1. What did you learn from ASW? 

A couple of the many valuable ASW takeaways included meeting with members of  the Performance Marketing Association (PMA) and learning about their latest endeavors in elevating our industry. This includes their work to standardize how we recognize content sites compliant with FTC disclosure requirements; the PMA has also recently put out an attribution case study for marketers and educational points for enabling healthy competition. In attending the sessions, I learned the latest social marketing strategies that social affiliates are successfully implementing, including securing influencer relationships for advertiser brands. I also learned that next ASW, I need not forget to throw a pair of flats in my bag.

2. How is big data going to impact the performance marketing industry?
To remain competitive in a quickly evolving space, affiliate marketers will need to leverage deep data points, such as KPIs across various channels and devices, to continuously optimize their marketing activities. Take the increasingly important topic of attribution, for example. Savvy marketers will analyze and anchor from deep data points as they make key attribution decisions. This includes understanding how fraud factors into their strategy, how different affiliate segments perform with alternative approaches and other customizable solutions that may create better outcomes for all. Likewise, to compete as solution providers today, networks will need to leverage the massive big data available to blaze new territory and continuously identify new opportunities for technological advancements.

3. As networks begin to announce new optimization platforms, exchanges and “operating  systems,” does this mean that investment in proprietary platforms will become a key competitive advantage again? Can commodity platforms like Tune and Cake keep up?

Given the unique complexities of each online retailer’s business model, goals through their affiliate relationships and desired outcome through the affiliate channel in general, a one-size-fits all solution becomes less favorable. It is less adept at solving these singular pain points. Further, a key advantage of our performance marketing space is the efficiency of the marketing spend: pay only for what performs. A one-size-fits all approach may not align nicely here. By nature of a commodity platform, marketers may pay for features not applicable to them, or, the reverse—not get the ‘out of the box’, individual features they seek for their specific challenges. While a commodity platform may definitely be a win for some, these platforms may not line up with the always-innovating, efficiency-first advantages inherent to affiliate marketing.

4. Over the last two years has it become harder or easier for newbie affiliates to enter the industry and make money? Why?

Seemingly easier, but newbies should be dubious. Numerous online experts and gurus purport to train newbies with the latest starter kit to begin making online millions. Industry conferences often cater to beginners with access to super affiliates and with the in-depth session topics offered. Consequently, the ease of succeeding online is often overstated. This places the onus on the beginner to do due diligence in understanding the integrity and quality of their information source.

5. If you were a CMO for a major brand, what would be the three most important questions that you would ask prospective network partners?

  1. What other merchants do you work with in my vertical and how successful are their programs?
  2. What specifically differentiates your affiliate network from the abundance of other networks in the performance space?
  3. What are your technological advantages with regards to attribution, cross platform tracking, mobile—and talk to me about turn-key solutions for my specific pain points?Bonus: If I call, will you answer?

Jackie is a zealous marketer with nine years of marketing leadership experience at LinkConnector. She’s been with the company since they opened doors in 2004, loyal to the power of LC’s visionary technology like online attribution and coupon compliance capabilities. As Director of Marketing, she drives PR and marketing strategy for new LC technologies and features and also works directly with key LC customers to maximize their growth using LC’s platform. Jackie has a background and love of all things content, search and social. Offline, she teaches Hot Hatha yoga and loves rough-housing with her two sons.