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BW Businessworld

Going Beyond Traditions

Craig Greenfield, chief operating officer of Performics Worldwide — the performance marketing arm of ZenithOptimedia which operates within the holding company, Publicis Groupe — talks to Businessworld’s Shubhi Tandon about the company’s plans

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With programmatics expected to command 66 per cent of total display spend by 2020 in mature markets, the potential of performance marketing is no longer limited to traditional digital channels. Craig Greenfield, chief operating officer of Performics Worldwide — the performance marketing arm of ZenithOptimedia which operates within the holding company, Publicis Groupe — talks to Businessworld’s Shubhi Tandon about the company’s plans.

What are the areas of focus and investment for Performics in 2016?
We are now in 41 countries, the most recent being South Africa, Greece, Indonesia, Argentina and Czech Republic. We continue to be focused on corporate development through acquisitions, new offices and strategic alliances. We will continue to focus on our competitive advantages; we have a top global footprint amongst performance marketing agencies. We support projects in 50 global offices with various models depending on business need (central, local, and hybrid). About 20 per cent of our clients run multinational campaigns. Our practice is built upon capturing and converting consumer intent.

There is a lot of growth potential for Performics, as the size and scope of performance marketing will continue to grow. To illustrate, programmatic display spend has just recently outpaced non-programmatic; and programmatic is expected to be 66 per cent of total display spend by 2020 in the US. Real-time bidding (RTB) formats in mobile and video are also quickly closing in on traditional and the potential of performance marketing is no longer limited to traditional digital channels. For instance, Google recently started testing double click ad serving technology for out-of-home (OOH) billboards.

We are making early investments in integrated bid sciences for direct-response TV (DRTV). This is performance marketing for TV: ads bought on a biddable basis and customised for specific audiences. Performance marketing’s ability to target relevant audiences in the right moment at the right bid — in addition to leveraging advanced analytics to power optimisation — makes it very appealing to advertisers, even in channels where it’s not yet widespread, like OOH and TV.

India has emerged as a top investment market for many players. What is the role that India and China will individually play in contributing to your APAC growth?
Both India and China are now top 10 markets in the Performics global network, which was not the case two years ago. So their growth is clear and due to size and opportunity, this growth will become even stronger. We believe the opportunity around ecommerce especially on mobile in these two markets will play a key role in Performics’ global growth. We have some great brands in our kitty such as Airtel, Nestle, OLX to name a few and we have been going really strong in this market.

How would you summarise the year 2015 for Performics globally? How has India contributed to its growth and achievements?
Globally, Performics had a great year of growth, and won business directly and with ZenithOptimedia. India plays an increasingly important role. It will continue to grow faster than most of the other top 10 markets. What is great is that some of the approaches in the great pitch wins in India are now being used in other markets, making India an exporter of great work. We have always had a distinctive position in the Indian market as being a pure-play performance player. This position was further strengthened by our acquisition of Resultrix in 2012 which was one of the largest standalone performance marketing agency. We launched Performics mobile in 2015 as we saw this is a mobile first market and we have seen tremendous growth and response here. We also set up the first ever media-tech and analytics division in Bangalore that helps clients make informed decision on the choice of technology and works on implementing them to drive maximum ROI on their investments.

When we first began in India, we felt that in order to have a sustainable growth plan, we needed to find a way to differentiate ourselves from the pack. The way to do that is with data, media technology and the intelligence that we bring to the planning process. We opened our tech and analytics division in Bangalore with this very vision. In order for digital to really reach its potential, data needs to be unified so that clients can have a single view of the customers and make informed marketing decisions. While there are a lot of technologies out there which help bridge the gap, almost no one in the market knows how to set it up right. As a result, clients invest in a lot of expensive products that are never really used to derive their potential and we as their partners need to help them leverage these new-age solutions. So we partnered with Adobe to fuel our media tech division which will help clients make the right choice of technology that meets their needs.

What will be your growth strategy for India in the year ahead?
In India, client acquisition is our main focus. Existing clients are moving from single digit spend in digital to double due to growth in mobile Internet. We are examining investment opportunities in technology driven solutions to drive the growth story. India is a vibrant democracy with a healthy economic outlook and huge ambitions in the digital space. What we have been doing so far was only the tip of the iceberg. India has reached the one billion mobile subscriber mark and mobile is becoming the first point of access for the Internet.

The future looks extremely exciting. India is taking huge strides in digital. Today, savvy brands are investing in programmatic to more effectively reach the right consumer through real-time bidding and targeting techniques. At Performics, we’re elevating Performance Display Marketing through the sophisticated use of consumer data. Our Performance Display practice is built on measurement, enabling us to collect and analyse all campaign and consumer intent data to activate audiences, buys and ad creative. Through data, we find the right moments. We then cater to those moments — by device, channel, geo, creative format, context and behaviour. We have always believed in data-driven planning. The richness of the data points only adds to the success of the campaign. With this in mind, we have been making investments, especially in India.