Performance Marketing Insights: Europe made its return to the German capital today (June 23), welcoming nearly 800 senior delegates through the doors of Berlin’s Hotel Estrel conference centre.

This year’s attendance comprises advertisers, publishers, networks, agencies and technology providers representing over 40 different nationalities. Retail is the most prevalent vertical, making up 22% of ticket holders this year, with travel, tech & telecoms and fashion also strong in force.

Halfway through the event and attendees have been witness to the thoughts of industry pioneers from Rakuten Marketing, House of Fraser, Salesforce, zanox, iProspect and many more, traversing the fields of social media branding, m-commerce, content marketing and personalisation among others.

The event is also recognised as a breeding ground for new business, and while the exhibition floor has been abuzz today among the stands of the exhibitors, PMI also presented its new-for-2015 feature Agency Village, catering for swift 20-minute meetings between agencies, advertisers and publishers.

The conference’s first of two keynotes, by former Apple creative director Ken Segall, is now also behind us.

In the conference rooms

The conference track opened this morning with ‘Let’s Get Personal’, a panel made up of senior reps from Yahoo!, Sociomantic and CJ Affiliate Europe to form a discussion on where to draw a line in the sand for personalisation – an ethos which has taken prime place among marketers in recent years.  

Despite being the subject of international conferences, a single, clear-cut definition of ‘performance marketing’ has long eluded the industry. A panel lead by Marin Software’s managing director Jon Myers asked the question ‘What the Hell is Performance Marketing?’, to hash out the boundaries of what should fly the banner of ‘performance’.

Content marketing has been given a much bigger presence on this year’s agenda, and a consumer-centric approach has become more important for brands than ever. This was the gist of iProspect global strategy director Shenda Loughnane’s session, which examined how a data and performance-led, consumer-focused approach can deliver true return on investment for brands, advertisers and marketers.

Based on the exploits of commercial deity Coca-Cola, ticket holders squeezed into SAAL A for five lessons on social branding by Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Jeremy Waite, examining how the drinks manufacturer built one of the most valuable social communities in the world, and how these strategies can be tweaked for small businesses.

In what’s been a widely thought-provoking day one, sessions traversed the ‘macro and micro’ influencers on the value affiliates drive, success strategies for small online businesses, opportunities and challenges in the travel industry and the rapid growth of m-commerce in the East.

The role of simplicity

Coming from a background as creative director for Apple, Ken Segall’s keynote was never in doubt for being a crowd-puller, and he didn’t disappoint, giving the audience an exclusive glimpse into life as an ad man at one the world’s most high-profile brands throughout its glory days.  

Drawing on his experience with the brand, the keynote session explored why ‘simplicity’ works, how to use it as a competitive weapon and how any organisation can follow a similar approach on their road to success – giving the audience much to take home with.

Make sure you’re following the PerformanceIN live blog for updates as they happen throughout PMI: Europe 2015. And while you’re tweeting, keep us in the loop with #PMIEUR.