In this uncharacteristically long episode we talk about the good, the bad and the fun about Affiliate Summit Central 2012 and Shareasale Think Tank 2012. Affiliate ABCs hosts Vinny O’Hare and Deborah Carney discuss what they experienced during what Debbie fondly calls “Conference Week 2012”. Two conferences that are normally not at the same time, one smaller than normal and one that is always more intimate. We had a great time, productive with fun time built in.
Affiliate Summit is traditionally a large conference, they tried out a smaller, local conference, which I found very beneficial. Less sessions, more focus, easy to meet new people. The full conferences still have a huge place in the industry but I can see these smaller ones having a place also, like the Affiliate Summit local meetups.
Vinny sat in on sessions and got a great tip about using http://webpagetest.org/ to test your website loading speed. I had a round table and talked about creating books to create new audiences.
On to Shareasale Think Tank, where we had a very hectic schedule that was broken up with relaxing networking and a boating play date.
There were an insane number of stairs to descend and climb, but the time of the boats was well worthwhile for us. We stayed in the air conditioning, had a breeze, and talked to affiliates, other OPMs, merchants and providers of services. That was more beneficial than individual meetings actually, I am a big believer in the power of group thinking
Shareasale Think Tank was originally created as a way for merchants to talk directly to affiliates so that both could find ways to work together, and to give the merchants feedback from the top, and most motivated, affiliates that are in the Shareasale network. Back in the beginning, OPMs were just starting to become a force in the affiliate industry and not all merchants were managed well. From those first meetings came successful merchants and as the industry has grown more merchants hire OPMs (outsourced program managers) to run their programs effectively. However, I still like to have the Think Tank focus be on Merchant to Affiliate, because in the end if the merchants don’t attend and listen to affiliates and meet them face to face, merchants just see affiliate marketing as a “channel” and not as people helping them build their business.
As an OPM I love to be able to suggest to our merchants to attend events like this where they get to know everything about the industry and the people in it, the good and the shady. The more educated our merchants are (and all merchants) the better off everyone in the “circle” is.