2012 In Review

In 2012, the performance marketing industry continued to mature with a new breed of technology driving the entire digital advertising ecosystem forward. Big data was the buzzword, as social and mobile platforms became main ingredients in online marketing and advertising campaigns. Moving ahead, these trends will continue to place enterprise technology on centre stage for digital marketers at global brands and advertising agencies. As technology’s role and the industry’s needs become better understood, best practices and winning solutions for performance marketing technology will continue to emerge.

Big data was talked about endlessly in 2012 – and the conversation continues. What is it? Why is it important? Is it really anything new? While these questions can be debated, several things are certain. First, CMOs and executives at global brands and advertising agencies are speaking regularly about the value and importance of data-driven marketing campaigns. Second, these same enterprises are in a major transitional period and are replacing outdated technologies with more robust platforms designed specifically to deal with ever-increasing amounts of data. Finally, brands want to execute their performance-marketing campaigns on a global level – and require the software and services that allow them to scale.

Moving Forward

The role of technology is simple – it must fulfil a market need in order to be successful. For performance marketing, there are several questions brands and agencies that manage brand campaigns have that include:

  • Will implementing a performance marketing campaign be cost effective?
  • Will the campaign be highly trackable across all platforms?
  • Will the campaign be highly measurable across other marketing initiatives?
  • Will the campaign be sustainable and promote long-term growth?

In the past, price and reach were the dominant factors for brands investing in performance marketing technology. Some companies built their own internal platforms and others leveraged affiliate networks. For some enterprises, these solutions worked. But for many who built their own internal technologies, the long-term outcome was a handful of disparate technologies working in silos. Today, enterprises evaluating new solutions to manage performance-marketing campaigns are looking for top-line items that include:

  • Robust and flexible tracking solutions
  • Real-time reporting and analysis of centralised data
  • Active architecture built from an API level
  • Ability to operate and scale globally
  • Customisation to fit their specific needs
  • Protection against fraud

Enterprise software solutions that incorporate these capabilities will help to answer the questions above – as well questions that the marketing channels of the future will continue to create.

The ‘Service’ in SaaS

Just like big data, SaaS is another popular industry term, and while we all know what it stands for, do we really know what it means? Think about it; is software actually a service? For brands that want to leverage their performance marketing campaigns to scale globally and get their products/services in front of an international audience, ‘service’ comes to mean much more than the technology platform itself. While the tracking and management of data is of course at the core of any performance marketing technology platform, enterprise-level brands and global agencies are also realising the value in actual services that support the overall technology solution. This includes things like finance-as-a-service, where brands can pay their partners in local currency anywhere in the world. Also extremely useful is real tech support and training in local languages – not off a script.

Last Thoughts

Technology and support services will only become more important for performance marketing campaigns in the future. Recently, venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere began signaling an investment shift toward technology companies that are focused on improving operating performance at the enterprise level. As the performance marketing industry moves along, software companies that allow enterprises to embrace change will come out on top – and the brands that leverage the best solutions will no doubt win too.

Charles Calabrese is speaking at Performance Marketing Insights: New York – March 12-13 – check out his session on our agenda today.