What roles have you held throughout your tenure here?
Since joining in 2005, I have held a number of positions. When we were DoubleClick owned, I managed Strategic Accounts. Since then, I have
overseen a variety of functions, as VP of Marketing to EVP of Global Account Management & Business Development and most recently as the
How many countries have you visited on official performics business?
Thirteen with many more to go. Countries visited include Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, India, Italy,
Netherlands, Spain, Singapore, and Switzerland.
What are your hobbies/interests outside the digital media space?
Running, training, paddle boarding and enjoying the fresh air. Cheering for the Wisconsin Badgers and the Chicago Black-
hawks. Spending time with my family, my wife Amy, my daughters Julie, Liza and Grace and my pets Annie and Max.
Name: Michael Kahn
Current City: Chicago
Years with Performics: 8.5
Who was the greatest mentor you’ve ever had and
what leadership lesson has always stuck
with you from that person?
I have been fortunate
enough to have many
great mentors and
teachers who provid-
ed me with leadership
lessons and learning
that I have carried
forward in my career.
my first boss at J. Walter Thompson,
shared with me a question to ask myself
everyday to make sure I am focused on
the most important things regarding
our clients and the value we deliver;
“What have I done today to move the
client’s business ahead?”
Marshall Ross, my partner at Mitchiner,
Ross & Kahn (a creative driven, full search
agency we owned and built in the early
‘90s), taught me that in our business it’s
always about the work. You can fight,
you can disagree but it should always be
about the work product and you should
never be satisfied with it.
Steve Wohlwender, a young Art Direc-
tor at Mitchiner, Ross & Kahn, shared two
sayings that have stuck with me forever.
If you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly.
meant be aggressive,
be confident, be hungry. Be scared or go
home. Which is about coming to work
everyday and pushing the envelope in
our thinking, actions and outputs.
Tom Collinger, Executive Director Me-
dill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Re-
search Initiative & Director Distance
Learning Northwestern U, who provid-
ed the perfect definition of strategy In
consideration of all the possibilities, a
clarified direction for accomplishing the
targeted goal. Tom also shared that we
can make choices every moment as to
whether or not we will act strategically
in the way we connect, communicate
Nick Beil, the person
who hired me at Performics and gave me
the magical words “Land The Plane.” I would
meet with Nick, be a bit too verbose and that
was his perfect call to action.
Kevin Murakami, now at Google and a for-
mer client partner at Bank of America, who
showed me that having high expectations
and a strong sense of humanity can go hand
Daina Middleton, the person who has led
Performics rise to become a leading global
performance marketing agency, and a per-
sonal mentor who has shown me the power
of personal touch.
She also reinforced that even in a data driv-
en world, positioning, packaging, commu-
nications and the written word still count
and maybe more than ever.
Sheldon Kahn, my dad, who worked in the
agency business for 30+ years in Chicago
and was a far better ad man than me. He
taught me the power of the show, of mak-
ing human connections, of humor and,
most of all, keeping it all in perspective.
He taught me the
power of the show,
of making human
connections, of hu-
mor and, most of
all, keeping it all in
If you hadn’t spent your life in the advertising
industry, what career would you
have pursued?I would have been in advertising but as a copy-
writer instead of an account guy. Or I would have
gone deeper into my political science studies
and worked in politics.
name one thing about
Performics’ heritage you
hope always remains in-
tact and one thing you are
eager to see change.
I love that our value lies in driving direct and
attributed revenue for our clients, and that we
have a culture filled with openness, curiosity
and a desire to continuously iterate.
Building on this foundation, I want us to increase
our sense of urgency to evolve, grow and firmly es-
tablish a global leadership position. Our opportunity
is now, and I want to build a high performance culture
that matches the high performance we deliver to our
Over the last few year, Performics
has rapidly expanded globally, now
with a presence in 34 markets. As
you take the reins, what’s in store
for future global expansion?
We will continue to expand our global footprint through
acquisitions, the opening of new offices and the eleva-
tion of our capability.
We are looking at acquisitions today in LATAM, a dynam-
ically growing economic and media marketplace where
we are underrepresented, and Japan, one of the largest
economies in the world where we work through 3rd
party agencies to serve clients in that marketplace. We
will also seek to make strategic acquisitions across other
regions and countries where we can enhance our skill set
or increase our market share. Beyond acquisitions, we will
open new offices this year in Hong Kong and South Africa.
We will further fuel global expansion by building out our
offerings across the network. Priorities include Perfor-
mance Content, Planning/Insight, Analytics/Measure-
ment and mastering driving performance across borders
for multi-national accounts.
What shifts do you think brands can make to better solve for
differently to solve for these needs?
Brands that design strategy from an Owned / Earned
/ Paid evergreen perspective versus a campaign ori-
entation will have a vital leg up on the competition
in realizing true cross channel gains. An Owned /
Earned / Paid view accurately captures the way par-
ticipants engage with a brand across all dimensions
and is the foundation for end to end activation,
measurement and optimization. In a participation
driven marketing environment, cross channel is not
just about media, it is about content, context and
other connection points as well.
Brands should seek agencies that want to know
about the actions that define the audience, and
think about cross channel beyond media or market-
ing campaign investment.
Jim Cutler says to Roger Sterling,“Roger, I know what this company should look like: computer services, media buys pinpointed with surgical accura-
cy... it’s the agency of the future.” Even though spoken in fictional 1969, Cutler is predicting the rise of biddable, real-time, performance-based ad-
vertising. How do you envision Performics’s history, which is deeply rooted in performance media, converging with the recent rise of the“biddable
world”, which has moved beyond paid search to include display, social, and even TV?
MK: It is a space we want to own. Given our roots in biddable and accountable media since our start, this is our natural domain. Today, Performics is focused on building best in class capability and
scale in buying, optimizing and driving performance across all digital biddable media channels (search, social, mobile, display). The Performics of the future will work seamlessly across all biddable
media properties (TV and outdoor too), moving dollars between channels, platforms and screens to drive the best performance/ROI. We will do this through a combination of talent and technolo-
gy, and we will work as a fully integrated, demand generation engine for our clients gaining an ever increasing share of their spend.
It’s 1969 on Mad Men. the agency has just gotten its first computer.