Affiliate Nerd Out

Breaking through the Affiliate Glass Ceiling with Charlie Calabrese

January 05, 2024 Dustin Howes Season 1 Episode 49
Affiliate Nerd Out
Breaking through the Affiliate Glass Ceiling with Charlie Calabrese
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unlock the wonders of affiliate marketing with Charlie Calabrese, AIM's visionary president, as we explore how this dynamic field is reshaping the digital marketing landscape. Our conversation is a journey through Charlie's impressive two-decade-long career, revealing the evolution of affiliate marketing and its endless potential for growth. This episode is a treasure trove for those ready to uncover the strategies driving expansion in sectors like B2B, retail, and travel, and for anyone seeking to navigate the vibrant interplay between AI tools and marketing practices with finesse.

Venture into the aftermath of a world reshaped by COVID-19 and discover how the affiliate marketing terrain has shifted, particularly within the B2B niche. We dissect the "affiliate glass ceiling," investigating the factors that constrain the industry's growth and how we can shatter these barriers through enhanced attribution practices. Additionally, we share cautionary tales that highlight the precarious balance between human ingenuity and the burgeoning reliance on AI, including the legal ramifications of over-dependence on technological shortcuts.

To humanize our deep-dive into the technical, we tackle the heart of affiliate marketing—its people. Discussing the intricate dance of hiring for cultural fit versus industry expertise, we address the merits of nurturing fresh talent and the unique value seasoned professionals bring to the table. I open up about my commitment to cultivating a robust affiliate community through the Performance Marketing Manager Inner Circle and extol the irreplaceable benefits of in-person networking events. Join us for an episode that marries the intellect of affiliate strategies with the soul of community building.

For more tips on how to scale your affiliate program, check out https://performancemarketingmanager.com

Dustin Howes:

Hey folks, welcome to Affiliate Nerd Out. I'm your Nerdirator, Dustin Howe. Spread that good word about affiliate marketing. You're gonna find me every Tuesday and Thursday here at 12.15 Pacific Time on LinkedIn Live, so please put it on the calendar and be here, hang out with us and my guests and stop on by and talk affiliates my nerd guest of the day, president over at AIM, charlie Gallup-Riz. Welcome to the Nerditorium, charlie.

Charlie Calabrese:

Thanks for the invite, dustin. I love that term Nerditorium. You gotta copyright that man.

Dustin Howes:

Well, I mean, you gotta make up words in this industry to make any headway and hopefully Fact, fact, fact. And hopefully it'll be popularized here in a couple of years. What yeah, we'll see what happens. Today we've got live Q&A, just as always. If you'd like to ask any questions of me and Charlie, please jump into the chat. If you would like to be in Charlie's seat, go to dustinhowes. com. Slash, nerd and drop that application. I would love to nerd out with you. So please let me know what you wanna nerd out about. And today's question of the day what's your favorite AI tool in 2024 that you're utilizing in the affiliate realm? Me and Charlie are gonna nerd out about some AI tools that he's utilizing and AI in general, what it means to the industry. So drop in that question, answer that question. So, without further ado, here, charlie, who are you?

Charlie Calabrese:

It's nice to meet you, dustin. So, like you already said, my name is Charlie Calabrese. I've been an affiliate for going on 20 years. I've been on the network side, I've been on the publisher side, I've been the advertiser side and now I'm on the agency side super excited about that. Prior to my arrival here at AIM, I spent the better part of 13 years at a partner eyes. I love this industry. I love all the ways that this industry gets utilized, because it does get utilized in about a million different ways. I didn't know affiliate existed 20 years ago. I just it was like, oh my God, it all makes sense. Now. This is where all those sites come from and this is the reason people talk this way online. It's just, it was eye-opening and I just sort of fell in love with it. So here I am.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, that's an interesting revelation that I never even thought about Up until that point. I got my first job at CJ Like I thought people were just being honest, like telling people what they thought and like yeah.

Charlie Calabrese:

And then you realize oh wait, they're getting paid for that, yeah, yeah get them off.

Dustin Howes:

And then I was in fraud prevention. I'm like these guys get paid a lot of money. This is.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, this is amazing, right? Yeah, I was in programmatic and in digital before this and it was just really eye-opening that you didn't need to have, you didn't need to be in ESPNcom to promote something you know what I mean. Like you didn't need 50 million monthly users to be making a couple bucks here and there. And it can be sort of a. It can be a side hustle at times and it's been amazing to sort of watch some of these sort of side hustle businesses grow into huge media organizations.

Charlie Calabrese:

I mean, if you go way back, one of my favorites is the Point Sky. Point Sky yeah, he's just a nerd who's like you should totally use this card for this, and use that for that, and then you can take a free trip to Japan, and then you can get first classes Guys like a media company now right.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah.

Charlie Calabrese:

It's amazing how people have sort of developed over the years. But yeah, this business is eye-opening, that's for sure.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, that is a very wild story. I remember watching him on stage at ASW, maybe like five plus years ago, and just telling his story was the best of them all happen organically, like that. I feel like if you're trying to force your methodology and figure it out that way, like it's a challenge.

Charlie Calabrese:

It's a challenge, man, yeah, but being passionate about something is such an easier route to success, I feel like yeah, totally, and it's interesting how, like once you leave the States, like if you go into Europe or you go into Asia, you see how those cultures have adopted it in so many different ways too, and it's totally different than the way we think about affiliate, right, but it's really cool to just see how these people have utilized what we think of as affiliate and sort of performance marketing and grown up and been able to really make a living at it so cool.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, absolutely, and blown away. Every ASW something new is coming up, something fresh, something big to take away, which I'm really excited about in the next couple of weeks to finally get back to ASW. And so, you know, tell us about all inclusive marketing. I had Sarah Bundy on a couple of weeks ago, but maybe it's been the month plus. But what do you guys do and who are you serving here?

Charlie Calabrese:

Sure, and Sarah is the originator, right, she's the founder CEO here at AIME and she built this place from the ground up 15 years ago. So, you know, what we wanna do is we wanna be that company who's really just helping a client grow, whether it's from the ground up or really reinventing themselves. We have focuses I think all agencies do these days. You know, we focus a lot on B2B. We focus a fair bit on sort of that retail and apparel sector. We've seen a lot of growth and travel. You know, end of the day, what we're trying to do is just be the people that you come to and we can provide you with that clarity and there's intent behind what we're doing. Right, like we know what we're doing, our team are very experienced individuals and, thankful to say, I'm excited to be a part of it. Right, it's been. I've only been here going on five months and it's amazing the things I've learned from the people who have been doing this as long as they have.

Dustin Howes:

For sure, and why AIME Like you get 32 years of work done.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dustin Howes:

And you're going from a major network to an agency and at the top of the food chain, like that is a very interesting and rarely school kind of move.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, and look, I should really I can do nothing but praise the folks. That partner, I did not leave for bad reasons. They are amazing folks. They have great tools and a big supporter of what they do and the way that they do it. You know I just been there 13 years, right. I was the first non-founder. I was the first US employee.

Charlie Calabrese:

You know our US address was my house for the better part of two years, right, and I got to do everything there. I got to be part of the operational team, I got to be part of the sales team, part of the marketing team. I ran some of our bigger accounts. I really got to learn everything that I could ever want to learn at that wonderful place. And it just became time to sort of take on new opportunity, right, and I happened to be on a phone call with Sarah and she told me she was looking for somebody to maybe step into a more full-time role as she was starting to step back a little bit.

Charlie Calabrese:

You know, six interviews later, here I am. You know I was very serious when I was talking to Mike. Look, I really want to meet everyone that I'll be working with. You know, I want to meet sort of that senior layer and some of the folks below them. Just so that I can make sure it's a good fit. Because what I will say is Partnerize was home to me and there were people there that I consider family I still consider them family so it was making a big jump. It's like you said, it's a big change, but it's sort of the new opportunities and you know, I said it to you earlier when we were speaking briefly beforehand At Partnerize we were building tools and I'm a nerd Before this interview.

Charlie Calabrese:

I was a nerd, I have a degree in computer engineering. I loved building those tools and making things better. And moving over to the agency side, it's become very much about relationships and who you know and how you facilitate for them, and I think that's where I wanted to be and this was just like the golden opportunity. I mean Sarah and the team at AIM have been so generous to me about sort of welcoming me with open arms. It's just been a wonderful experience.

Dustin Howes:

Right and you developed an incredible skill set of organization, working at a network where you can come in and really hone in on maximizing the value of that. New eyes on an agency is something that even the best out there need right.

Charlie Calabrese:

You know, I think that's a fair commentary too, and that's to take nothing away from AIM. But they've been operating for 15 years without sort of an outsider's view, so I am able to come in and say, hey, why do we do things that, not that it's wrong but like why do we do things this way?

Charlie Calabrese:

Or why don't we do it that way, you know, or like how come we don't use this tool? And that's been sort of eye-opening to me, but it's also been eye-opening to the folks at AIM who were there before me. It's been this really nice sort of mesh of new and old thought.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, and that transitions well into, like my next question Like you guys in general, aim, I've seen you guys like tearing up retail in the past oh, you're kind, yeah, thank you. And like, you guys have done wonderful work in that space. But I've seen a real strong transition into attacking this B2B market that you guys are really going in after Hard and Strong, and it's the industry I'm in as well, Like all of my clients are in the B2B space. Okay, so why do you guys like what caused that real transition into like advertising, more of that it just opened up.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, no, no. Look, I'd love to say we were forward thinkers and we just knew. You know, just, that's not 100% true. Look, we were heavily invested in retail and travel.

Dustin Howes:

Right.

Charlie Calabrese:

We were in the business five and six years ago and then COVID hit, yeah, and you know half of the business sort of goes out the window because nobody knows what travel is going to look like.

Dustin Howes:

Right.

Charlie Calabrese:

And how many programs paused right Like something you just don't do and you don't pause a program right Like that's. So we had to sort of pivot right and friends of the organization were kind of to make some introductions into that B2B space and the team grew when we gained new knowledge and it was a learning curve for both us and our clients. But we've learned the value that we can bring to B2B and I think it's an underserved market. But I can also say I've been doing this a long time. B2b is not easy, Right, like some people will say. It's easy to convince somebody to get to buy something and get cash back right or to do a review of something. It's not quite the same in B2B. It's a much longer sales cycle in most cases. Right, it is a tougher sale, but we've had some good luck so we're going to keep running with it and keep serving that what I think is a relatively underserved market.

Dustin Howes:

I 100% agree on you and it totally underserved, especially in the sense of good affiliates out there. I'm turning that to morosecom into SaaS reviews at this point because it's a lucrative spot to be in. Because there's just not enough of me out there that are doing SaaS reviews on a holistic viewpoint.

Charlie Calabrese:

And the folks who sort of are doing it are the G2s of the world, right, and that's great. But people are also interested in some of the slightly more like hands-on feedback. Like hey, I actually used it, here's what I saw, here's why it works, here's why it doesn't work. Right, those giant companies that are doing those sort of SaaS reviews that you don't really know who's giving you that feedback.

Dustin Howes:

For sure, and you don't even know if they're business owners. So, just like I'm a business owner, I'm giving you legitimate, honest reviews on the product that I am using, or at least somebody gifted me to go take a review and a look at right. And with the expansion of AI and what it is today, you never know what kind of generated garbage to do it today.

Charlie Calabrese:

I was listening to the radio this morning when I was going to get coffee and they were talking about these two lawyers who were getting fines. They each got fined like five grand because they submitted briefs to the judge that were completely written by AI. Right? So AI is only as smart as you sort of feed the data into it, right? So they were like go write me a brief about this thing. And then AI didn't have anything. So it made up false court cases. It just started with blah, blah, blah versus Kentucky. None of them were real, so the judge had to go look those things up. And the judge is like this is nonsense, these things don't exist. I scanned this in and it said this was most likely not written by a human. I'm finding you both $5,000 each or whatever it was Like. Ai is not something you should trust, man. It's going to lead to you getting fined at some point, that's for sure.

Dustin Howes:

Oh geez, what a ballsy move from the lawyers, as if you're not getting paid enough to do research.

Charlie Calabrese:

You're getting paid $500 an hour. You know what ChatGPT's got this? It's cool. Good enough, I'm good. I'm going to go get my Marchini. Amazing.

Dustin Howes:

Tell me about. So our topic of the day is breaking through the affiliate glass ceiling. You brought this topic up. I know you're super nerd on statistics of the industry and everything. Tell me about what the affiliate glass ceiling looks like to you.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, look, I've been doing this 15 years. That I really dug deep in. My perspective is if you read all the surveys and the PMA put out some really interesting data for North America, affiliate represents $17 billion. Look, those are huge numbers.

Charlie Calabrese:

It's hard for me to even contemplate what a billion is, let alone $17 billion Digital marketing. If globally we're 17 billion, digital marketing is 600 billion, which means we're less than 3% of digital marketing, and it just doesn't make sense to me. Right? Why are we not growing at a ridiculous pace? Why didn't we saw it during COVID? We saw this massive growth during COVID, but why hasn't it continued? Why wasn't it faster before? That?

Charlie Calabrese:

It's so confusing to me that we sort of have hit our and again I called it a glass ceiling, but why have we hit this top growth number and we still are only 3%? And they're saying we'll grow 10% year on year, on year, which is great. So we're 30 billion by 2027. That's a great number, but it's still gonna be less than 3%. So how do we bring more money in to affiliate, right? Or how do we convince people to spend more money in affiliate? And that's that ceiling that I really wanna break through, and I think we as an industry need to consider what are the things that we need to be doing to make that happen. So that's where I'm at with this.

Dustin Howes:

Okay, and education has to be first and foremost, like we're totally great. Where we need to educate the brands to be involved in this. And then another big thought that comes to my mind is you know, we should be getting more attribution than we're actually getting throughout the other channel. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Actually, it's feeling from us.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, how many times do you hear from a brand? Actually, I got a 20% of those transactions I gotta reject because we're attributing them to our newsletter or to our social media or to our search right. Attribution's always been a big deal in this channel and I do think we are underserved in terms of what we're actually putting out there. We are driving more than people think, but you know, end of the day, we'd have to grow an awful lot to really make that impact. And it's like you say, it's the education. How do we convince people? Well, we help improve your search or we help improve your social.

Charlie Calabrese:

I read a statistic not that long ago. Again nerd, before someone makes a purchase, they see a product about 20 times. Okay, so you see it on your social media and then maybe you search for a generic right and then you eventually do some more searching. You find something that's specific and then you start chasing a brand, but you don't buy and you come back to it later or it pops up. Affiliate is a piece of that journey throughout, but we all think about it as last touch attribution and if you step back and you really look at the data we're helping lift along the way every time. Now you talk about the B2B side, where it's hey, let's talk about software in some way shape or form, so the SaaS play right. Even if people don't make the purchase when they read your review, you're promoting something so that they'll go look and find more reviews. We're a piece of that chain and ultimately, I think affiliate is more than one piece. We come up time and time again as people search.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, absolutely, and we just have to be lucky enough to get that last click or whatever click, it is yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Affiliate general right, yeah, yeah. Interesting concept about the B2B space Today. I went to a party on New Year's Eve and there's a whole bunch of pickleball players and my phone was in my pocket series listening the whole time. And then I'm getting targeted on Instagram about all these pickleball items because I was talking to you. I was talking to you all the whole time right, and even like my dog.

Dustin Howes:

We were talking about my dog and a couple of conversations and getting targeted with these Boston Terrier ads. I know you're listening, but if I were to go to Villiat Summit and talk nothing about B2B, I'm not getting targeted in that same sense, right? It's like we're behind the times in the B2B space, and that's something that in the next five years, is going to grow exponentially, I agree.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, yeah, I agree. And look, the things that you're describing are the reason B2B will catch up, right, and it's because your phone is listening Alexa in my living room is listening, right, and look, I don't know where AI is going. I'm not going to pretend to be that expert, right? Today, ai seems to be a lot about content, but to assume that AI won't go into retargeting or remarketing, it's crazy. Of course it's going to, right. So you're going to see more and more of those things that you talk about, that you hear about, that you engage with. You're just going to see it in different ways 100% it's coming Like.

Dustin Howes:

It's getting more dynamic by the day, oh yeah, oh yeah. I embrace it. I'm okay with being targeted by the market and it makes it more convenient for me to be a consumer Me too.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, look, I like when the phone sends me that thing I forgot that I was talking about, right, like I have no problem with that. But I also appreciate people wanting their privacy, right, and you should always be able to opt out or turn off, and I think we're seeing those things coming in the next year, especially with some of the changes that are happening to browsers and the ITP stuff that was happening today and it's been happening for a while. It's going to change. There's going to be a new ability to opt out of these things. But for people like me, for people like you, tell me all about the thing that I don't know about. I'm that nerd who's like, yeah, like I didn't know I needed that thing, like let's, let's, let's. Like I did not know I needed this many Legos behind me, but I did and Lego figured it out. So here I am.

Dustin Howes:

Oh, amazing. And so, on that topic, like the AI in affiliate marketing, like how are you guys using it? Maybe, maybe this is within AIM and what you guys are doing over there?

Charlie Calabrese:

Sure, sure, sure it is it's still got this like weird connotation behind it, like if you're using AI, you're cheating and like it's not as transparent as it needs to be yet, but like yeah, you know, for me and, and I think, the team at AIM, we are very careful about how we use AI specifically for those reasons, right, and I think a lot of it comes down to no one's sure what's Okay. Yet, like, I'm sure, those lawyers I talked about earlier were like no one's gonna find me because I used AI to submit a brief. Well, it could happen, right? Yeah, the FTC is putting out new guidelines every day about Influencers, right, and who's contributing. If you don't think we're gonna see AI Influencers in the next couple of years, you're crazy.

Dustin Howes:

All right, right like so this.

Charlie Calabrese:

So for us, what we try to do is use AI as sort of a thought generation tool, right, like when we think about B2B, like what are the key topics in the B2B industry right now From our perspective, and then we like to sort of look at what's AI have to say about it. Right, and what I can tell you is Chat GPT thinks something totally different than Bard and and it's just, it's interesting to get these sort of perspectives that are Outside of the echo chamber. That is our team, right, we. So it is really valuable, I think, as a as a thought-provoking tool, but I don't know that you want to use it to go and create large pieces of content.

Dustin Howes:

I think that's a risk and and today there are even AI systems that can find whether or not that content was written by by AI, so they're. And they're policing their own, if you will like. Yeah, which is amazing advantage for like an Affiliate manager that needs to check the work of the affiliates that they're working with yeah, no, totally fair, I mean.

Charlie Calabrese:

And look, more and more tools are coming out, day in and day out, that are not purely linguistic tools or or Content generation tools. Right, I mean, I saw a tool quite recently that you know, maybe I'm giving away too much.

Charlie Calabrese:

I saw a tool quite recently that helps you automatically write an Introduction to somebody, like a cold email. Right, can't cold outreach on LinkedIn based on what's in their blog? Right, yeah, so it scans through a bunch of blog posts and then it says, hey, loved your post about this. Such a cool idea. Maybe you'd be interested in working with us on this, this and this right, and it's doing this at scale. Right, it's a. You give it a topic, it scans and finds all the sites that are related to it. What an interesting news, right, like you. Mean, I don't need a team of cold culvers. You've built a tool that does that and it it does a warm buy-in with somebody. Like AI is changing.

Dustin Howes:

Sure, and you bring up Tools that can use this and like. That's exactly what we're doing over at Appy stash, like they. So this is like. I haven't released any information about this, but I'm coming on board as the new CMO, essentially, yeah, and we're making a better product for affiliate managers, and one of those of that innovations that we're utilizing AI with is to make it easier on the affiliate managers to be a little bit more Relationship oriented by like finding those articles and relating personal touch.

Charlie Calabrese:

Right, yeah, it's that personal touch and and look, I mean I Will say there was a time when LinkedIn was a great way to go find people. Yeah, it's not it's a little bit trash right, like how many Outreaches do you get on a regular basis that you you have no idea who I am. You have no idea what I business yeah.

Charlie Calabrese:

You're just not a great move here, but yeah, look, I love that as an approach. That's. That's so cool that you're gonna be moving up while helping them out. So cool that you're gonna be, helping them.

Dustin Howes:

And I'm very excited about it. It's already an amazing tool and I'm gonna come on board and spread the good word about making this tool so much better for agencies and consultants and In-house brands are gonna be able to utilize it as a CRM and as an outreach tool. So I'm very excited about that. But you know, keeping on topic here, like the industry stats, that we keep on seeing the industry continues to grow. You're talking about 10% growth. Why is this number keep on rising, even though affiliate is just like it just keeps getting beaten down by the other channels internally on the marketing side, like why do we keep on going up?

Charlie Calabrese:

Well, I think there's a few reasons, right. I think, first and foremost, people want to put their marketing budgets into something that they can immediately say I know the return on investment. Right, so I know if I spend $10,000 this month it's because we made a hundred thousand dollars and I just had a 10% payout. Right? This, this ability to really tie that data back and say it's great because now I know these, this number of transactions happened, right. Do that same thing in other marketing channels, do it in TV, do it in radio, do it, do it in paper, do it in programmatic. At best You're gonna know a click happened. You're not gonna know. Actually, someone saw it, clicked on it and they bought these five things in that shopping cart. That has value and it's always gonna have value.

Charlie Calabrese:

I'd also as, within reason, sort of economy proof, right. When the economy is a little shaky, what's the first place people pull back marketing? Well, why not put it into something? That again Sort of proof, right, like it. I know we made these sales, so us spending a few bucks. If I know my cost per acquisition, it makes good sense. So I love that about this channel and I think people adopt it in this channel.

Charlie Calabrese:

But I also think the problem that people just don't seem to understand is there's nothing new coming into the channel, and that's the scary part to me. Right, yes, it's on the rise, more people are engaging, people are moving their budgets from Social over to us or when, when the economy is down, they move it from programmatic to us or TV to us. But my biggest concern, even though it is on the rise, what's the last big brand you can think of that was new to affiliate? It's a tough question, but it's a tough question. The last one that I could think of was do you know the brand Zara? Sort of like a luxury brand.

Dustin Howes:

I don't know, not in that space.

Charlie Calabrese:

No, okay, so. So, zara, sort of a luxury clothing brand, that's the newest sort of biggest brand I could think of. They were new four years ago, five years ago. Okay, I can't think of a brand that either isn't in the space or just they'll never be in the space, right? So we have to convince people. This is the place to be, this is the place to put your budgets. Sure. So, yes, we've been on the rise, right? Covid I Don't like saying this.

Dustin Howes:

Covid helped affiliate for sure, right 100% right.

Charlie Calabrese:

So COVID's now Past right, so people are now going to start to distribute that wealth again or distribute those marketing budgets. So while it's been on the rise, it's my, my question is how do we keep it there? How do we keep it rising? And I think that's the thing that's being overlooked in our industry. We're not paying attention to what's really new to file. Who's bringing more budget in in? Yeah right and, and those are the things that Sort of keep me up at night.

Dustin Howes:

And and you're bringing up a good point of like where's the next big brand?

Charlie Calabrese:

and and when you're talking big brand, you're talking like 20 mil annual run rate, right, like that would be like a big hundred 100 mil, right, like, how do we, how do we convince Folks who are making cars that affiliate is a good channel for me, right? How do we convince? How do we convince that this is a good place for them? Because they don't put enough into this channel.

Charlie Calabrese:

A years ago, one of my former coworkers at Partnerize convinced I think it was Chrysler to jump in when they were first releasing electric cars and we were helping create leads for people to sign up to go and do test drives. What a natural fit this is. So you want me to collect information and drive people to your site to come and let's find you someplace where you can. Let's find you a dealership, let's find you a like how have we not cracked some of those verticals? There are so many smart people in this industry. Like, I'm not the smart one. There are so many smart people in this industry. How are we not cracking again those glass ceilings and going we should be chasing CPG, we should be chasing automotive, right? What are? Let's get beyond retail, right? Like? There's more out there for us, yeah, and we just have to. We just have to get there.

Dustin Howes:

And B2B is going to be one of those case studies for that opening up 100% right 100% Yep.

Charlie Calabrese:

And again there's with people like you, agencies like myself, who are like saying we need to crack B2B and to a certain extent we think we have in certain areas. But it's this, it is the proof point, right, if we can do it for B2B, why can't we do it for these other verticals? Why aren't they putting more money in? But I think the important part of that is getting our voice heard and having other people outside of affiliate know, oh yeah, that affiliate thing, let's try that.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, because I do feel like when you go to an affiliate summit West, look, I mean, I've gone to too many of them.

Charlie Calabrese:

I know everyone there, right? Yep, I know everyone there, although I will say this year I've looked at the speaker list phenomenal speaker list and a lot of folks that I haven't seen speak before really excited about that. But you know, it's like again, it's like an echo chamber, right? Like we're telling each other how great affiliate is. Yeah, you don't have to convince me, man, I'm on board, you're up on the stages of there.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, absolutely yeah.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, yeah, right. So how do we get out there and convince the CMO that doesn't know anything about affiliate? This is the place that you should throw some money right. Don't throw it into a Facebook ad. Let us help you find some new opportunities.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, let's get that lead generation, that CPA, down from your social ads, that affiliated with the CMO, which is essentially going to beat out every time. So, all right, switching gears. Before we start wrapping things up, I want to talk about your transition into this president role over an agency and how you came on board at the top and you're looking down at the organization. You've got a lot of skills that you can pass down to others within this organization, like what is the affiliate manager training look like in an agency in comparison to what a network traditionally does? Because I learned at a network at the CMO.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, and I don't know where you got your base learning, but training affiliate managers is a different beast.

Charlie Calabrese:

It is, and I think it comes back to what we were talking about earlier right. Like I had been in digital marketing for years, I didn't know affiliate played as big a role as it does. So it's a question of there's two types of talent that you bring in when you're training. Is it somebody who doesn't know affiliate but has the right energy and the right attitude and is interested in being part of a culture? Because you can teach somebody affiliate right, It'll take time, but you can educate them Affiliate 101, right. Or do you bring somebody in who's been in affiliate for years and years and years and might be a little set in their ways right, but you teach them the aim way, right. Like this is the way we do things. I'm sure you saw it when you were at CJ.

Charlie Calabrese:

Everybody sort of has a different style, but the most important part is being genuine, being honest, telling everyone how important it is and reminding everyone how important it is to be transparent, Because I think that's part of the problem that affiliate faces. Historically, affiliates had a rough name at times, right, and I think the most important thing to train into people is be open, be honest, be transparent, want to make things better, have that good energy and I think really what it comes down to is are you teaching them affiliate or are you teaching them? Sure, if I'm in and I and at least it aim, we think culture is really important. Yeah, we want people to to come here and be excited to be here and be excited to work with the people they work with. It's part of the reason I'm here, it's part of the reason I jumped in and it's.

Dustin Howes:

Sarah has that vibe about her of Driving and transparency. She's the best at it. I love it.

Charlie Calabrese:

I couldn't do more. And her team is the same way, right, the team that she built, her and I am now a part of. Same way, for sure.

Dustin Howes:

Absolutely. And that brings us to my next point of our sponsor of the day is it's my own company, it is performance marketing manager and I have an inner circle. This is a membership for affiliate managers. Only this community I've built out over the years, for course, takers and communities Building up so you can have a much more powerful essence of when to get the right affiliates. Like folks come into these meetings, I Educate folks and we also have a group of experts in this community that are helping each other.

Dustin Howes:

Twice a month we have networking events, we have breakout sessions. Everybody gets a chance to talk and about what issues they're facing, and All the rest of the group helps out each other and it's just some incredible community. Go to dustinowsecom, slash, enter and find out more. The membership is just $97 a month. If you just want to give it some additional Education and be a better affiliate manager, come be a part of my inner circle. I would love to have you and as we move forward, as we close up, I want to make sure that you have a chance to defend your post here today.

Charlie Calabrese:

So Okay, what post you have for me, man. It's been a while.

Dustin Howes:

It's nothing. It's nothing serious, but thanks to Digi day for voting us best affiliate tech partner. This is when you're at partner eyes. But the point here is is not something you said as to? Your look has not changed in four years. Like I, I'm the guy that changes every month. Like you, face is gonna look like. You have not looked different in all of the time that I have ever known. You tell me, defend yourself why I change good genes right, good genes.

Charlie Calabrese:

And Not having to worry about an extensive hairdo Right, you can keep it real. The hardest part of my hairdo is what's on my face. So, okay, that's pretty easy. And, to be fair, if you put me next to a Beautiful woman like and that was one of my former co-workers Holly brim, nobody pays attention to you. They pay attention to her right so yeah, no, I, not much has changed. I will say you know the waistline goes up an inch or two, but you don't see that in pictures.

Dustin Howes:

So yeah, what I hate most about affiliate summit being in January is I've got all my December weight on my face.

Charlie Calabrese:

Yeah, man, I you know, I spent some time with the family over Thanksgiving and we my mom, we we call her mama Liz. Mom, mama Liz has a diner. Man, it's just constantly food like what do you want, what do you want? And it's basically like she will make cookies, she will make chicken parm, but at the end of the day, the thing she serves up most is diabetes. She's just trying to get us like loaded with sugar and fat. Cheeks. Man, like I love her to death. She's serving up that diabetes like a champ.

Dustin Howes:

Oh my gosh, good, good stuff, man. All right, how do we connect with you, charlie?

Charlie Calabrese:

You can come find me on our website all inclusive marketing. Calm. Come find me on LinkedIn. Would love to speak with you. I'll be at affiliate summit, so a lot of my team members would love to meet you there. I'm pretty easy to find, dustin. I'm this many years in. Just come find me, I'm not that hard.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome, awesome, a lot, of, a lot of team members going ASW we do.

Charlie Calabrese:

We have a pretty big team going. You know, we really like to use this time to meet with our publishers and use this time to meet with our advertisers, who are constantly attending these events. It's a lot easier to meet with 20 publishers and 10 advertisers in one place. Then it is to go to their offices or, being a region, so affiliate summits great for that. So really looking forward to sort of having a whole team together for that.

Dustin Howes:

Outstanding. All right, that's gonna do it for us. Really appreciate your time and your input here. Loved our talk today, charlie, we'll see you. Day is w buddy.

Charlie Calabrese:

Thanks, dustin, talk to you soon, man.

Dustin Howes:

All right, and join us Tuesday about affiliate nerd out. I'm gonna have Matt frary come in and nerd out about, you know, whatever he does, all the stuff is a genius.

Charlie Calabrese:

He's a genius five million thing. Loads of stuff to talk about.

Dustin Howes:

Join us at Tuesday 12 15 Pacific time and, if I don't see, an affiliate summit. Good luck out there and Take care.

Charlie Calabrese:

Thanks, Dustin.

Dustin Howes:

All right.

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