February 23, 2008

Debriefing from Affiliate Classroom LIVE Training

The training has been over for about 2 hours now and I've been sitting in my hotel room on the 16th floor with a brilliant view of west Las Vegas thinking about whether or not I should share my views with you on the training tonight or wait until I've had some time to absorb it and wind down more from the experience to write about it.

However I've decided in the interest of reporting to you, I should talk about my initial impressions at least while they're still fresh in my memory. I will be dropping names!

First, the event was hosted by Amit Singal from Affiliate Classroom. Super gracious guy and a pleasure to talk with. Good job Amit for a great event!

The first speaker of the day was the keynote by Ned Farra. Ned talked a bit about Zappos.com and their history. Being previously unfamiliar with Zappos, it was interesting for me from a case study type point of view.

Next we heard from Bryan Rhodes & Stephanie Harris from Shaaf Consulting on a typical affiliate manager day. A lot of GREAT tips & tricks on how to allocate your resources (i.e. time & money) where they're best served, making your job more efficient, and coping with being an affiliate manager. I think this was one of my favorite sessions of the day because they were engaging and even as fairly new to this game as I am, I could totally relate! I think this is the most actionable session for me.

Afterwards we heard from Clarke D. Walton, a lawyer specializing in internet law. Some people seemed bored by this, but I was fascinated by the legal side of things. He shared some great case studies that really helped me to understand the legal perspective of affiliate marketing.

Amit Mehta, a 7 figure super affiliate, then talked about how to recruit and keep super affiliates. Good stuff, a lot of which I'd heard before, but definitely worth while. I learned some new tricks that I'm DEFINITELY going to keep in my back pocket ;)

I admit... the next couple of sessions were after lunch, which I was rushed through and had to take with me back into the meeting room, and I was less than enthused about the content. Todd Farmer & John Vehlewald from kowabunga gave a good talk about the difference between CPA and Traditional affiliate programs. It was interesting from a publisher point of view, but not very useful to me as a manager considering our printing products and the types of campaigns we run.

Lisa Riolo talked about metrics... I wish she could have gone a bit more in depth but the overview was good. Actually, more in depth in this setting so late in the day might not have been the best idea, so I'll accept it! She did help me really understand how to make metrics more actionable.

Next up was Michael C. Jones from Pepperjam talking about affiliate marketing technology. Okay, I'll admit it - I was bored. Partly because he was using a slide presentation that wasn't included in the packet of materials we were given, contained a ton of information, and talked too fast. I'm really hoping that I can approach him via email later this week so I can get the PPT and really read it and soak it in. It was some stuff I already knew regarding coding and whatnot so nothing too ground breaking for me, personally.

Worst/Best Session of the day came from Heather Paulson. I was really interested in the topic of engaging affiliates and she started out great...then she insulted the audience. Keep in mind that this was an affiliate manager training day, so when you ask how many people have ever heard of xx tool and no one raises their hand, don't say "uh, you should" in a really condescending tone and then go on a minute long lecture. The rest of her talk kind of went sour in my mind from there. Her information was overwhelming and almost pointed to "you can't do this, hire me to do it!" without actually saying that. Maybe I took it the wrong way, I'm open to that, but it just rubbed me the wrong. I admit though, I did pick up some useful tips that will really improve my actions as an affiliate program manager, so it wasn't all bad.

Lastly Rachel Honoway talked more about the new AC Certification courses to become a bona fide "certified affiliate manager". I really want to take the courses! They're fairly reasonably priced ($1500 for a 10 module course).

Oy tomorrow is a lighter day with just booth set up, registration, and the meet market, but work is work!


Jeremy Botter said...

I was one of those people who didn't enjoy the legal stuff. No doubt Clarke is brilliant, but I was bored -- probably because I was already thinking about lunch.

I liked Amit's session. It was what I expected it to be.

The metrics session was the most boring of the day, by FAR, for me. I literally fell asleep during this one -- in fact, three people from my company fell asleep. And I LOVE analytics...this session just didn't resonate with me for some reason.

Heather Paulson's session was great, but I do agree that she was condescending in tone in parts. She's a real smart cookie and I learned a lot from her.

Overall? I think the thing went a few hours too long. There were a few sessions that could have been pared out and that would have, I think, opened the floor for some more question and answer stuff, which was actually (in most cases) more helpful than the actual lectures. I learned a TON, though, and I'm totally glad I came early for it, but I'm wiped out from ten hours of lectures and then a night on the town losing money. :-)

We're moving to the Rio tomorrow morning, setting up our booth and doing a bit of the meet and greet. Do you have any info on the Shareasale party? I hear it's going to be a hot ticket and I want to make sure I can get to their booth in time to grab passes.

TrishaLyn said...

I don't have any info on the shareasale party - I didn't plan on going :/

Great feedback though, thanks!