On 3rd April 2019, Rakuten Marketing hosted its annual flagship UK event, DealMaker London, at The Brewery. Previously known as Symposium, DealMaker London delivered a mix of strategy sessions and innovative keynotes. Networking was also key to the event, with our immersive DealSpace for performance marketing leaders to build their online initiatives and form new business relationships.

With over 600 advertisers, publishers, agencies, and followers of the performance marketing industry in attendance, DealMaker London also welcomed the Golden Link Awards for the first time ever to the UK. Keep reading ahead for key insights into what’s on the cards for Rakuten Marketing, the current climate of the performance marketing industry, and what affiliate marketing will face next.


For the first time ever, we will be taking DealMaker to Germany. Register your free DealMaker Munich 2019 ticket here!


The Future is Now

A screenshot of a tweet with Julie Van Ullen presenting.

Tweet showcasing Julie Van Ullen

To kick off the day, Abi Jacks, Senior Marketing Director EU, welcomed attendees into The Brewery and gave an overview as to what to expect from DealMaker London 2019. Not before long, Rakuten Marketing’s own Anthony Capano, MD EMEA, and Julie Van Ullen, GM Mid-Market Americas,  took to the stage for their session, Tune Into 2019. Together, they covered globalisation and international expansion, whilst exploring the importance of innovation and experience in a changing landscape.

Discussing the current affiliate marketing playfield, Anthony emphasised that brands must be prepared to prioritise AI in their marketing strategies. He spoke about how these brands also want more support with innovation, effectiveness, scale, and expansion – a key area that he says isn’t possible without a mix of global and local publisher teams.

Off the back of Anthony’s talk, Julie continued to discuss the tools, teams, and tech for change in 2019. Highlighting how Rakuten Marketing embraces change because the consumer expects it, Julie also expanded on the concept of programmatic affiliate. Introducing our new business model – Accelerate – the key learning from Julie is that Rakuten Marketing is reconnecting digital advertising in a world that’s tuned out, by creating experiences people enjoy and want to opt in to.

Deliver True Business Results with Data

Continuing from Julie and Anthony’s findings on the current affiliate marketing industry, Doug Ker, CEO of Meli Melo, and Nicholas Fletcher, VP of Client Success at Rakuten Marketing teamed up to discuss Meli Melo’s brand story, and how Rakuten Marketing’s multichannel approach has played a vital role in the business’ success.

Doug detailed the origins and story of his and his wife’s luxury handbag brand, including their partnership with Rakuten Marketing. Doug discussed that Rakuten Marketing’s data-driven and business-results focused approach to performance marketing restored confidence in marketing spend, enabled the implementation of an intelligent marketing strategy, and ultimately huge growth in domestic and international markets. Nick then continued to provide further detail on how Meli Melo achieved its aims by limiting the number of KPIs, using data to invest in the right areas, and not pitting marketing channels against each other.


Looking to get clued-up on the German market? Never fear – registration for DealMaker Munich 2019 is now open!


The New Rules of Ecomm Engagement

Head of Retail at Stylus and founding member of the Digital Anthropology Lab, Katie Baron, presented The New Rules of Ecomm Engagement alongside Rakuten Marketing’s own Abi Jacks, Senior Marketing Director EU. Discussing how key e-commerce trends impact consumers’ relationships with technology, Katie explored the rise of built-in product purchasing functionality for brands, and the importance of brands making empathetic connections with their consumers.

Innovation at Our Core

Diversity and innovation are at the core of Rakuten Marketing. DealMaker London 2019 hosted 5 quick-fire presentations from publishers as part of the Publisher Innovation Sessions, aimed towards digital marketers looking to diversify their affiliate strategy. Representatives from Yieldify, Honey, Mapp Digital, Smarterclick, and The Groupon Reach Network presented their thoughts and findings on their approach to five key challenges for 2019, customer journey optimisation, reducing basket abandonments, and breaking away from ‘the pack’.

Key Learnings From the Strategy Sessions

To kick off the afternoon portion of DealMaker London 2019, thought leaders from Rakuten Marketing presented three different topics.

The Rise of Programmatic Affiliate

Presented by Katie West, Senior Director of Product Strategy and Product Marketing, and Jeremy Coster, VP Client Growth, Rakuten Marketing’s programmatic affiliate solution was discussed. Exploring how programmatic affiliate revolutionises the industry, Katie touched on how using AI gives marketers insights into their affiliate strategy. Following Katie, Jeremy gave more detail on the Rakuten Marketing products available now and in the near future that are bringing programmatic affiliate into reality.

To find out more about programmatic affiliate, download our whitepaper here.

Accelerate – A New Model for Affiliate

Briefly mentioned by Julie Van Ullen during Tune Into 2019, Emma Davis, Director IMS, and David Hardy, VP Strategic Services detailed what Rakuten Marketing’s new business model Accelerate is during their strategy session. Defined by Emma as a fully managed programme that combines Rakhee and Druhve presenting at DealMaker London 2019the very best of human and machine, Accelerate is about using data and artificial intelligence to drive machine learning in affiliate programmes.

International Expansion

Delivering the last piece of content at DealMaker London 2019, Rakhee Jogia, VP Strategic Partnership & Supply, and Kim Mark, Senior Director, Strategy, covered international expansion. Detailing the importance of cross-border e-commerce, Kim highlighted how consumers on a global scale are unaware of the existence of certain products and services because the offers associated are not localised or personalised. The key takeaway from this, as stated by Rakhee, is that time taken to understand the market and client needs is time well-spent.

DealMaker: Doing Exactly What the Name Suggests

The event wouldn’t be called DealMaker if no deals were made. With an entire area dedicated to our 600+ attendees, the aptly titled DealSpace had two dedicated sessions throughout the day, complete with access to publishers, advertisers, agencies, and dozens of stands.

Golden Link Awards 2019

2019 marked the first time that the Golden Link Awards were hosted in the UK. After being successfully run in our APAC and US networks for over 10 years, the awards took place directly after DealMaker London 2019 at The Brewery. With 10 awards up for grabs, attendees celebrated the great work of our advertisers, publishers, and agencies across the network.

To find out who won big at the Golden Link Awards 2019, be sure to read our blog post here.


Thank You to Our Sponsors

And of course, a massive thank you to our headline sponsors – Honey and Stylight – and all of our DealMaker London 2019 sponsors – Student Beans, Sparheld, Dealmoon, Smarter Click, JoingPiggy.com, Mapp Digital, NMPi, Bilenti, The Groupon Reach Network, Marine Conservation Society, PerformanceIn, AffiliateSummit, Yieldify, Quidco, Soreto, MyTheresa, Cult Beauty, TOMS, and Stylus.

See you next time!

We hope to see you at our next DealMaker event! If you couldn’t quite make it to DealMaker London 2019, you’re in luck: our DealMaker events run globally, with our next one taking place in Munich on 16th May 2019. Find out how to register for your free ticket here.