Affiliate Summit West has been the premiere affiliate marketing conference since 2003. It is focused on providing educational sessions on the latest industry issues and fostering a productive networking environment for affiliate marketers. Pretio Interactive, the rewards based ad network that just recently acquired Tap for Tap sent their Business Development Associate Omer Baturay to network with some of the best in the industry and to foster relationships with a few of their key partners.
As our own set of events are popping up in the Dev/App world, who’s excited for GDC SF in March? I thought I would ask Omer for some key takeaways he learned during his time in the city that never sleeps so that you can make the most out of the events on your list for 2015!
Prepare Prepare Prepare!
You know that serendipitous moment in so many movies, where the intern sits down at the bar and the gentleman beside him turns out to be the bazilliobair who is going to make all his dreams come true? Well real life doesn’t work like that, and if it did for you, you have my applause and I’m free this weekend for a Vegas trip.
For the rest of us poor souls, the only way to ensure a run in with key members is to plan ahead and preschedule meetings. The guest lists can be daunting but it is important to sift through the list to identify who you want to spend your time on. Know that meeting times for popular attendees will fill out fast. Omer says you should set up your meetings at least 2 weeks in advance. That’s not to say you must have all your time accounted for before you arrive, discovering hidden gems is always great, but you will be much more effective if you have a plan of attack.
Another great way to prepare is to pre-network. ASW was great for this, having a networking channel available to members so that they could engage with others on social media, beginning discussions before the conference even began. This is a great way to discover what recurring themes will be brought up so you can do some of your own research to be sure to impress the masses.
At ASW, a lot of companies are in the same space engaged in activities similar to one another. This goes for any conference and is kind of the point. By emphasizing key metrics and points of differentiation allows you to draw interest from the traffic and (perhaps most importantly) allows you to avoid time-wasting discussions with no real end-product.
Ensure to have your elevator speech prepped and ready to go. Be able to describe who you are, what your app or company does, why it is valuable, and what you have to offer. Make it interesting and memorable, with so many introductions you want to stand out.
Swag does a good job of showing the sort of culture that a company has. AdPerio gave out cookies at ASW. This fits in with the way Omer perceived their company – a large and powerful one with a warm line of communication between its affiliates and its account managers. But ONLY give out swag if it aligns your culture and business. If there is no real purpose of handing it out, then opt-out. This shows that you know the value of money and have a plan.
Let's Talk About It!
One recurring theme this time around ASW was the unconventional booth and companies investing in excess of seating. This setup was much more engaging and promoted conversations rather than pitches. Allowing people to sit down, get comfortable, ask questions and take notes made a huge difference.
Neverblue- a local Victoria company took this to the next level and really stood out. These guys rented out an entire restaurant to do their meetings in! The restaurant was at the entrance of the conference and attracted a lot of attention- of course it was marketed well as a Neverblue venue.
The realization that there is a 2-way relationship between publishers/networks and advertisers is a great way to look at the AdTech space- they need you as much as you need them. Networks have offers sitting and collecting dust without quality publishers. Publishers fail to monetize highly valuable sites, games etc without networks. Once you come to the understanding that the need for each is equal, it makes it much easier to do business together.
Didn’t make the guest list? It doesn’t hurt to be proactive and hang out around event venues to reach out to attendees as they enter and exit the conference. Omer said that an indie developer did this at ASW and seemed to attract some attention. Just make sure to dress the part and have your elevator speech perfected!
Of course sometimes it is the small things in life that make the biggest difference; here are some small hacks for your conference survival guide:
- Check the dress code. Know who your audience is and how you want to project yourself to them
- Arrive early to pick up your pass, there are much more important things to be doing your first morning than waiting in line to be let in the door
- Dr. Scholes knows best, those little gel soles may seem ridiculous but after 8 hours on your feet, they might just be your new best friends
- Carry water on you at all times. Hydration is key and you will be talking up a storm, no one wants to talk to the Raspy Randy
- Make use of your mini fridge! Stock up on water and fruit so you aren’t stuck with horrible hotel breakfast
Excited for 2015’s upcoming events? Here are a couple I thought you might be interested in:
Game Developers Conference (GDC) – March 2-6 (San Fransisco, CA)
Apps World North America – May 12-14 (San Fransisco, CA)
Casual Connect – August 11-13 (San Fransisco, CA)