ShareASale’s Director of Client Services Carolyn Tang AKA Catango is one of the most pleasant and knowledgeable individuals in the industry and it was a pleasure to talk to her at the SaS booth, even though there were lots of people there.
As a tradeshow visitor, I’ve got more than my fair share of t-shirts, notepads, pens, paper weights and stationery to last 2.5 lifetimes. I liked how SaS did a little out of the box thinking to provide a photobooth where affiliates took some crazy pics (I’ll post mine later), and thoughtfully gave out baby T-shirts and bears. For affiliates with families or significant others, they’ll likely be seeing the SaS logo on a teddy bear or baby T for some time to come. (a good thing).
It was cool hanging out with top affiliates Colin “Google” McDougall and Ros Gardner over dinner at the Nobu Japanese restaurant at the Hard Rock for the private launch of Jim Lillig’s Offeratti network.
Considering that Colin doesn’t take raw food, it’s a testament to the great food at Nobu that Colin was enjoying the sashimi with the rest of us during the meal. It was also interesting to hear Colin tell his stories about his towed trailer that he rolls out for holidays. And if you’re looking for inspiration as you’re working towards your ideal affiliate lifestyle, Ros has bought a lot of nice toys/trinkets to enjoy the fruits of her labor.
It was great to meet affiliate network Market Leverage‘s marketing manager Dina Riccobono after talking to her over IM and being interviewed for MLTV late last year.
Market Leverage has a proactive outreach and affiliate recruitment program and it’s refreshing to see a network take the intiative in getting to know affiliates. They hosted a dinner at Switch at the Encore hotel, with Market Leverage CEO Mike Jenkins in attendance. It was a great opportunity to talk to affiliate managers Mike Kelly and Jen Fluker to get insight into how affiliate managers operate.
At the dinner, Mike announced the launch of Market Leverage’s greenlinks program, which provides links to video-based affiliate training from the ML website interface.
Jen Goode, better known as JGoode, headed the Affiliate Summit mentors program and did a great job (I believe there were more than 100 mentees in the program). I also had a picture taken with the penguin and nearly kidnapped him. Ah well, maybe next time.
Market Leverage ranks as one of the networks which effectively uses its marketing and branding budget to devastating effect. By contrast, I work with several networks with great affiliates managers, and one corp comm/PR person who isn’t really empowered to do much and/or doesn’t have any real budget to work with.
As networks see affiliate acquisition as part of the affiliate management success formula, doubtless there’ll be more resources channeled towards building a quality affiliate base.
I appreciated Market Leverage’s Digital Media Relations specialist Debby Phillips arranging a discussion with Market Leverage’s founder and CEO Mike Jenkins.
Mike’s certainly savvier than the average network owner (who’s typically a successful affiliate marketer turned network owner). Conducting some research, I’ve found that Mike has been involved in the business management aspects for a number of pretty large listed firms too.
I especially like how he’s constructed a holistic business ecosystem under his PrecisionPlayMedia group – with 3 components – DigitalLeads (an in-house offer production/packaging subsidiary), Market Leverage (the CPA network arm) and InboxBeyond (an email publishing arm) – which is how the top tier CPA networks structure their business.
During the discussion, we also touched on, but haven’t fully resolved the issue of whether the community-building /relationship-building approaches of social marketing via blogs,video will eventually clash head-on with the current incarnation of affiliate marketing, with the mostly shorter emphasis on one-off lead acquisition payout.
It’ll also be interesting to track Market Leverage’s upcoming announcements in the next 2-3 months.
I just had a great discussion with Market Leverage founder and CEO Mike Jenkins about developments in the affiliate marketing industry.
Market Leverage is taking the lead when it comes to relationship building and branding with measures like it’s care package campaign to the top affiliate bloggers, and initiatives like Market Leverage TV. Kudos to Mike and his team for getting on the radar with innovative social marketing strategies.
In the course of our discussion, I was wondering — Will affiliate marketing come to blows with social marketing and social media?
From my discussion with affiliate managers, it seems that the majority of affiliate marketers are only interested in the one-time pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale commission structures. Ask them about revenue share or continuity (eg: subscription/membership) type payouts and they aren’t as keen.
With some bizop offers paying out $100-120 per lead or sale, this could trigger the “quick cash” impulse among some affiliates.
On the other hand, savvy merchants and advertisers would’ve grasped the subtleties of lead generation, building up an leads database and reselling the data or marketing offers to that database, and in many scenarios employing both techniques.
In this case, rev share, especially for a CPA-based network will be a moot point.
This is the business model for “affiliate marketing 1.0″ if you want to apply a label to it.
With social marketing and its technologies like video, social networking, blogging, forums, etc, the emphasis is on building the relationship, forming a community, focusing on the long-term – pretty much a complete opposite to “affiliate marketing 1.0″.
Sure you could just take the tech aspects of social media – the viral marketing, the video and audio which massively increase conversions and leave the relationship benefits at the door. But does that strip social marketing of some of its inherent benefits? Do merely become an updated version of “social engineering” as practised by Kevin Mitnick and others?
It’ll be interesting to see how these initiatives pan out.
Tune in to the Friday Podcast tomorrow to check out the interview with Market Leverage founder Mike Jenkins.