Affiliate Management Days 2014 A Huge Success

It shocks me to this day that every affiliate manager on the planet is not flocking to Affiliate Management Days first chance they get. Some of the worlds biggest brands and most brilliant minds come together to share their expertise, network in an intimate setting and grow their skill sets together from an affiliate management and growth standpoint.

This was All Inclusive Marketing‘s fifth time speaking at AMDays. In my opinion, this was the best show yet, and if you’re an affiliate manager or marketing manager responsible for your affiliates, do not miss another show. 

The food was great, the people even better, and the content was bang on. I spent the first day with my clients from Norton (Symantec) filming industry veterans on the value and benefits of affiliate marketing for businesses today. The gold nuggets that came out of every corner were incredible and I was elevated by the potential this industry will bring to the world once the positive message of what we do, that no other channel can do, gets out.

On the second day I was able to listen to some fantastic sessions. I also spoke on the second day and had three of the greatest compliments of the last decade shortly after my presentation, all of which meant the world to me:

1. The Global Affiliate Manager of one of the world’s most loved brands (which rhymes with Snapple) told me he found my session extremely useful and that he took a lot out of it, only to follow up with an invitation to have my book, The Art of Performance Marketing (coming out later this year), set up in their bookstore.

2.  A Gentleman who works for one of the largest camera brands in the world told me he started reading my blog about two years ago, when he felt he already knew everything, and one particular post I put up made him start thinking about things so differently, he was able to change his mindset and learn exponentially more over the last two year because of a shift in perspective, which he got from this blog.

3. Todd Crawford, Co-Founder of Impact Radius, who I find one of the smartest people in our industry and who Keynoted at AMDays this year, told me he learned about 10 new things from my session. I thought he was being sarcastic but he assured me he was being entirely sincere. There were multiple pieces of information in my session he had never heard or thought of before. As someone I truly admire for his accomplishments and contributions to this industry, that meant a lot to me.

All in all, between the opportunity to meet phenomenally smart people who I learned more from, the relationships I built with key industry leaders and the opportunity to give back to truly push this industry forward made this event incredibly worthwhile.

If you’re like to see the notes from the show, check out hashtag #AMDays on twitter. Congrats to Geno Prussakov for putting on such an important and useful event.

If you are a merchant in the affiliate marketing space and you haven’t been to this show yet, this is a must attend event. It covers everything you need to be successful as a program manager and team leader. I hope to see you there!

Developing and Implementing an Affiliate Marketing Calendar

This is a live blog post from an #AMDays session presented by Karen Garcia of GTO Management.

It doesn’t matter what size company you work at, a simple marketing calendar can be your digital helpers and reminder for planning and executing a consistent marketing strategy for your company or client.

A Solid Calendar reduces stress, provides visibility, gives you more freedom, diminishes crises, allows for proactive creativity.

“Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even through they rarely stick to their plan” – Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

 

Your Current Marketing Plan

Best is proactive plan done well in advance, campaigns meet or exceed expectations regularly, track and reviews detailed KPIs regularly and tests new things consistently.

Neutral plans are attempted but not well executed, perform alright, track basic KPIs and revied only accosionally and sometimes test changes.

The worst plans are all reactive or non existent, no KPIs are tracked, nothing is tested. So just do your best to do your best proactive plan.

 

Where do you start? Make a list.

You – make a list of everything you do on a day to day basis. If you’re not sure what you do, write down in a journal for three days every task you do, and you will be able to identify your task list.

Then make an exhaustive list of all the things you want to do, whether you’re currently doing them or not.

Internal – obtain available marketing plans from other internal channels. Review last year’s affiliate activities. Look through reports, emails and newsletters. Review last year’s activities in other channels (social, blogs, customer newsletters, etc)

Your competition – review competition’s affiliate activities, affiliate newsletters are often publicly available. Review competitions customer newsletters. Not signed up? Do that now. Also, set up Google Alerts, review competitions social media and blog for additional ideas.

 

Look at holidays that are NOT traditional.

  • Super Bowl Sunday
  • March Madness
  • International Tabletop Day
  • No Pants Day
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 

Traditional Holidays you should also be ready for:

  • New Years Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Back to School
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday / Cyber Monday
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas
Everything you do falls into one of two categories – Granular and Big Picture. If you don’t put the big things first you’ll never get them in at all. Examine details of “big picture” campaigns and create an outline. This should include objectives and goals, messaging, literature and collateral creation, other needed resources (graphics designer, coding, etc), other channel plans – and work backwards from launch date.

 

Here’s a sample campaign – Father’s Day

Objective and Goals:
  • Get affiliates to promote products for Father’s Day
  • Increase sales from last June by 20%
Messaging
  • Consumer Message: Fun for Dad, Father’s Day in June 17th
  • Affiliate message: Father’s day gift Guides and Banners
Literature and collateral creation
  • Ned new banners, create gift goes, blog post, newsletter
Other needed resources (graphic designer, coding, etc)
  • Update data feed with new products
  • Father’s Day holiday shipping deadlines
Other Channel Plans
  • New Top Sellers list
  • Consumer email dates.
  • Twitter Campaigns
(now do this, but put it in spreadsheet format) Use Brandeo.com to help you create your marketing calendars.
Drill Down
Now that you have your big picture, drill down into the smaller supporting, granular tasks you need to track:
Recruiting – look to niches that support your upcoming project, but  don’t forget other key affiliate demographics
Delegation – determine who is responsible for various resources, such as graphics and determine their deliverable timeline
Reporting – What are your important KPIs for this campaign? What is your measure for overall success.
If you don’t know what your metrics are for reporting, your campaign has already failed. You need to know what your measures are for success. Keep track of those metrics and attach them to your campaigns so you remember how they performed. Think of your affiliate marketing calendar as a taxonomy chart. Drill down as far as you need, but continue to keep the big picture in mind.

 

Contest Strategy Calendar

Develop your content in advance
  • If you publish daily, complete content 2-5 days in advance
  • If you pushes 2 times a week, complete content 2 weeks ahead
What goes on the calendar?
  • Content Title
  • Author
  • Publication Date
  • Publication Status
  • Destination (blog, print, facebook, twitter, newsletter, etc)
  • Notes
  • Any other process you require like legal reviews, images, approvals, etc
  • Metrics.
Use Daily Task Lifehack from Neville Medhora of AppSumo to stay organized. Work with your affiliates one on one to ensure the timing is right and they get to be the first ones to announce deals to end users.

Recap of the New Affiliate Management Days Conference 2012 #AMDays

Sarah Bundy Speaking at Affiliate Management Days ConferenceToday is my first day back after attending the first Affiliate Management Days conference inSan Francisco, which I believed to be a great success for Geno Prussakov‘s first show ever. #AMDays is a conference dedicated solely to the education and advancement of affiliate managers from around the world. I had the privilege (and challenge) of live blogging the entire conference for SarahBundy.com, Small Business Trends and the AMDays Blog itself. Here is a quick access list to the sessions I live blogged during the show:

Sarah Bundy blogging at the first annual Affiliate Management Days show

Sarah Bundy live blogging at Affiliate Management Days show

 

  1. The Science of Influence And Persuasion by John Greathouse, a partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage web-based businesses.
  2. Newest Adware and Affiliate Marketing Abuses by Ben Edelman, Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School
  3. Using Web Analytics to Grow Your Affiliate by Kevin Webster, Internet Marketing Manager at Forbes Custom Products
  4. Panel: Inside the Mind of a Super Affiliate featuring Super Affiliates Tony Pantano of IMWave (search publisher), Kim Rowley of KIMarketing (super blogger) and Kiva Kumar of TheFind.com (shopping engine).
  5. Maximize Your Affiliate ROI with Checkout Optimization by Linda Bustos from Elastic Path Software
  6. Educating Internal Business Teams About Affiliate Marketing by Ryan Diehl of Best Buy
  7. Affiliate Marketing for Facebook by by Marc Phillips of Skumatic
  8. Leveraging Online Video for Affiliate Programs by John Greathouse of Rincon Venture Partners
  9. How to Effectively Reach & Engage Bloggers by Jenny Williams of Skimlinks
  10. Leveraging the “Offline” Channels by Keynote Jason Spievak, CEO of Ring Revenue
  11. Trends & Innovations in the Affiliate Marketplace by Google’s Ali Pasha
  12. Types and Value of Affiliates – Keys to Running a Healthy, Profitable Affiliate Program by Kush Abdulloev of VMInnovations
Sarah Bundy speaking at the affiliate management days show

Sarah Bundy speaking at AMDAYS

All in all I was very impressed by the caliber of speakers and appreciated the intimate setting of about 100 attendees. This gave me the greatest opportunity to network with high caliber people in the industry.

I also got to speak at the show on How to Recruit Super Affiliates – and several people approached me after including the affiliate managers from Best Buy, Ancestry.com and Sandals Resorts (who won our free affiliate program audit worth $500) to name a few.

It was great to meet such fun and interesting people. I will definitely be back next year. This is the perfect show for those interested in furthering their affiliate management expertise, professional development and connections with respected colleagues.

Trends & Innovations in the Affiliate Marketplace – Live Blog Post from AMDays

I’m live blogging in a few different places this week while at Affiliate Management Days (the new affiliate management conference in San Francisco) and so far I’ve found it to be really fun and interesting. I’m sitting in a session called Trends & Innovations in the Affiliate Marketplace being taught by Google’s Ali Pasha.

I have to leave early, but here are my take aways from the first 20 mins of this session:

  • Google affiliate network spends 70% of their time thinking about what will move the needle and push the limits to trends and innovation optimization.
  • Top three focuses: Social, Mobile and Commerce

 

Social

  • Social was actually started by PC Flowers and Gifts (they had about 2300 affiliates in 1996) and they recognized the gap between communications – especially between multiple people at the same time.
  • The new kind of affiliate is the social affiliate – and especially if CELEBRITIES become affiliates themselves. Not only will they create a ton of cash, but their followers will benefit from riding the coat tails of celebrity product endorsements.
  • Make sure as an affiliate manager you’re providing affiliates with tools they can use in the social space. Think of how the promotions would look as an end product and provide what they need to help them achieve that look.
  • Think about fashion bloggers and mom bloggers and provide tools that make their posting faster and easier than past.
  • Create a social presence – offer your followers incentives  – engage with partners building social
  • Follow this lead from customers: Demand – Ideation – Production – Distribution (Threadless.com is extremely successful at this – they speak with your community FIRST, then design the product and make it)
  • Shapeways.com executes well on nurturing a community to harness ideas and creating products based on that need
  • “Turn social data into doing”
  • Enable users to get connected with your product early

 

Mobile

  • Make sure your conversion tracking works!
  • Tables are here to stay – they are DIFFERENT from “mobile” – you do not use tables when you’re on the go and does not have the same constraints as a true “mobile” device (have separate experience for tables / mobile)
  • People who are on tables are more likely to buy than someone on their phone therefore focus on these first
  • HowtogoMo.com helps you evaluate how good your site is to go mobile
  • 93% of US retail shopping is still done offline – 70% use a smartphone while shopping in store
  • Google wallet will help increase conversions on mobile and tablet devices as you no longer have to carry your wallet – have the info in your phone and even connect it so you always collect loyalty points through your purchase. This can be done even for offline sales.
  • RingRevenue.com and RevTracks.com work with Google to help leverage the affiliate marketing channel.
  • Offer complimentary “online” “offline experiences for customers that can be leveraged by affiliates

 

Tips

  • Track your shopping cart abandonment rate, then create a coupon strategy around fixing that.
  • Segment everything – so you can track and make better decisions going forward
That’s all I have time for at the moment. Must go feed the baby. Will post on the Types and Value of Affiliates by Kush Absulloev of VMInnovations next!

First Ever Affiliate Management Conference: Affiliate Management Days 2012

Affiliate Management Days 2012There has been some hustle and bustle the last few weeks with some great affiliate related conferences coming up over the next couple of months. Affiliate Summit West 2012 (#ASW12) is just around the corner and with thousands of attendees it’s bound to be another great show.

However something new has come into the space recently that also deserves some attention. Affiliate Management Days 2012 (#AMDays), the industry’s first conference targeted specifically toward affiliate managers and business owners looking to get into the space, will be held in San Francisco on March 8th and 9th.

This event is part of the Data Driven Business Week and will be made up of two full days of informational sessions related to properly and effectively managing affiliate programs. The list of speakers is impressive, ranging from Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners to Ben Edelman, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Business School.

This event will be a new “must attend” for affiliate managers looking to properly optimize their programs, improve their skills, keep up with industry issues, trends, industry benchmarks and best practices.

Some of the topics will include Trends & Innovations in Affiliate Marketplace (presented by Ali Pasha of Google), Top 10 Tips for Combatting Affiliate Fraud (presented by Joanna Lord of SEOmoz), and The Latest Tricks, Traps & Techniques Black Hat Affiliates are Using to Cheat Your Affiliate Program (presented by David Naffziger of BrandVerity) as examples. I personally will be doing a session on How to Find & Recruit Super Affiliates Into Your Program. You can find the entire conference agenda here.

I think it’s an important time for a conference like this to be introduced into the marketplace. With the mass expansion of affiliate programs and few affiliate managers having the experience to be a strong leader and thoroughly effective in their work, it’s about time a conference dedicated to the betterment of affiliate management was put forward.

I’m personally looking forward to checking it out. Like affiliate summit in the early days, I feel it will grow year over year and contribute to the betterment of merchant affiliate programs and the affiliate marketing industry around the world.

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