Commended for his ‘pragmatic, positive and collaborative approach to client management’, it was Performance Horizon Group’s (PHG) head of client delivery William Goff who took the accolade of Hotshot Rising Star at last year’s Performance Marketing Awards.
PerformanceIN caught up with William to talk about what’s changed for PHG since collecting the award last year, and what the title meant for him.
It’s been a year since you walked away with our Hotshot prize. What has changed for PHG and you since last April?
William Goff: PHG is a rocket ship and April already seems so long ago. We’re growing at well over 100% YOY and have won some major client business here in the UK and around the world which has kept me busy and has meant adding more people to my team. One of the things I’m proudest of this year is that I took on a project to revamp the way we support our clients, advertisers and the 100,000+ publishers connected to our platform. This increased investment in our global support structure allows us to scale the way we manage all of our relationships around the world.
Personally, looking back I think winning the Hotshot award gave me a lot of confidence. I’m comfortable dealing with the senior executives at our largest clients and enjoying taking on the challenge of managing a much larger team.
How has the company progressed with its plans for US expansion?
WG: US expansion? We’re expanding all over the world! We're now tracking partner sales for clients in over 150 countries (at the last count) and have recently opened an office in Japan which is really exciting. It’s our second office in an non English speaking territory (that includes the Newcastle office!) which has meant we’ve had to embrace the culture there. This year I spent two weeks with our customers in China meeting some of the leading publishers out there, which was fascinating. The scale at which they operate and the opportunity out there is scary.
We have built a great US team so far, and on the back of recent funding from Silicon Valley VC firm Mithril, Malcolm Cowley our CEO, has relocated to the San Francisco office to spearhead the charge there. We’re hiring pretty aggressively now in the US in both sales and support and growing our market share there is one of Mal’s big focuses for 2015.
As a head of client delivery, have you seen any shifts in the types of things advertisers and agencies are demanding out of their performance marketing activity?
WG: There are a couple of trends that I’ve seen, and there is a bit of interconnection between them. The advertisers and agencies that we’re working with are definitely looking to justify more of their budget against performance. That’s not necessarily paying out on last click CPA, but certainly measuring activity on that basis. This has meant that barriers between previously separate, siloed channels have been removed and more and more media spend is moving towards where we’ve been positioned in the affiliate channel for some time. Great news for us and lots of opportunity.
Secondly, I’m being asked a lot more questions about being able to incorporate more data to allow advertisers and agencies to get a fuller picture of what is happening. Whether this is about where affiliates are playing a part in the sales journey or the value of customers that are being driven by different partners, there seems to be a much bigger appetite for knowledge and data to back it up.
On the publisher side on things, what are some of the changes you’ve seen in their ad inventory and site monetisation techniques over the last year?
WG: I think the most exciting thing happening on the publisher side is the growth in small, dynamic and entrepreneurial businesses emerging and being able to scale very quickly by engaging in the affiliate space. Matt Bailey, who is a lot older than me, tells me that this is what it was like back in the ‘good old days’ but during my time in the industry the publisher base has been quite static. Now I see these companies coming up with innovative technologies and ideas and being able to interact with a lot of advertisers because they choose to be rewarded based on performance.
Your Hotshot award from last year was the only PMA to go to an individual. Do you feel there are challenges in rewarding the industry’s unsung heroes, considering you work as part of a team?
WG: Working in performance marketing is not something you do if you want individual recognition really is it? If that was something that I coveted I’d go on The Apprentice (which I might do next year). I probably have a much different perspective on this now that I’m managing a team. As a manager, identifying and rewarding the people who are doing a great job is certainly important, and that can be by giving them a nice award in a swanky Park Lane hotel in front of 1000 people or just a good old fashioned pat on the back…