happens to be my client, am I really not allowed to tell people? If not, isn’t that an infringement of my human rights?

My main criticism of this legislation is therefore that it will have no effect because it is going to be impossible to police (or prove guilt), which is a shame.

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