It’s always hard to fully take in everything from a conference. There are so many people to meet, conversations to have, and things to learn, that it can be tough to retain everything. That’s why I always try to jot down some notes at the end of each day—just to keep reminders about what I learned and what happened over the course of the day. Here are some of the key points I remember from the recent Affiliate Management Days in San Francisco.
It was great to hear thought leaders like Brian Littleton, Brooke Schaaf, Robert Glazer, and others talking about hot button affiliate management topics. In particular, I remember a very productive discussion about the evolution of affiliate marketing. Much like how cell network technology is classified into generations (3G, 4G, etc.), affiliate programs can be categorized similarly. Programs can be classified as 1.0, 2.0, or even 3.0, depending on the level of involvement and management concepts applied.
As the industry advances, we are seeing the newest generation of affiliate programs shifting to more advanced forms of attribution, commission structures, and compliance. From my perspective, that is great to see. When affiliates are appropriately rewarded for the value they add, the industry benefits overall.
A Focus on Education
One of the things that really jumped out to me was the conference’s attention to industry education. There are some very complex challenges that the affiliate industry faces—so I loved hearing the different perspectives from network heads and agency leaders. I recall Chad Waite of AvantLink providing some rather interesting data about affiliate touch points during the sales cycle. His data truly highlighted the complexity of the affiliate channel. On average, the first affiliate touch point comes roughly 55 hours before the final purchase. On top of that, the average sale often involves multiple affiliates.
For me, this reinforced the need for transparency in the affiliate channel. The more that a merchant knows about their affiliates and the value those affiliates provide, the better they can do in attributing sales and distributing the deserved commissions.
Of course, I also spent plenty of time networking as well. This particular group of attendees provoked some strong one-on-one talks. I was fortunate to have some engaging conversations with friends, clients, and new colleagues. The exciting thing about those conversations is that they spanned a great breadth of topics, everywhere from discussing FTC compliance with Rachel Hirsch of Ifrah Law to catching up with Chris Calkin from HasOffers.