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Q&A: PHG's Malcolm Cowley on the Future of Performance

Q&A: PHG's Malcolm Cowley on the Future of Performance

The Performance Marketing Awards 2015 return to Park Lane’s Grosvenor House Hotel tomorrow night. Ahead of the long-anticipated night, PerformanceIN caught up with  Malcolm Cowley, the CEO of PMA co-sponsor Performance Horizon Group. 

It’s been nearly a year since we caught up, what’s changed for PHG?

There have been many exciting developments recently in our product, team and customer base. Our Series B funding round last year led by Mithril Capital Management, the prominent San Francisco firm co-founded by Ajay Royan and Peter Thiel has enabled us to keep the pedal down and continue our impressive growth trajectory both in the UK and internationally.

Their investment is a huge endorsement in the market opportunity, and of our amazing team who work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to deliver them a world-class customer experience.

Enterprises continuing to invest into digital partner marketing has been a factor in driving our repeated 100%+ year-on-year growth. We’re nearing 100 staff now and most recently added three new team members including a GM to our growing operation in Japan. We’re now connecting enterprises directly to well over 100,000 web and mobile digital marketing partners in more than 170 countries.

It’s been a fantastic start to 2015 for our customers and team, especially here in the UK, and we’re proud to be co-sponsor at the awards this year.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity in the performance marketing space?

The space continues to evolve, driven forward by multiple forces including changing trends in consumer behaviour, connectivity, and a rapidly expanding global e-commerce market.

For e-commerce-enabled enterprises, I think the biggest opportunities lie in harnessing new technologies to address their biggest marketing challenges. 

We’re seeing an increased desire from brands to move more of their marketing under a performance umbrella. This was something we predicted ever since we evolved out of to offer a SaaS solution for in-house performance marketing partnerships. Our vantage point as a provider of global digital partner marketing solutions to the world’s largest enterprises gives us unique insight into the application of “affiliate the model” across a broader range of marketing partnerships than we saw previously on the network side.

How will the rise of ‘affiliate the model’ shape the future of online marketing?

According to Gartner, online and mobile marketing budgets will increase by another 10% this year, representing 30% of enterprises total marketing budgets. At PHG, we believe brands will increasingly want to measure all digital marketing partner activity back to customers acquired and products sold.

In order to become closer to the consumer, they’ll need to become closer to their digital marketing partners. To achieve this, they require a more sophisticated digital partner marketing strategy that has to be supported by technology. At Performance Horizon, we’re enabling our customers to develop one-to-one partner marketing at scale.

Today’s marketers are under increased pressure to bridge efforts to business outcomes and the bottom line. Therefore, they’re more obsessed with measuring ROI and utilising technology to better target the right customers.

What role do digital agencies play in all of this?

A very important one. The agency in many cases is the go-to partner for brands across all digital marketing channels. It’s a tough time for agencies that are being asked by their clients to deliver more whilst also increasing efficiencies. They need technology to address their client’s most pressing needs like never before, but they’re not generally in the business of building out their own platforms. They also realise that larger brands need a solutions approach, so out-of-the-box products and strategies just won’t cut it in the long run at the enterprise end of the market.

At PHG, we play the role of a technology and services partner with many agencies across our core markets (US, UK, AU, JP), working alongside them, their clients and marketing partners to understand their objectives, challenges and how we can align our platform and services to meet those needs. In a time of transition like this, there’s a huge opportunity for agencies to add value for their clients and to win new business, which in turn will drive the whole market forward.

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Mark  Jones

Mark Jones

Editorial Executive at PerformanceIN. Mark reports performance marketing news and manages PI's network of guest contributors.

Originally from Plymouth, Mark studied in Reading and London, eventually earning his Master's in Digital Journalism- before making his return to the West Country to join the PI team in Bristol.

Read more from Mark

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