by Carey Finn (@carey_finn) Paula Hulley, Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa (IAB SA) CEO, shares her thoughts on what we need to do to meet the future of marketing and advertising, now.

Q5: How do you think consumers’ relationships with digital advertising will evolve in the coming years?
Paula Hulley:
Consumers will expect and demand more transparency [when it comes to] a brand’s intention to engage, including the requirement and use of our data to do so. Consumers will also expect brands, products and services to engage them in a more-meaningful and -relevant way, making it as easy as possible for the consumer to get what they want, when they want it. The trade-off (value exchange — ie I will let you have access to my photo data for access to your free messaging network, or I will let you have access to my geolocation data to serve me relevant restaurants in my area) between these two requirements will be key. The power should ultimately lie in the hands of the consumer through a transparent and a choice-based user experience.

Q5: What differences will we see in social media advertising once the new Advertising Code of Practice Social Media guidelines come into play?
The main aim of the code, led by the Advertising Regulatory Board in collaboration with IAB SA and consulted on with the industry over the last six months, is to protect the consumer by encouraging brands to exercise ethical constraints on all paid social-media channels. We will see more transparency in this space, as exercised in other media and marketing channels.

Q5: How do you see the monetisation of digital media shifting in the next 5–10 years?
The Direct Brand Economy* is already creating shifts [regarding] monetisation models in the media and marketing industry, and, as digital further integrates into the centre of our functional lives, our ability to share information and opportunity to increase access to audiences will shift. This, combined with the mobility of digital, allows us to share information in a way that suits the individual’s current context at a given time (voice/audio while on public transport; video while on an iPad on an airplane; USSD while ordering data offline etc). How we create value for the consumer in a transparent and relevant way that makes their lives easier and more meaningful will be the job at hand for a brand to ensure they are the one that a customer chooses to search for, selects on USSD or demands from their voice-assisted automated car. [Join] us at our IAB 2019 Summit [on 30 May 2019] to hear more about the new [now] and transformation in the digital economy.

Q5: We understand you’re passionate about education. What do you think every person in adland could benefit from learning?
If I had to select one thing that adland can continue to develop, it’s to problem-solve in an open-source, commercially AND creatively driven culture. This requires a transparent and ego-free zone to collaborate with competitors and outside industry experts to create solutions that scale. It involves using our creative thinking process to first define the real problem we need to solve, which often requires a different team and skillset to the team that solves the problem. Mentors in the industry are key to supporting this learning curve. Find a mentor. Be a mentor.

There are some incredible education partners and courses available in South Africa, both off- and online to upskill the vital knowledge required to succeed in our industry — especially as the media and marketing industry further integrates into the digital economy and the daily lives of everyone around us. [Check] out IAB Learning or attend our IAB Insight Sessions each month in partnership with 2U and GetSmarter.

Q5: Let’s flip the above: what do you think everyone outside of adland could benefit from learning, about its workings?
Creativity and the ability to collaborate are key to having and developing relevant and meaningful problem-solving skills. Our industry’s creative ability to problem-solve in an open source, commercial and creative culture, and management across multiple moving parts and cross-business integration (sales, marketing, product development, data, communication), requires the diversity of skills very much needed in a digital economy — an economy that requires humans to develop a very specific set of skills and way of thinking to stay relevant and employed, alongside developing a thriving economy to live in. As the digital economy expands and global problem-solving is required more and more, all industries can benefit from these skills.

*Hulley notes: Direct brands connect and commercially engage with their customers directly — digital platforms are at the core of both their operations and their communications. They typically create value through low-barrier, capital-flexible, leased or rented supply chains, with value extraction accomplished primarily through these direct relationships — think Glossier, UCook, One Dollar Shave Club bought recently by Unilever.


Carey FinnCarey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with a decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to, her new regular column “Q5” aims to hone in on strategic insights, analysis and data through punchy interviews with experts in media, marketing and design.

— One subscription form, three newsletters: sign up now for the MarkLives newsletter, including Ramify headlines; The Interlocker, our new monthly comms-focused mailer; and Brands & Branding, launching soon!

Online CPD Courses Psychology Online CPD Courses Marketing analytics software Marketing analytics software for small business Business management software Business accounting software Gearbox repair company Makeup artist