From your experiences, what qualities make an award-winning entry?
Rob Davinson: I always think storytelling is key. I would say that to some extent as it’s part of my own role.
However, when it comes to explaining to a panel of judges why you think the work you’ve undertaken is worthy of industry recognition, the best means of communicating that is by telling them the story of your success.
Underpinning that of course is a whole phalanx of other attributes. You need an innovative approach with clear objectives, as well as demonstrable results and clear data that supports the intended outcomes. But stitching all of that together into a coherent and compelling story is for me the most important aspect of an award-winning entry, and often the hardest to get right.
Tell us about winning the Best Content Marketing Campaign, Best Technology and Telecoms Campaign and LATAM Best Performance Marketing Campaign?
RD: It was fantastic to achieve success across such a wide range of regions, sectors, and approaches and it really testified to Awin’s ability to support our clients no matter where they were in the world or what they wanted to achieve.
In addition, I think that when you consider the breadth of the campaigns that won it really spoke to the capacity of our channel to adapt itself to any objective.
Whether it was supporting a global computer hardware brand like HP to leverage major content partnerships in the US, connecting the retail chain Carrefour to an influential Brazilian telenovela star’s social audience, or enabling the UK’s Carphone Warehouse to capitalise on Smarter Click’s personalisation technology to offer tailored offers on-site, each campaign displayed our industry’s innovative streak.
What challenges did you face in the campaign and how did you overcome them?
RD: Each of the campaigns faced their own individual hurdles.
For HP these were primarily around having the opportunity to build rapport with new content partners. Nothing quite matches the experience of meeting in-person to forge a new partnership, so Awin made sure to take advantage of its Chicago conference Think Tank, where a series of invaluable meetings were coordinated between the brand and its new affiliates.
For Carrefour, the challenge came in figuring out how to best achieve the brand awareness objective that had been set. Awin’s previous collaborations with local influencer platform Post2B provided the solution though, and enabled us to quickly set up a novel campaign with the well-known Brazilian celebrity Caio Castro.
Finally, from Carphone Warehouse’s perspective the main hurdle was identifying a means of improving on site conversions without resorting to simple discounting tactics. Smarter Click’s personalisation technology, and its quick implementation through the Awin MasterTag, made sure this could be achieved in time for peak trading over the Cyber Monday period.
How has team collaboration been vital to your brand’s success?
RD: Collaboration has been a real cornerstone theme throughout all of the campaigns Awin has undertaken with its clients, not just the award-winning ones.
We’ve always had a culture that encourages our clients and partners to involve us from start to finish in their affiliate strategies.
It’s not enough to simply be given an objective and then wander away with your own independent ideas on how to implement it. You need to have a constant conversation on how a campaign or programme should be shaped and developed to achieve its objectives.
That collaboration is not just something that should happen between businesses either, it has to happen internally too. A lot of our most successful campaigns have involved collaborative efforts across departments, including everyone from account management and business intelligence to product and marketing teams too. It really is a team effort.
What’s changed for your company since winning the award?
RD: Obviously the most fundamental change has been one that everyone’s been hit by; COVID-19. The pandemic has really tested the mettle of us as a company but I think our staff have adapted tremendously well to the situation and have been able to continue to offer Awin’s services to our partners worldwide.
What the coronavirus has really emphasised is the value of some of the internal changes and new functions we’ve deployed since winning the award.
New initiatives like Access, which offers entry-level affiliate programmes for small start-ups and SMEs has come into its own at this time when smaller businesses are desperately in need of ecommerce support. Waiving set-up costs for this service was a no-brainer when lockdown measures were having such a devastating effect on many of these retailers.
Similarly, the Publisher MasterTag and its array of turnkey ecommerce solutions for affiliates has taken on a new importance in the current climate where many publisher businesses are urgently seeking ways to ensure they can monetise their traffic.
And Bounceless Tracking continues to be the industry-leading means of safeguarding that monetisation against the relentless decline of cookie-based tracking, and is insulating affiliate partnerships from long-term risk.
What’s your take on the IPMAs as a necessary vehicle for driving the performance marketing industry forward on a global scale?
RD: Awards like the IPMAs are always a unique opportunity for the industry to come together to showcase and celebrate the most effective work that’s being done.
What’s great in particular about this ceremony is its international character. You can feel like you’re in a bit of a local bubble sometimes in the UK, and the IPMAs are a rare opportunity to see what great campaigns are being done across other markets, how other regions are doing things differently, and what can be learned from them.
In doing so I think it undoubtedly helps to raise standards and ensures we remain a cutting-edge and innovative channel.