As part of an in-depth look into the performance marketing industry The Drum caught up with some of the UK's leading performance marketing agencies including - 7thingsmedia, A4u, affilinet, Performance Horizon Group, ValueClick Media and Webgains UK.
How can performance continue to innovate?David McDermott, performance director, 7thingsmediaPerformance marketing is continually innovating; whether this is quantifying the value of the partnership or developing new ways to reach consumers. Technology is ultimately driving innovation and, as consumers, our media consumption is continuing to fragment with new ways to experience media. Therefore innovation will continually develop to reach these new audiences – remember the App (iOS) store is only four years old and this has spawned thousands of innovative approaches; the key is not innovation but to find a way to link everything together.Chris Johnson, content director, A4uThere are more opportunities to influence the customer journey across the many channels within performance marketing than ever before, and naturally there are companies filling these gaps with technology solutions. We’re at a stage where commerce is becoming more agile on a daily basis. More mobile sales, more agile-driven offline sales (rewarded with CPA) and more analysis of data to increase personalisation are just a few avenues that performance marketing is innovating on year-on-year, and I don’t see that changing over the foreseeable future.Gary Bicker,managing director, affilinetI think the very nature of the performance industry attracts innovative people and businesses, which is what makes it such an exciting space to work in. Naturally networks, publishers and new players in the market will continue to innovate with technology, however I think the most interesting innovation to come will be in the way that we work. This will largely be driven by the use of data to create insights in order to ultimately drive valuable sales and acquire new customers. As alluded to earlier in the article this will require a degree of industry collaboration.Matt Bailey, commercial director, Performance Horizon GroupPerformance marketing will continue to evolve, that is not what we need to worry about. New marketing models will invariably gravitate to performance as it’s an easy way of getting a foot in the door with brands. The challenge for me lies in examining data to get a full understanding of how to cope with new models, integrate them with existing ones and make full sense of it for brands.Richard Sharp, UK MD, ValueClick MediaThe three strands upon which performance marketing is built are technology, data and service. Data is very much at the core of what we do and I see some of the biggest innovations over the coming year and beyond being in this field. The performance marketing sector is constantly changing, with new technology such as augmented reality and geo-targeting, and with platforms continuing to innovate and provide new areas for affiliate to move into, this is an incredibly exciting time to enhance performance marketing returns. As publishers become bigger, they are investing more into the research and development of their platforms to maximise their ROI, and ensure they are growing with the market. But experience and know-how is much under-rated in our industry. Businesses that focus purely on automation may find they lose out.Stephen Kerin, managing director, Webgains UKThe performance marketing model is inherently innovative in as much as it is driven by a network of affiliates each finding their own solutions to the challenges of the market. Many of these affiliates are specialists and can do a great deal to advance a brand’s strategy in different areas, including paid search, mobile, retargeting, remarketing and social media. Every year is heralded as the year of the mobile, and while we’re perhaps tired of hearing this, there is in fact, more truth in that statement each year. The role of mobile and tablets will become more significant, and we’ll no doubt see a huge increase in the number of actual sales taking place on mobile devices. This opens up a wealth of opportunities for publishers to innovate and it’s important that they embrace this.This question was asked as part of a performance supplement with the 14 December issue of The Drum.