I've just come back from another great Affiliate Summit event and am excited to share my top 5 highlights from the event. In no particular order, here are my personal top 5 favorite things about Affiliate Summit West this year:
1. The People
A record breaking 5000+ attendees made it out to Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas this year. Although many newbie merchants, networks and affiliates made there way around the sessions, meet market and exhibit hall, I was able to meet up with an incredible group of people from various places.
I had the great pleasure of having personal conversations with Shawn Collins and Missy Ward, founders of Affiliate Summit. I had great conversations with top performing affiliates such as Scott Jangro, Todd Farmer (Affiliate Legend), James Martell (Affiliate Super Bootcamp), Tricia Meyer (Sunshine Rewards), Lisa Kennedy (Savings.com), Mike Allen (Shopping-Bargains), Diane Khania (Coupon Cabin), Bill Swartwout (High Noon Marketing) and Sandi Wohlford (FatWallet) to name just a few.
I was able to catch up and have a few laughs with industry veterans Carolyn Kmet (Groupon), Lisa Picarelli (ReveNews), Todd Crawford (Impact Radius), Kim Rowley (Affiliate Legend of the Year) and so many more.
I love this show because of the great caliber of awesome people who attend each year. It's a warm and welcoming place to spend three days while being productive and progressive. Without all the amazing people who attend each year, this event just wouldn't be the same.
2. Eric Thomas, Keynote
Eric Thomas, also known as The Hip Hop Preacher and author The Secret to Success of started the day with an incredibly motivating and inspiring keynote right after the Pinnacle Awards ceremony. Within the first 10 minutes of his talk I was welling up, having to wipe inspired tears from my eyes. What a beautiful soul this guy is, to share his story of success despite his disadvantageous start in life. More importantly, his story was brimming with pride for his children and the successes of others.
I very regrettably had to leave half way through his presentation to attend a meeting I had booked at the same time, but WOW, what a great motivational speaker and overall great human being. I wish there were more people in the world like this who are not afraid to keep going, never quit, and create success for themselves and their family through honest, dedicated hard work and belief in ones-self.
3. SeaWorld's Affiliate Event
OK, maybe it was because we had our baby with us or maybe it's because I'm really just a kid at heart, but the Sea World Affiliate Event thrown by SeaWorld Affiliate Manager, Ashley Edwards was so much fun! A few of the SeaWorld crew, including some amazing birds, reptiles and animals from the park came to show themselves off to the room of giddy attendees. They went over the highlights of their affiliate program and a reminder of why SeaWorld is such an awesome place to visit. A few people got some free SeaWorld day passes (including yours truly) and even got to hold some of the creatures that came to Vegas with the team.
It was a very cool promotional idea on their part and I'm glad we got to have some fun with a few other family and kid oriented people. Regardless, affiliate managers could take note that this tactic brought in some very eager and targeted affiliates who signed up for their program right on the spot.
4. ShareaSale's "Under the Stars" Party
This by far was one of my favorite nights of the entire four days at Affiliate Summit. ShareaSale's president, Brian Littleton, is notorious for throwing awesome parties and he did not disappoint again. The ShareaSale "Under the Stars" Party was held outside of the Paris Hotel right below the Eiffel Tower! The view was spectacular - a clear view of the Bellagio Hotel and fountains across the street. The DJ was awesome, playing music that even the dead would have wanted to dance to, and the free flowing open bar kept people's whistle's wet throughout the night.
Aside from the music and the atmosphere, my personal favorite moments where seeing Brian Littleton in a classy three piece suite and fedora (you looked great, Brian!) and watching a lady roll by with a desert table around her waist. Talk about extravagance! In the words of Missy Ward - those deserts literally went to her hips!
Great job again, Brian. Another successful night by you and the ShareaSale team.
5. AMT Launch Excitement
The most exiting part of the entire show for me personally was the overwhelming positive feedback and excitement around the launch of our new company, Affiliate Management Trainers (AMT). Not only were affiliates thrilled that such a service now exists, helping merchants and affiliate managers learn the business to provide better support and experiences to their affiliate partners, but merchants, networks and even independent industry veterans were interested in the opportunity to further the level of personalized support and education to merchants.
The Merchant Sponsorship Program rewards an "upstanding merchant" for their efforts in working with affiliate partners when following industry best practices and strong business ethics, and was one of the main areas of interest with the AMT launch at the show. Merchants have the opportunity to win a free trip to Affiliate Summit next year through this program, keeping in mind that merchants must be nominated by an affiliate to be considered. The idea is to help better the industry through personalized education and accountability of merchants through "upstanding behavior" as deemed by their affiliate partners.
All in all, the show was another great success and I look forward to attending another Affiliate Summit event again soon!