Having worked every end of the spectrum in affiliate marketing, from designing my own Amazon affiliate sites to running a major brand management campaign, I have to say I felt ASW was a excellent snapshot of the industry at its current state while leaving plenty of room for introspection about an exciting future. It is truly an industry that is under the radar to most online shoppers, but one glimpse at the energy fueling the human capital behind affiliate marketing, you can’t help but ponder how you can get in on the action.
I had the pleasure of attending the conference not only with a reputable digital agency on my nametag, but also representing very well know clients, whom I personally oversee their ecommerce efforts. In more ways than one, I used this to my advantage to seek out various industry game changers and true innovators that I thought would make highly valuable partners in the ecommerce world. I was surprised by the level of intellectual ingenuity and outright passion I came across from even the most random people that sat next to me during breakfast or lunch. Even more so in the exhibit halls where the booth to the right might be a small start up trying to prove itself to the world and the booth to the left is Google, which has nothing to prove at all.
There was one point above all others stuck in my head- affiliate communication. Sounds simple enough, but I manage thousands of affiliates, and I have to admit, sometimes I struggle to reply to every request.
Sitting in a panel discussion, a solo blogger/affiliate took to the stand and directly asked a digital marketing manager from a major international brand why it was so difficult to get the attention of his staff when she had questions or problems with the brand’s affiliate assets. The room went silent, but I could see where she was coming from- she relied on her website to make a living and had underestimated the responsive nature of the merchant. The manager took her comment with a grain of salt, but I could see he was caught off guard, as would anyone of his stature. This was a real gut check for me because I am aiming to bring my client’s affiliate program to the level of the panel participant. Managing thousands of affiliates can be a hefty job, but this moment stands out to me as something I never want to be on the receiving end of. It proved to me that if any one of the thousands of affiliates I have under my thumb needs some help, I need to be there, or else the one day I think I have it all figured out and volunteer to sit in on panel discussion, I to will be peppered from a disgruntled blogger. Not good.
Additionally, I discovered tips and tricks on how to use affiliate marketing in everything from email campaigns to shopping cart abandonment tools. There are definitely exciting technologies coming out in affiliate marketing that will enable brands participating with LEAP’s affiliate program to make a significant gains in online market share.
Hosted by Caesars Casino and sponsored by Share-A-Sale, an industry leader affiliate platform, the Affiliate Summit West conference was in Las Vegas, NV January 13th – 15th, 2013.
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