Commemorating 17 years of awarding excellence, the Performance Marketing Awards (PMAs) is returning to London’s glamorous Grosvenor House on 11th May to celebrate the outstanding activations taking place in the affiliate marketing and performance media spaces.
This year’s PMAs are in association with Blue Light Card, the UK’s number one discount service for emergency services, the NHS, social care workers, and armed forces, which now has more than three million members across the UK.
Blue Light Card works with over 16,500 partners including the likes of Spotify, Toby Carvery, Hotels.com, Cineworld, Sky, EE, and Halfords, providing savings, discounts, and benefits that often aren’t available to the general public. In 2022 alone, Blue Light Card holders saved over £250 million on everything from holidays and days out to groceries and utilities.
Ross Hall-Galley, Commercial Director at Blue Light Card, is part of the Senior Leadership Team and will be presenting an award at the PMAs. As someone who is relatively new to the affiliate marketing space, Hall-Galley is prepared to make the most out of what’s on offer at the PMAs this year, and he sat down with Hello Partner to share his excitement.
What categories are you most excited about at the PMAs this year?
The first one that jumps out to me is the ‘Partnership for Good’ award. It’s a new category and one that we were really keen on, and obviously, we've been shortlisted!
Blue Light Card is all about giving back to the people that need it most, and so we know that without our community of members and the emergency service workers that are here to help us, everything would die. This award is focused on doing something good, and that really resonated with us, as that’s what the whole business is based on, it reflects our culture and our purpose.
Why do you think these achievements are important to be recognised by the industry?
Clearly we're all businesses and commercial people, but sometimes it's more than that. The PMAs give us something that's deeper than just commercial relationships. I think that's really important, especially in the cost of living crisis when times are tough and we’ve got nurses on strike.
This is a global cost of living crisis though, everybody is struggling in some way and feeling the pinch. We've got global warming issues and we've got many different problems around the world, which means it’s important to focus on something that's done for good rather than done for profit or done for commercial gain. Again, it just ties back to what Blue Light Card is all about, with that purpose to help our community.
You will be presenting an award on the night on behalf of Blue Light Card, how does it feel to be introduced into the industry with such a warm welcome?
It's amazing. I'm new to the industry, I only joined Blue Light Card back in August last year, and this is my first role in performance marketing. I think the welcome I've had into the industry has been great.
There's some fantastic people I've met already and I'm really excited to connect with my colleagues from across the industry at different events like this and be able to stand up there to present this award. And of course congratulations to whoever has been successful in that category!
You’re someone who is relatively new to affiliate marketing. What were some of the first things you learnt about the industry as a new starter?
It was interesting to learn just how big the industry is. I think from the outside looking in, you don't understand the size of the industry or the power it has. I’ve learnt how commercially beneficial partnerships could be for publishers, advertisers, and for the member base of the different publishing groups.
Subconsciously you know the industry is there, but it's at the back of your mind until you're working it. When you’re actually in the industry, you see all these partnerships, affiliate relationships, and performance marketing relationships that before you probably wouldn’t have understood. I’ve now learnt what they achieve and the value of the industry.
How do you think the industry as a whole can improve in terms of education? Do you think there should be more resources and information out there for new starters, for example, to adapt easier?
Yes, we should always be looking at how to evolve and find better use of data anywhere that we can improve. Using analytics to help people understand the benefits of the industry is really beneficial, and I think it's fairly advanced within the affiliate space, but there is certainly more that we can do.
I think there are now more networking opportunities which is important. Again, with what Hello Partner is doing is really great with events like Summer Roadshow, PI LIVE Miami and Europe, and the PMAs. I hope we do more of that to understand the various challenges and also have opportunities to work together as we evolve in a tech world. That collaborative work and those working relationships are really important to overcome the industry’s challenges, as well as to maximise opportunities.
What are some of the affiliate trends that are really standing out to you at the moment? Has anything in particular attracted your interest?
Well what we’re doing at Blue Light Card is looking at deep app-to-app integration and driving that customer acquisition for different parties. We've developed some technology called BLC Verify which we can embed in our partners’ apps and websites to help them verify our member base.
That's really interesting because it does a lot of things, but most importantly it helps capture first party data and reduce discount abuse. I think it represents a different way of working, as we’re moving away from a traditional code, in-store card or voucher to a proper deep data integration which reduces fraud, collects better data, and then uses that data to drive additional performance.
Does Blue Light Card have anything exciting coming up in the year ahead?
We've recently launched in Australia back in October, that's growing rapidly and it’s a really exciting part of our business. We’re taking the ethos of Blue Light Card UK and giving our emergency service workers in Australia the same benefit and discounts that we provide in the UK.
More recently we launched our own charity foundation, the Blue Light Card Foundation, and we're really excited to give back to our member base and help our members when they need it most.
The ceremony hall famously attracts 700+ brands, agencies, networks, publishers, advertisers and more spanning the entire affiliate and performance marketing realm. We can’t wait to enjoy the celebrations and congratulate the award winners on 11th May at Grosvenor House, London. Stay tuned for our winners’ article and more content coming from the Performance Marketing Awards 2023!