Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Mark Slade, CEO, Location Sciences

Mark Slade is CEO of  Location Sciences. A true mobile pioneer, he has a career in mobile marketing spanning over 15 years. Previous roles include MD at Opera Mediaworks and he founded and sold one of the earliest mobile advertising businesses 4th Screen Advertising.

Who is your digital hero?

This is a tough one for me and was a toss-up between Jon Mew, CEO, at the IAB or Phil Smith, Director General, at ISBA for the work they are doing at promoting our industry.

As Jon has already been referenced in this series it made the decision simpler! My digital hero is Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA.

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

Phil is leading ISBA at a vital time for our industry. As he said at the ISBA Conference earlier this year, when it comes to trust – both advertising and media sit firmly at the bottom of all industry sectors, including banking!

This lack of trust is not surprising when you consider the opaque element of our industry. In fact, the advertiser-funded ISBA Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study found a staggering 15% ‘unknown delta’ in a $2 billion advertising market.

That’s $300m unaccounted for; what other industry would allow that?  
How has his heroism helped drive digital?

Phil has been leading ISBA through a time that they are making great strides forward in the quest for transparency and trust. Having advertisers leaning forward and looking at this problem is really important and I have been really impressed with the progress that both Phil and ISBA have made in recent years.

I strongly believe we need to regain the trust we have lost, and Phil and ISBA are leading the way as the voice of UK advertisers.

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Unsurprisingly as CEO of a location verification company, the area I feel needs solving is better transparency in location data.

The location of a consumer when they receive an advert can be as important as the content contextually speaking, but millions of pounds are being wasted through poor quality or even fraudulent data.

My hope is the suppliers in this space step up to the hero status needed and finally embrace transparency.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
Not sure I have a heroic achievement, but if pushed, I would say launching 4th Screen Advertising as the first premium mobile advertising network in the UK. We launched in the very early days of mobile advertising and we enabled brands to buy premium mobile app inventory at scale.  

I would like to think that offering a mobile creative service alongside media helped brands to get into mobile much more quickly and easily.  

We also played our part in educating brands and agencies on the power of mobile and of course, we celebrated ‘the year of the mobile’ every year for a decade!