1. How long have you been in affiliate marketing and how did you get involved?
I started in direct mail marketing at Publishers Clearing House, back in 1995, and later helped build out the PCH.com online division in 1999. I learned about online marketing on the fly by jumping right in to display and email marketing.
2. Tell us a little bit about your company and what you do over there?
I am the Senior Vice President of Media at MediaWhiz, a full-service integrated digital media agency. I have been here for four years. I built out and help manage the performance marketing practice, including the MonetizeIt affiliate network, co-registration, media buying and hosted program divisions. MediaWhiz is now part of the Hyper Marketing Inc. network of agencies, with both online and offline capabilities.
3. There are already so many CPA affiliate networks out there. What makes your company different?
When I am talking to prospective partners, I don’t just sell an affiliate network, I sell our full product of services. Many agencies are a one-trick pony, with only one expertise. However, MediaWhiz offers brands multiple services, from the aforementioned performance marketing practices, to professional services such as SEM and SEO, reputation management, site hosting and creative work, a Display trade desk and an organic search marketplace.
Speaking specifically to MonetizeIt, our affiliate network, I believe the level of expertise and experience of our team is quite extensive, and not just something that happened overnight. I, personally, have worked in this industry for 10 years. Also, because we’re part of the HMI network, we have access to bigger brands and branded clients that are typically not found at most networks, which is always a plus!
4. In your experience, what are the three most critical elements of run a successful campaign?
Feedback — It’s imperative that there is transparent feedback from both the advertiser and the affiliate. Whether you’re starting a campaign, or tying in results, you need feedback. This needs to work for both the advertiser and the affiliate.
Strategy — What are the goals of the campaign? You can’t just think about how many leads you can generate as quickly as possible and how much money you can make. You want to pursue a relationship that will last for the long haul. We want to come up with a media plan and track all the way through. It doesn’t matter what the metrics are; you have to go out of the gate with the right media plan and strategy based on what client needs.
Financials — This can be something as simple as the credit of a client and how much the client can typically spend. We need to know if they can spend the way we suggest. Do they have budget? Make sure you know what that is so that you can properly scale their campaign.
How long has the client been in business? It is very important that the company knows what their goals are from a digital marketing perspective. Some companies show up with different names every few weeks. This is not the audience for which we want to invest our time.
5. What are the keys to building successful relationships between Affiliates and Affiliate Networks? What are some of the challenges of being an Affiliate Manager/Owner?
Expertise — This is hands down the biggest challenge in the affiliate marketing space. MediaWhiz is fortunate in that we have a lot of internal media channels and internal results to test campaigns. Affiliate managers need to know the space and understand the field. Even if we don’t have feedback on offer yet, we have the expertise to say how we foresee the campaign going based on past experience.
Trust — We show good results and guarantee everything we’ve done is in the best interest for our clients. Even if we cannot perform as needed, we make recommendations to help achieve the common goal.
Financials — Once again a critical element, but in this case paying the publishers is often the challenge. You must take the risk with fronting money to show partnership and trust. We take a “We’re in this for the long haul” mentality to our work with publishers.
6. If you could change one thing about the affiliate industry, what would it be?
I would institute a higher barrier for entry into the affiliate industry. There should be some kind of hurdle to enter the online marketing space. It is too easy for people to sign up and start marketing tomorrow. They can hide behind computer screens and send bad leads without the fear of reprisal. Affiliates should have to pass a test, and if they fail or generate fraud, they should be personally black listed so they cannot run again.