Sponsored by Affiliate Future, the Performance Marketing Awards’ Industry Rising Star category shines the spotlight on the next generation of marketers entering the industry of results-driven advertising.

Recognising a mixture of natural talent, working ethic, enthusiasm, and the early showings of a prosperous career, it’s a highly sought-after category, so with nominations open until April 7, PerformanceIN’s Rising Star Series is a chance to meet the candidates in more detail.

Today, we’re speaking to the7stars head of affiliates, Dan Williams.

What excites you most about the performance marketing industry?

Dan Williams: Despite the fact that performance marketing has grown a tremendous amount in the last few years, it’s still an industry that is seeing consistent and dramatic advancements that drive it forwards. In the last two years, we’ve seen the advent of cross-device tracking, the rapid growth of programmatic principles within digital and TV, the emergence of artificial intelligence as a viable element of digital marketing and an industry-wide recognition of social influencers as a valuable part of the customer journey, as well as advancements in attribution which are moving the industry away from its last-click roots.

Affiliate Marketing has elements of every digital discipline and is effected by all these developments. I can go into work every day and know that there will be a new challenge or opportunity for me to face; in two years’ time my role may well mean something completely different to what it does today.

Within your performance marketing career to date, what do you count as your biggest achievement, and why?

DW: My biggest achievement is probably securing my current role at the7stars. While not established in affiliates, the7stars has a fantastic reputation across digital and traditional media and, with that, some of the best staff in the industry. Their intent to launch an affiliate department in-house required someone with a vision for the future as well as the ability to get hands-on with clients. While they could have chosen someone with more experience or an agency background, they felt that I matched what they needed which I definitely count as a personal achievement.

Everything I do is highly visible, to both my colleagues and to our clients. Whilst at an established affiliate agency I could lean on others, I am the driving force at the7stars. If I want something to change then I have to go out and change it, and I’m very proud that they’ve trusted me to do that.

What would winning Industry Rising Star mean to you?

DW: Besides the recognition for the work I’ve done to date, it would confirm my beliefs and predictions on where the industry is heading. Gabe Leydon, CEO of mobile gaming company Machine Zone, recently delivered a talk where he supposedly ‘shocked’ every Media Executive in attendance by claiming that there is no longer any place for advertising that can’t deliver ROI, but this is something that performance marketing has always known and always championed.

I believe that in the future we won’t look at performance marketing as an isolated industry, in fact, I don’t think the word ‘performance’ will be necessary at all. All marketing will be held to the same standards and will be expected to measure its performance and justify its cost through whatever KPI’s are relevant, regardless of the medium. Winning this award would give me faith that I’ve found a growing and evolving industry to work in.

To see the shortlist and cast your vote please view here