“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” In my case, I hope this isn’t true. No, I didn’t get married by Elvis to a girl I met off the strip after a three day bender. I was there recently for one of the most popular trade shows in my industry, Affiliate Summit. If you’re not familiar, Affiliate Summit is one of the premier marketing conferences where affiliate marketers, advertisers, publishers, media buyers and more come together to talk shop. With thousands of people in attendance, it’s one of the most anticipated shows in our industry.
Three Conference Key Performance Indicators:
Speaking of focus, we’re talking about Vegas, here. No other town has so many things competing for your attention, which is a perfect metaphor for the conference, itself. For the time being, let’s ignore the fact that I probably ate my weight in really good food, met several really interesting cab drivers, and didn’t beat the 9-point spread on the Denver game. Even though my lack of gambling knowledge left me at a loss on the weekend, the actual conference was a big win for all of my clients. I attribute this to my conference strategy, or what I affectionately refer to as my 3 “Conference KPI” (feel free to steal the term). These “conference KPI” are the three main goals I keep in the back of my mind when attending these types of conferences:
- Face time is one of the most important pieces to solidifying any working relationship. When you’re managing 20 – 25 lead generation sources, you can email back and forth and talk on the phone all day, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to really connect with the other side of the fence. I use this time to share some of my clients’ overall program goals and discuss any pain points that may exist on either side. You never know where there might be additional opportunities. These types of meetings are also great for building trust with your sources.
- New opportunities can take many forms at a show like Affiliate Summit. Seeking out new networks or publishers can lead to additional sources of traffic, but so can talking to existing sources about what is in their company pipeline. Keep your clients’ high level goals in the forefront of your mind as you take meetings, and many times you’ll find additional opportunities for program growth.
- From a media buying perspective, exposure can go a long way. Publishers and networks are always looking for good offers to promote, so by getting out and talking to new networks and affiliates, you can spread awareness for your clients’ offers and attract new business. Bring plenty of business cards.
Since this conference was only three days long, making an impact in these three areas can be a challenge. It’s important to create a plan and start scheduling meetings far in advance. Make a list of the people you want to meet with the most, and schedule as many of those meetings as possible, first. Attend the after-hours or sponsored networking events taking place during the conference as well. I get more networking done outside of the conference than I do while I’m there, simply because everyone isn’t on a time crunch off-hours.
In my experience, an effective use of these conferences can have a huge impact on your media buying or lead generation programs, but it’s like most everything else in Vegas: High risk, big reward. It pays to have a partner that knows how to stack the deck.
Mike Perri is the Digital Account Executive at Flying Cork. He is a seasoned digital marketer with over 5 years of experience in media buying, affiliate marketing, account management, e-commerce and SEO.