‘Are we all dinosaurs?’ It is a question that was asked in the very first panel of today’s a4uexpo Europe, ‘New Media Traffic Acquisition Strategies session, by host and managing director for Trialpay Europe, Rob Schneider. He challenged the session’s panelists to prove performance marketing still has a place in today’s digital advertising industry.

Schneider felt that performance marketing had evolved over the past few years around the traditional web. He believed it had become the focal point for consumers who regularly use desktop PCs for browsing and checking their email across the array of active verticals.

Today’s user behaviour is instead across multiple devices. To incite debate among the panel, Schneider wanted to know if the industry was yet at the stage where it was able to assist in the conversion across multi-screening consumers.

Segregation Fascination

While slightly avoiding the crux of the question, panellist, Irene Valens,chief executive officer at traffic4u, was critical of marketers’ obsession for segregation, but she did also share some preventative measures that could put the industry on a more even keel.

“We have offline, we have online, we have new media, we have old media. I think we make it very difficult for ourselves making those silos and thinking in silos,” Valens said. “Don’t think that way. It’s just new channels that you can use to  get your customers to do what you want them to do.”

While not believing performance marketing has yet gone the way of the Dodo, Coull’s founder and chief executive officer, Irfon Watkins, offered a frank assessment of the industry when he said that it was still playing catch-up to where the consumer is now, technologically speaking.

An Industry Being Held Back?

Watkins feels that the industry might be resting on its laurels because of how much it is prospering and this might be what is holding innovation back.

“When you’re doing well in the business you tend not to innovate and suddenly the consumer innovates for you. That’s the space we’re in right now,” he said. “The consumer has actually forced the innovation and I think we as an industry are trying to play catch-up.”

Panelist and Net Media Planet founder and managing director, Sri Sharma, offered a little praise to performance marketing. From his perspective in the paid search arena, he has seen an industry that is now more malleable to consumer trends and demands.

“The industry has evolved to a place where we’re much more accepting that change is happening and it’s happening fast,” Sharma observed. “As a result, we’re far more adaptive going forward because change keeps accelerating and I think this level of change is going to stay as a consequence, and we’re going to be much more flexible.”