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Performance Marketing Awards - Judges’ Insight

Performance Marketing Awards - Judges’ Insight

As new dresses are bought, tuxes ordered and excitement builds around the upcoming Performance Marketing Awards (PMA), A4u caught up with four returning judges to get their insights into the calibre of this year’s entries, the professionalism of the industry, and more.

Tougher competition, trends in submissions, the fast-spinning world of mobile and a maturing industry, are among the topics raised by four of the judges that helped decide the winners of this year’s PMA.

In the Q&A, Maureen McDonagh; e-commerce director at Nectar, Jon Myers; commercial director (EMEA) at Marin Software, Caroline Mulvihill; head of affiliates BT consumer division, and Chris Johnson; A4u’s content director, also flag up issues such as industry innovation, multi-channel options and even give their predictions for next year’s entrants.

 

Commercial director (EMEA) at Marin Software, Jon Myers:

How many years have you been a judge at the Performance Marketing Awards? I've been judging for three years, and get increasingly inspired by the entries every year!

Why do you think it is important to hold events such as this? I think marketing industry awards traditionally recognise creative industries and the Mad Men of the marketing world. However, the world of marketing has changed and increasing amounts of advertising budget are being spent on performance marketing channels like search, affiliates and display, as the recent IAB stats showed. I think this event gives the industry an excellent chance to showcase some of the work in these less talked about areas, and reward the outstanding work.

What are your thoughts on the performance marketing industry’s level of professionalism, compared to last year? The industry is maturing every year. I think we're fast becoming a grown-up industry, and the increasing number of large and public companies in the industry is testament to that. The increasing quality of entries in these awards is also testament to that.

How would you summarise the calibre and variety of this year’s entries, compared to last year’s submissions? As I said, the quality is improving every year. I think performance marketers are getting more adept at knowing what is award-worthy and how to highlight innovation in their campaigns. However, ultimately the quality of work and innovation in the industry is also improving. There is also an increasing number of channels, platforms and levers available to performance marketers; creating a lot more diversity in entries and also more complexity to overcome for marketers.

What are the most prevalent industry-related changes you have noticed between entries this year, compared to last year? Without doubt, the biggest change is the amount of time the word mobileis mentioned in entries. As more consumers have smartphones and tablets in their hands and access the web via them, performance marketers are finding new ways to innovate on these high growth platforms and devices. We've also seen more desire to integrate channels and data together to get close to truly attributed data.

What would you like to see more of, or less of, in the entries for next year? I'd like to see more people doing amazing things with data. There is so much data available to performance marketers, and I’d like to see them connecting the dots of all this data stored in different places across different channels and devices. I'd be particularly interested in cases where data is being used to connect the dots between online performance marketing and offline purchases.

What are your future predictions for the type of entries we may see at next year’s Performance Marketing Awards? I think we are likely to see more and more entries containing mobile. It's only going to grow, and I think we may find some of the more innovative performance marketers connecting the dots across their campaigns on mobile, tablet and desktop campaigns.

E-commerce director at Nectar, Maureen McDonagh:

How many years have you been a judge at the Performance Marketing Awards? This is my second year as a judge.

Why do you think it is important to hold events such as this? It’s a great way to showcase the work across the industry and enable everyone to know how much it is growing and maturing year-on-year.

What are your thoughts on the performance marketing industry’s level of professionalism, compared to last year? We are fortunate to work with some great retailers in this industry who are investing more and more into performance marketing in terms of resource, focus and budget.

How would you summarise the calibre and variety of this year’s entries, compared to last year’s submissions? Each year the competition gets tougher and in this climate you have to innovate to be sustainable and this year’s entries reflect a lot of that innovation and challenging the status quo for campaigns.

What are the most prevalent industry-related changes you have noticed between entries this year, compared to last year? Two areas feel notably different, firstly; results are front of mind, everyone is demonstrating the level of ROI that can be delivered for each activity and secondly, mobile is definitely in the overall marketing mix and beginning to make a tangible difference to overall results.

What would you like to see more of, or less of, in the entries for next year? I would like to see more entries from the smaller merchants and publishers who are challenging the industry in a new way and help to raise their profile.

What are your future predictions for the type of entries we may see at next year’s Performance Marketing Awards? For next year, I would expect to see the mix of performance marketing go into the offline world, with more retailers embracing technology and Wi-Fi in-store; this will open up opportunities for publishers to have influence for the overall customer spend.

Head of affiliates BT consumer division, Caroline Mulvihill:

How many years have you been a judge at the Performance Marketing Awards? This is my second year.

Why do you think it is important to hold events such as this? It recognises the growing importance and influence of performance marketing.

What are your thoughts on the performance marketing industry’s level of professionalism, compared to last year? There were some very strong entries in all the categories I judged this year; true innovation and fully integrated approaches. In the past performance marketing has been used as more of a bolt on to more established marketing practices, but we are definitely seeing a mindset shift.

How would you summarise the calibre and variety of this year’s entries, compared to last year’s submissions? See above.

What are the most prevalent industry-related changes you have noticed between entries this year, compared to last year? Seeing a more integrated approach and also seeing more innovative uses of cashback channels.

What would you like to see more of, or less of, in the entries for next year? The entries that stood out were the ones which were single minded in their approach. Simple measurable objectives with results that reflect the original objectives are a must. Some of the entries lacked this.

What are your future predictions for the type of entries we may see at next year’s Performance Marketing Awards? Each year there are some truly innovative things that make me wish I had thought of them, so who knows what we could see next year!

A4u’s content director, Chris Johnson:

How many years have you been a judge at the Performance Marketing Awards? Four years.

Why do you think it is important to hold events such as this? Of course I am obviously biased, but in order for the industry to continue its ascension as a commercially viable marketing model, we need to be able to put on a show that oozes professionalism yet at the same time, showcases a host of innovation and entrepreneurship that has helped define what the industry is today. And long may these types of events continue.

What are your thoughts on the performance marketing industry’s level of professionalism, compared to last year? I think in the past few years we've all done so much to push the performance marketing industry to an acceptable and professional level. Whilst the need to shout about this fact is still sometimes evident to new faces entering the space, I feel that we're now at a point where we won't need to promote the fact we have a business-like professional manner; it is already evident from the outset, such as the awards.

How would you summarise the calibre and variety of this year’s entries, compared to last year’s submissions? It was pleasing to once again see new blue-chip and large brands entering either individually or as part of a collaboration between other industry stakeholders. The support to a brand's bottom line that performance marketing is delivering hasn't gone unnoticed, and many of this year's entries accepted that we're a fully justified industry. I was personally wowed at how many entries maximised revenues from smart data analysis on both singular and multiple levels of data interrogation. Whilst we generally hear lots about how it's all 'data data data', it was a real eye-opener to see just how it has been used more effectively when compared to last year's entries.

What are the most prevalent industry-related changes you have noticed between entries this year, compared to last year? The fact that many entries were justifying their campaign ROI's against the industry standard of 11:1 set through the first OPM Performance Marketing study has, I think, given the industry its own performance metric to be targeted against. The release of this study has helped justify campaign success, and I hope that additional studies on the industry will continue the trend.

What would you like to see more of, or less of, in the entries for next year? I'd like to see more effort in the campaign objectives element of the entries. Some entries make it hard to attain the highest scores during judging when they don't fully explain how and why objectives were created for the particular campaign/innovation /product. It's all well and good saying 'these were our objectives', but it's hard to give full marks when reasons aren't given. There's my tip of the day :)

What are your future predictions for the type of entries we may see at next year’s Performance Marketing Awards? That's easy for me. The blending online and offline commerce worlds will continue to drive the next level of innovation as far as the type of entries we may see next year. Campaigns that have driven online, agile and in-store sales I'd expect to increase next year. Exciting times.

On May 7 hundreds of attendees, top sponsors and key industry players will fill the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane for an exclusive night of networking, entertainment and of course, the outcome of the esteemed Performance Marketing Awards.

For more news on the event follow @a4u, @pm_awards or search #PMA13

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Pippa Chambers

Pippa Chambers

Freelance News Journalist at PerformanceIN - working to source the latest and breaking news in performance marketing. 

From newspapers to national B2B magazines and technology reporting, I have covered a variety of genres. NCTJ/NCE qualified.

Please email me at pippa.chambers@performancein.com and follow me @PippaC1

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