The Value of Affiliate Events:
Of late I have found myself in situations where I am asked to showcase the value of my attendance at affiliate events, not only to my fellow work peers but also clients. I sometimes feel the general opinions on events are that we attend, chat for a bit with someone we know, show face at a selection of sessions and then attend the networking parties at night – of course this is the fun part right?
Despite the fact that the events are extremely well executed, have clear cut agendas, key note speakers, up to date industry news and are renowned in the wider industry as valuable, knowledge sharing events, I can’t seem to shift that reoccurring question; what do you get out of it?
In light of this I wanted to base this post on the value of affiliate events and highlight to all what I, my colleagues, my clients and my industry peers do gain from these events and why it is important to make sure we are attending not only as many as we can, but the right ones.
It’s all about the Sessions:
Personally, the most valuable part of the affiliate events I’ve attended is the speaker sessions. Covering a wide range of topics such as successful and innovative campaigns, emerging markets, international strategies, mobile developments, new opportunities – there is so much to learn from attending and it’s almost difficult to choose which sessions to go to.
I make sure I take notes during the sessions, ask questions that I may want answered, get involved in discussions and once I have this collated information it allows me to create a full de-brief of the event to showcase to my client(s). They can then see the value in their account manager attending. I also feed this information back into the wider company as there is always a strong interest from my peers.
Sessions that are interactive are for me the most memorable. I recently attended the Key Note speaker session on The Evolution of Mobile from a Creative Perspective which was held by Scott Seaborn at the European A4U EXPO, I learnt so much that I didn’t already know about mobile. The presentation and the content of it was so memorable as it was showcased in such an animated form and was extremely visual. This is something I will aspire to achieve if or when my day for presenting finally comes.
Brand exposure is a fundamental aspect of the events specifically if you work at an agency or affiliate network where you are representing your client(s). Some clients can be relatively new to the space, or they may have a program that is not performing to its full capacity. There are many ways to achieve that all important brand awareness and I think representation at events is one of them and therefore essential.
On the flip side of that, coming from within an agency which has recently rebranded it is even more important for the affiliate team to talk about LBi, we were formally known in the industry as bigmouthmedia. We’d built a strong footprint under this brand and it’s now time for us to shout about who we are now and we can reach a lot of people doing this via an industry event.
Although I have been working within the industry for well over a year now I still feel quite a newbie to the performance marketing world and attending events are often the best way for me to find my place. This can be perceived on a new contact basis, but also on an industry profile basis.
Making new contacts and finding new opportunities for my clients is vital, specifically for those that are striving for growth within the space. Like myself, some of my clients can be seen as new to the channel and I have to make sure I am talking to as many affiliates as possible to make them aware of the benefits my client(s) affiliate programs have to offer. Attending speed networking events which are often held at affiliate EXPO’s is a great way for me to not only shout about my client, but find out what they could or should be doing to stay ahead of their game. I made over 15 new contacts during the last speed networking event and that’s 15 new opportunities I may not have been aware of if I hadn’t attended this event.
When we look at how the industry works, having a solid profile within your channel is a powerful asset to have. Not only can you become influential but it can also open up a whole new world of insight that you may not have been involved in should you not be seen to be talking about what’s happening within the channel. Speaking at events is a great way to raise the awareness of what you do and what you can bring to the table.
Working on a Global accounts it’s essential for me to make sure I am keeping up to date with all of the emerging trends across a range of markets. Some markets are more advanced than others within the affiliate space and I need to make sure I am optimising my market knowledge so that my campaign for the client is up to date and relevant at all times.
International strategy and emerging into new markets can also be a key challenge for many brands. As we know, affiliate marketing is all about relationships and it’s essential that these are built on a global scale whilst running a global campaign. The same applies if the campaign is European based or only within a select number of markets – you need to know what works and where. When I attended the recent European A4U EXPO, I was delighted with the level of new opportunities that were presented to me not only on a European level, but on a Global one too. I learnt about key insights and related markets that are important to me this year, such as India. If I had not attended that event, showcasing the brand, would I know truly how many doors are open to for my clients?
I’ve mentioned the European A4U EXPO more than once now but it’s important not to forget what other Global events are worth attending. The upcoming Affiliate Summit East which is being held in New York next month or the ITB Asia in October. If you have the opportunity to attend these events, you will reap the benefits and so will your affiliate program.
All in all, I can speak from personal experience when I say how much I have gained from attending a selection of events. Some have been more useful than others and we have the opportunity to feed that back to the organisers afterwards so we know improvements can be made for next time. There is a lot to be said about the value of affiliate events but in my opinion the experience and insight is priceless.