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Q&A: Sean Sewell on Performance Horizon's First European Innovation Day

Q&A: Sean Sewell on Performance Horizon's First European Innovation Day

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Performance Horizon will be hosting its first European Innovation Day event in London this Thursday (April 12), following four successful years running the conference in Sydney, Australia.

Taking place at the Amphitheatre at Sea Containers, Blackfriars, the event will bring together “innovation” and “technology” in forming transformational partnerships, encouraging marketers to become more forward-thinking within the performance marketing industry.

The event will see a number of keynotes and sessions hosted by guest speakers including Farfetch’s CMO, John Veichmanis, Wired’s executive editor, Greg Williams, and Bink’s head of retail, Ryan Edwards.

Ahead of the London event, we caught up with Performance Horizon co-founder and VP of revenue EMEA, Sean Sewell, to discuss what to expect from the show and how innovation and technology can be used to develop strong partnerships

This will be Performance Horizon’s first Innovation Day conference in London. Following four successful years running the show in Sydney, what made you decide to expand the annual event to EMEA?

Sean Sewell: Our plan all along has been to turn Innovation Day into a global series of events, and bringing it to London was a natural fit for the first instalment outside of Sydney. London is a hotbed of advertising and technology, with ever more brands, agencies, and tech players growing their presence here, and in the UK at large. As our great lineup of speakers shows, there is no shortage of marketing and thought leaders in the area. It’s an opportunity for us to bring the industry together to exchange ideas, network, and have a little fun.

With guest speakers including Greg Williams (Wired), John Veichmanis (FarFetch) and Ryan Edwards (Bink), what can attending marketers and partners expect to take away from this event?

SS: We’ve tried to curate a program that includes a true cross-section of industry leaders, in order to give attendees a variety of perspectives and insights. Greg (Williams) of Wired has a keen sense of what’s going on in technology and business, through both his editorial leadership and his writing. With keynote and panel speakers from a top fashion retailer, a travel brand, and a financial tech start-up, marketers and partners will hear what these leaders are doing to innovate in their respective industries. There will be vertical-specific insights, but also ideas that can be applied broadly to anyone looking to innovate, form creative partnerships, and take their partner strategy to the next level.

“Innovation” and “technology” appear to be the main themes of the conference. How are the two subjects used together and develop client and partner relationships to drive growth?

SS: Innovation and technology truly go hand in hand today. You just have to look at the development of bionic 3D printed limbs and autonomous cars to see it. In our area of Partner Marketing, innovation and technology are driving tremendous growth and creating opportunities for brands that didn’t exist before. The category now encompasses everything from channel, content, loyalty, influencers and brand-to-brand alliances. Technology can make partnerships easier and help take them to market more quickly. It also enables better data, in real-time, thusly facilitating direct relationships between partners and clients. As a tech solution, we feel particularly strongly that this set of messages speaks perfectly to the future of our industry.

Artificial Intelligence is the “buzzword’’ within the technology space at the moment. What sort of topics do you expect will play a frontal role in the many sessions at the event?

SS: Artificial Intelligence will likely come up in context of how global brands are employing it for things like predictive partner performance and anomaly detection. Fraud is a huge topic these days, so there should be some discussion there. Fundamentally, innovation - in partnerships, technology, and strategies - will be the byword for this event.

Your most recent Innovation Day conference in Sydney highlighted the importance of “culture” in building partnerships and steer growth. For newcomers into the industry, how can they use this to innovate their practice and stay ahead of the competition?

SS: Our panellists at the Sydney event touched on some key ways a company’s culture can enable success. These include empowering employees to make their own decisions based on the needs of customers, encouraging risk-taking, and emphasising a diversity of thoughts. It’s also important to be clear about what you stand for and what your values are, without compromise. A great company culture can be an important advantage for any business and can also help your company attract employees and customers that are aligned with your vision.

Lastly, who should go to the event and how do they sign up?

SS: Innovation Day is the perfect opportunity for anyone who is passionate about transformational partnerships to get together, make connections, share best practices, and learn from one another. Brand marketers from all walks of life, their agency counterparts, and partner publishers won’t want to miss Innovation Day.

Space at the event is fast running out, but a number of spots remain for brand marketers to register here

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