Does a merchant or an advertiser need a digital marketing/ad agency in addition to their normal affiliate network partner?

The world is full of talented people, so it’s better to get expert assistance with a project and have it done right the first time. It will take them less time to complete the job and you won’t go through the hassle of learning how to do an “adequate” job.

How do you know if you need a digital marketing agency? When it comes to an Internet business, there are only a few things you do “right now” that generate the bulk of your income. What outsourcing gives you is more time. By delegating specific tasks to someone else, you’ll free up several hours each day to get the most important things done. Having a successful affiliate program is not easy, and it is rare for an affiliate program to generate considerable revenue with poor management or no management (“auto-pilot”).

If they sometimes do need both, then where is the dividing line? How should a merchant aim to split the responsibilities?

Outsourcing certain tasks allows merchants to focus on the high-leverage activities. Ultimately, your business will grow because you’re spending more time on the activities that actually make you more money.

You can split the responsibilities by asking the following questions: What do you do each week? Are there certain tasks that distract you from the most important ones? Are there tasks you wish you had more time to complete? Are you struggling to keep up with your to-do list?

What factors should a CMO consider when trying to decide if she should run her own media buying team, let a network buy it for her, or use a dedicated media-buying agency? How to decide?

If you are planning on running your own media buying team, there are several factors to consider, including media buying agencies. They already have the experience, expertise, and knowledge needed to create and manage a successful, well-targeted ad campaign.

A dedicated media-buying agency with years of service and a successful track record can potentially save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of labor per month.

If you were going to launch a business as a publisher today, what business model would you adopt to make money?

In my opinion, content sites with in-depth reviews reach success faster than any other business models. I would personally work on a website that combines a “people helping people” approach, mixed with expert opinions and tools to help the researcher find answers based on their own unique cases.

A successful website would help readers stay out of harm’s way or make a little bit of extra money. It’s not so much about reviewing products; it’s much more about actually helping people.

What geos would you target and why?

I suggest targeting a single Geo at first and make every effort to “own” that space. It is better to target specific Geos with an appropriate solution than to approach several Geos with an “off-the-shelf” solution. However, not all markets within the selected Geo are the same, so we need to learn demographic, geographic, and psychographic variables about the people who have the problem our service solves. The more we know and understand the market we target, the better we can develop messaging strategies. You need to clearly position your service in the minds of your target audience as something designed for them.

As Director of Marketing at, Gus is responsible for the development and growth of the FlexOffers Affiliate Network. Gus managed the affiliate program from its infancy and helped create one of the largest and best run programs on the web. His hard work and dedication has been recognized by his peers and the performance marketing industry with several LinkShare Golden Link Awards. He has 7 Golden Link Awards nominations and is the recipient of Awards for Best Online Merchandising Campaign and Publisher’s Choice in 2007 and LinkShare’ s Golden Link Affiliate Manager of the Year Award in 2010.