There is constant debate within the industry on the differences between the US and UK market, whether it’s the professionalism of publishers, the advancement of technologies in the states or the acceptance of regulation and best practice. With your experience of both markets as a network head, what do you see as the key differences and do you see this changing in 2013?
It’s an interesting question. When I first moved from the US to the UK in 2008, the common belief was definitely that the UK was a few years behind the US. But it was immediately apparent that while the market in the US is more mature, it is in some ways more slow moving, allowing the UK to catch up and to pass the US in some ways. I think there’s legacy thinking at play in the US market when it comes to preconceived notions about performance marketing that are not present in the UK.
On the regulation front I see a lot more discussion and collaboration on standards in the UK, and I think that’s related to the size of the market as well as the nuances of how regulation is viewed in each country.
In the US it is much more difficult to get the right stakeholders in the room to work on this. Partly this is due to geography and partly due to intense ‘free market’ thinking in the US. So I feel the UK market is moving faster as a result. Interestingly I think networking, which is such an important part of our business, is a differentiation point also because geography is much more different in the UK.
It’s much easier for industry leaders to gather in London compared to the US where everyone is spread out across the country. The good news is that both in the US and UK the industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds because the model is working for advertisers and the publishers just keep getting more interesting and more sophisticated on both sides of the Atlantic.
Part of the launch of Performance Marketing Insights was to offer a platform for companies within performance to expand their activity globally. As a network that has achieved a lot of growth across key parts of the globe, what do you feel are key lessons to be learned when entering new markets?
LD: I think a new entrant really needs to spend time in the market and understand the nuances. It goes back to partnership and building relationships. When we launched our services in the UK there were already many established players so we knew it would be challenging.
That being said, by differentiating on service and having the right technology to support us, we were clearly able to achieve success. I think the lesson is really that no company can do everything. So you have to truly listen to your customers and your partners and the environment to prioritise and continuously strive to exceed expectations.
With the recent IAB report in association with the PWC valuing the UK market at £9 billion (including lead generation) what do you think this means for the US market?
LD: Spending on performance marketing in the US market is also growing at a fast pace of 17% on average per year. That’s on pace with the overall growth of interactive marketing budgets.
What I find fascinating about this industry is how it adapts to changes in online consumer behaviour and changes in the way advertisers spend their marketing dollars.
When affiliate marketing was invented there was neither Facebook nor Twitter or smartphones and yet through this sea of changes affiliate marketing has maintained its importance in the online marketing mix.
As marketing campaigns become more integrated across channels, performance marketing will continue to be a key component of mobile, social, local and global campaigns. The reason is because it’s aligned with consumer behaviour as shoppers check multiple sites for product ideas value and selection.
As a member of the advisory board for Performance Marketing Insights, what session across the two days are you most looking forward to?
LD: Well I’m a bit biased I must admit but I am looking forward to our session which looks at the both the affiliate marketing and display channels and how they overlap — how advertisers can manage both channels together to get a better return on ad spend. We have been really enthused by the collaboration we’ve experienced in this area.
I am really curious to hear from attendees and the audience on what their thoughts are on that and their challenges in the area. But in general I think the content for the show looks great – the global and mobile sessions I’m also really looking forward to.
Competition to secure the business of advertisers has increased considerably over the past few years. What are today’s advertisers looking for when working with partners?
LD: Advertisers are savvy, so while they want a partner network that is experienced and knowledgeable, they also want to be a part of the process. That comes across loud and clear in that they seek transparency. That means flexible, customisable reporting and transparent information about their publishers, so they can be a part of the decision process.
The more advertisers know about their publishers and their program the better. Ultimately transparency is related to making better decisions and growth. Advertisers want to be empowered to grow and achieve their objectives while increasing their return on their investment.
Liane joins Performance Marketing Insights on the 12th March to open proceedings at the Crowne Plaza, Times Square. For more information about Performance Marketing Insights visit performancemarketinginsights.com