Throughout January we will be speaking to a number of previous Performance Marketing Awards winners, as we approach the January 24th entry deadline.

Firstly, we caught up with Ben Hayward, O2’s affiliate marketing manager who was pivotal to O2 and Affiliate Window’s campaign that won the hotly contested ‘Best in Technology & Telecoms: Advertiser‘ award in 2013.

Read on to see what Ben perceives the industry trends will be in 2014, tips on crafting a winning entry and what made O2 stand out from their competitors to win a Performance Marketing Award.

How did it feel to win such a competitive category?

Ben: The category is one of the largest and most high profile in the industry and there are always major brands competing for the award, so it was absolutely fantastic to come out on top. It’s in the nature of tech and telco firms to relentlessly innovate, including in finding the best new ways of using digital resources to drive sales and market share each year. Therefore we knew that we had to show we’d done things holistically, sustainably and in a forward thinking, integrated way. Hearing your brand read out as a winner at the Performance Marketing Awards really is a brilliant feeling and, most importantly, we are very aware that it enhances O2’s industry reputation.

What industry trends to forsee in 2014?

Ben: In terms of trends that are already demonstrating marked growth then card linking in its various forms and on-site retention / abandonment reduction via affiliates will continue their march.  Affiliates will of course continue to get paid on post-click CPA, but really the industry needs to become smarter around post impression tracking, as in 2014 attribution is likely to become more fundamental in brands’ channel budget allocation. Further down the line there are some exciting companies looking at hyper-localised mobile product search by hooking up to live APIs from local shops. There will certainly be opportunities for personalised sales incentivisation there so it will be interesting to see who comes out fighting. From a personal point of view I’d love to see more advanced affiliate retargeting and developments in cross device tracking.

Why are events such as this important to the performance marketing industry?

Ben: Affiliate industry awards are more than just back-slapping, they recognise the work of key companies, individuals and teams who really do love what they do and pour an awful lot of passion and thought into it. They also give us all something extra to aim for. It’s a chance for everyone to celebrate a hugely successful industry they’ve designed and built themselves, and, let’s be honest, to have a bloomin’ massive party.

What do you feel made you stand out from the other contestants to make yours an award winning entry and do you have any tips for future entrants?

Ben: We did of course focus on sales delivered and percentage uplifts, but we also wanted to demonstrate that we as a brand are keen to use all facets of the affiliate industry to create a well-rounded strategy. We included both the technical and strategic aspects of what we’d achieved and concentrated on how we’d pushed various areas forward from the year before. I believe demonstrating progressive engagement with the industry and integration with overall brand marketing strategies is key, which luckily we could demonstrate.