Blue Ribbon Panel Interview: Nicolas Chrétien by Chris Trayhorn, Publisher of mThink Blue Book, March 17, 2016 Interview: Nicolas Chrétien How is big data going to impact the performance marketing industry?I don’t agree with the future-tense implication that big data hasn’t yet made its impact—because it has. It’s impacting the performance marketing industry everyday. Indeed, it’s more than an impact — one might even say it’s a revolution. Business intelligence and big data has completely transformed the way we’re looking at web marketing today. I remember when I first started almost 15 years ago: we were lucky if we had a basic profile and a basic understanding of the traffic at the time. Nowadays, everything has changed. Big data reveals the bigger picture and lets us know where we should reign in our energy and focus to get the most out of all the rising markets, verticals, and trends. Big data has become an invaluable tool and should be taken into consideration before, after, and during any important campaign. In other words, marketing campaigns should be evaluated through data-based decisions. It’s essentially the difference between what we feel should work (the way we used to work in web marketing not so long ago) and what has proven to convert and should continue to convert in targeted markets corroborated on the data-based trends witnessed. That’s why every serious web marketing business should invest in a powerful DMP (Data Management Platform). That’s what our team did 3 years ago and it has paid dividends for us: we’ve increased our overall ROI drastically and reduced our overall CPA significantly. What did you learn from ASW? ASW has proven yet again to be the industry event no one wants to miss. It’s always a pleasure to fly south to gather with all our partners and friends in Vegas, the great entertainment capital of the world, especially during the cold Canadian winter! The CrakRevenue team spent most of its time at the Meet Market where the number and the variety of companies, verticals and business opportunities were more than impressive. We also had the pleasure of meeting a fair share of promising startups that made their way to Vegas for the first time ever – but that didn’t stop them from having creative marketing strategies to share! This confirmed what we already knew: that the web marketing Industry continues to grow year in and year out, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be along for the ride in such a wonderful and exciting industry. 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?Investing in proprietary platforms remains complex, expensive, and inherently risky as the company grows and there comes the need for the resources of a company to be technology efficient. In this context, solutions like Tune and Cake have a strategic advantage thanks to the stability of their infrastructure. However, they obviously can’t rely only on their basic infrastructure alone anymore. These platforms need to keep developing new features as client requests for new tools and features is everly rampant; however, they won’t really have the choice to develop these new optimization tools if they wish to continue being profitable for their clients in the long-run. Over the last two years has it become harder or easier for newbie affiliates to enter the industry and make money? Why?Once again, what you’ll witness will depend on one’s overall corporate strategy. For example, we at CrakRevenue, we have always taken on new affiliates just starting out, even during our platform’s famous beta stage. However, throughout the years we’ve invested a lot in our Support team and the entire team behind the onboarding process, Now, with the launch of our Knowledge Base, Blog, and all the informational resources that we provide — we can say proudly that we’re a beginner-friendly network. We’ve guided thousands of affiliates at various stages in their affiliate ‘careers’ and helped them reach the point of a skilled marketer earning regular bi-monthly payouts earning a solid living thanks to web marketing. Of course, if you only rely on short-term ROI, this approach may seem completely aberrant. However, the business relations we’ve developed with these professional web marketers over the years is totally worth the investment. These affiliates are the core of our business and – since we began ourselves as affiliates – we’ll always be willing to help them enter the industry and make some money (which – by the way – is not about to fade anytime soon in this industry!). 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 is your track record with top brands?One thing you really want to make sure is that you’re going to work with professionals. If the network you’re about to work with has no experience with clients as big and demanding as you, you should be careful. 2. What is your reach potential, segmentation & targeting options?You really want to make sure that you’ll reach your target. You want to be able to test and learn then scale up and boost profitability. You may want to start broader but then narrow down your targeting. If it is too broad your campaign won’t be efficient. If you find the right targets, whether it’s by demo, geo, content type or device, you’ll want to scale it up. For that you need reach and volume. A network like ours delivering over 50 billion impression every month will likely be much more suitable for a big brand than a smaller network limited to a few million impressions. 3. What is your work ethic?You not only want to work with honest and transparent partners, but hardworking & motivated ones who you know will be bringing something to the table. You want your prospective partners to have fire in their eyes. At the end of the day, it’s all about having creative, team-oriented, and keenly astute individuals on your team that you’ll be proud to call partners. AboutNicolas Chrétien is the Co-founder and President of CrakRevenue, an industry-leading company in web traffic monetization. At the head of business development, Nick understands the business side of things better than anyone and knows just what a great partnership takes. Unafraid to go against the grain, Nick has led CrakRevenue to new heights. For over 9 years now, he has redefined boundaries in the industry and has had unparalleled ambition in bringing emerging technologies to the forefront With a passion for numbers and a flare for design, Nick has formed long-lasting partnerships that make CrakRevenue what it is today. Filed under: Blue Book, Bluebook Magazine, Bluebook Story, Interviews Tagged under: affiliate marketing, affiliate networks, Interviews About the Author Chris Trayhorn, Publisher of mThink Blue Book Chris Trayhorn is the Chairman of the Performance Marketing Industry Blue Ribbon Panel and the CEO of mThink.com, a leading online and content marketing agency. He has founded four successful marketing companies in London and San Francisco in the last 15 years, and is currently the founder and publisher of Revenue+Performance magazine, the magazine of the performance marketing industry since 2002.