IAB’s public policy manager, Alex Scott: guidance for time-starved marketers

A sheepish shrug or an exasperated sigh often accompany the words “I don’t really know much about law, regulation or even politics”. I can understand why.

Beyond the less than thrilling images of Westminster or Brussels that words such as ‘policy’ or ‘regulations’ inevitably conjure up, grappling with the vast world of policy or regulation can make you wonder where on earth to start.

But when working in digital, or indeed advertising - sectors permanently in the spotlight and under the gaze of governments, regulators and opinion formers - it’s important to stay up to date.

Why? Because it isn’t enough to say, “this is the law and therefore I’m safe”.

When it comes to brand reputation in the digital world, you need to think beyond the law. When it comes to the creative, or ad placement, what are the ramifications of what you’re proposing to do?

That’s not to say that marketers shouldn’t be creative within the rules (just not creative with the rules – if you get me?).

Knowing the boundaries of the law, in the UK, EU and beyond, having an appreciation of public policy and regulatory debates and applying these to business will help you to stay compliant and out of the gaze of politicians and regulators. In itself, this is good business.

At the IAB we appreciate that keeping up with policy when it isn’t your day job is a daunting task. There are over 100 pieces of legislation relating to marketing in the UK alone. And many of these were not drafted with a digital world in mind.

To help marketers get to grips with the rules and policy debates out there, the IAB has worked to produce a regulatory presence across all the separate digital disciplines on our site from affiliate to search, and email to games.

In this century of innovation, it’s important to remember that across different media channels there are different policy considerations. With our guidance, staying up to date needn’t be a chore.

Today the IAB launched its digital policy guide and revamped its site to give more focus on market regulations and policy changes, with the view to helping marketers stay ahead of the continuously evolving digital ad regulation landscape.

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