Called the “Cannes Lions of the marketing world”, Festival of Marketing 2015 rolled into London’s Tobacco Dock yesterday (November 11), bringing with it a 12-track agenda designed to tackle all angles of marketing in 2015.

Day one of the event saw headline speakers Lord Alan Sugar and astronaut Chris Hadfield draw much of the event’s 3000 strong attendance, but it wasn’t all Amstrad and space travel; the depth of FoM’s agenda diversifies into aspects of performance marketing.

With this in mind, here’s our rundown of performance marketing highlights from the first day of the Festival of Marketing 2015.

Email optimisation & personalisation

We started our day on the Data & Analytics track where Return Path’s senior director of professional services Guy Hanson gave the audience insight into how external factors affect the success rates of email campaigns, including how hot weather has a direct effect on the open rates of casual dining emails.

Barilliance’s UK country manager Simon Pierson served attendees a crash course on optimising e-commerce sites for individual shopper engagement, describing email personalisation as an “under-utilised and missed opportunity”.

“Customers who have implemented this solution are experiencing an increase of up to 400% in their CTR and seeing increases in their sales conversions by as much as 30%,” added Pierson.

From a packed Personalisation stage attendees witnessed Sailthru’s executive VP Cassie Lancellotti-Young meet with the global digital marketing manager of footwear company Dr Martens, Brogan Savage, to talk personalisation measurement strategies, and how individually tailored marketing will develop into 2016.

Talent acquisition

“The biggest problem is young people jumping out of bed on a Monday morning straight out of uni and thinking they want to be like Zuckerberg but let’s be realistic, if you live in England you haven’t got a hope in hell’s chance”, said Lord Sugar yesterday morning. 

That one may have snuffed the dreams of a few wide-eyed attendees in the room, but a fireside chat with Tech Advocates’ Russ Shaw took a much more constructive approach to the status of the UK tech scene.

Tackling a familiar conundrum faced by performance marketers, Shaw claimed the biggest limiting factor on London becoming a world-leading tech hub is talent acquisition, adding that we do not have enough people for the ‘tech age’ happening around us.

“The growth in digital jobs will be 160,000 to 170,000 in the next two years, but we do not have enough talent to sustain this. We are not equipped with enough software developers, engineers and good marketers”, said Shaw.


One subject that never ceases to draw discussion among performance marketers is attribution. Over at the Multichannel stage we saw Sky Italia’s Marco Storti co-present with Visual IQ’s Ben Sidebottom on why the paid television provider sought more advanced attribution, and the resulting insights it gained from its partnership.

“It’s vital for marketers to quantify the impact that each media interaction has on a consumer’s purchasing decision. As Sky Italia has discovered, an advanced marketing measurement approach is an ideal method to achieve this”, commented Sidebottom.

This stage also saw the marketing manager of Unilever’s ice cream division, Florence Howell, join AEG executive VP Paul Samuels in a forward-thinking panel session exploring ‘new frontiers’ in experiental marketing, and how measurable ROI can be attributed, leaving attendees hungry for more.

Parting thoughts

Reflecting on day one, general manager at real-time customer data plaftorm Tealium, Lindsay McEwan, commented that the former Amstrad founder’s “contoversial but interesting” opening statement - that businesses only exist to make money - led him to question whether marketers have forgotten their purpose.

“Are we focused enough on extracting a greater share from our customers’ wallets? Not only is marketing centered on supporting innovation and maintaining your business’ core DNA; it should also be about product sales and share prices.

“Success at events like the FOM is dependent on differentiating yourself and being brave enough to say something controversial. This is what people remember and talk about”, concluded McEwan.

Finally, it wouldn’t be right to finish without a worth mention of Nationwide, who took home the Festival of Marketing’s Performance Marketing award.