Affiliate Nerd Out

ASW 2024 Recap with Christen Evans

January 25, 2024 Dustin Howes Season 1 Episode 64
Affiliate Nerd Out
ASW 2024 Recap with Christen Evans
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine the whirlwind of an Affiliate Summit through our eyes: Christen's surprise encounter with nature's ninjas on Fremont Street, and a sushi experience that turned into an unexpected masterclass. Our latest episode isn't just about the laughs and the flu that seems to follow every conference; it's a treasure trove of insights from the latest gathering of affiliate marketing minds. We dissect the substantial changes under Clarion's management, acknowledging the founders' legacy while discussing the fresh infusion of natural light that brightened more than just the conference space.

Decked in lavender suits and shimmering shoes, attendees at the summit were a sight to behold, and we didn't miss a beat in capturing the fashion statements that were as loud as the content was rich. Listen to our constructive critique of the revamped networking areas, the somewhat perplexing lunch setups, and how content took center stage over sales pitches, providing attendees with an abundance of actionable insights. The live Q&A segment brings our audience directly into the conversation, offering a panorama of personal highlights and survival tips for conference-goers.

Rounding out our discussion, we turn the spotlight onto the evolving speaker selections at these conferences, advocating for a diversity of voices on stage. Special guest Stephanie Robbins chimes in on the significance of speaker credibility, while I share the excitement of my new adventure with Fee Stash. From the value of in-person networking highlighted by our buzzing Top Golf event to the innovative AI tool, True Letter, promising to revolutionize affiliate manager outreach, this episode is packed with compelling reflections and future-forward thinking for the affiliate marketing industry.

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 am your narrator, dustin house, when that good word about affiliate marketing, you're going to find me every Tuesday and Thursday here at 1215 Pacific time, so put it on the calendar and be here on LinkedIn. Live my guest today, Big Time Evans coming in and we're going to be talking about affiliate summit the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between, , how we doing.

Christen Evans:

I'm great, dustin. How are you?

Dustin Howes:

Oh, I'm still recovering. We're almost there, about 90%. Unfortunately, I got the whole rest of the family, six so they're going through that flu now.

Christen Evans:

Man, that conference crowd can be brutal every time. I was only hit for a couple days, but every single time it just knocks you out.

Dustin Howes:

Conference crowd and the bigger the event, the more likely you get it and the worse it seems it's going to get to you.

Christen Evans:

And Vegas never helps, like walking around the casinos and the late nights. All that just exacerbates it.

Dustin Howes:

So 100% that the smoke stain up late, but not taking care of yourself and starting to drink in the afternoon and through the night is never a recipe for a good thing. So but we still keep on doing, whatever I mean you. You and I were both good for the first two days, right?

Christen Evans:

We were like we were super tame for the entire thing. Comparative for you, right. Like I remarked to Jessica Bishop, who I shared a room with, I was like this is the first time I haven't been like hungover at affiliate summit. I managed to not get hungover any single day, which was amazing, but it was still a late night, so it was still like, you know, just going, going, going. You know I it turns into like a 17 to 20 hour day with just you know, talking to people and networking and events and like getting there and just the whole thing. So it's natural for us to be like Completely wiped when we get back.

Dustin Howes:

I hope so, and that's always my goal. I didn't want to get so depleted that I got sick, but so be it's a cost of admission, as I like to say. So Well, we're going to be doing the live Q&A, as always here, our question of the day. I want everybody to answer it. Get in the chats and that and let us know what was your favorite thing that happened at ASW. And I think that kicks off like where we want to go with this episode and what is the best thing that you saw.

Christen Evans:

The best thing that I saw. Oh man, it was so much. I just had such a good answer for you but, honestly, like the praying mantis that I saw in Fremont Street was amazing. I've never seen that before. The best thing I saw was when I went out to sushi with the upsell it team and Josh Murrell crushed it with sushi ordering like he was on top of it, knew everything, he has a shellfish allergy so he had to be kind of cautious with it with it. But he took that menu and just started spouting out orders and the rest of us were sitting there like this is a salesman in progress right here.

Dustin Howes:

Order any sushi, just took what he.

Christen Evans:

Yeah, he's basically like this is what I can eat. I eat this stuff all the time. I recommend it. Let's go and honestly, like I want somebody to order my sushi for me like that, every single time from here on out.

Dustin Howes:

Fantastic like that. I think best thing I saw was maybe the best stage like presentation I've seen in years, maybe ever, from the team at ASW. Like, just going in I felt like the organization of the stage rooms was done pretty well this year and, yeah, just going into that room it felt like it was a bigger conference and I've never really had that feeling going to Affiliate Summit Like I do go into a or what used to be like traffic and conversion. It's a really good stage presence and Claryon really brought that so I was excited to see that.

Christen Evans:

Yeah, the session. I mean you and I both emcee'd a couple of sessions and that was definitely a piece where I was like, wow, like they actually have emcees, you know, and it's not just like, okay, the session's starting, you know, which we've seen in years past. So there was a lot of really good organization. You know, it was fun being up there and like being able to kind of see how they run it behind the scenes a little bit. So, yeah, totally agree with you, amar.

Dustin Howes:

For sure, and I enjoyed my emcee session. I'm glad you got in as well to jump in. Yeah, we got some comments here. Victor, big fan of the show. What's up, everything is good minus sickness. Victor, you know that, and like Ernie coming in, asw Essentials business cards, hand sanitizers, lip balm, water and sleep. Sleep is for the week, mike.

Christen Evans:

I think I had two out of the five there Hand sanitizers, cards and some sleep Not enough water.

Dustin Howes:

So batting, still batting, 400. I mean, yeah, there's, there's, there's water and booze. I believe we used to like to say college yeah, all right, so that was best thing we saw. How about improvements from the last year's past? There's, there's an easy way to like go bat ASW and say like oh, it's not what it used to be, and like, oh, and Sean and Messy were there like I mean, you know Sean and Messy built such a great conference.

Christen Evans:

What's been interesting is how Clarion's kind of taken that conference and evolved it. One of the things I definitely like with the new space and I know there's a lot of chatter with the new space of like whether it's good, whether it's not One of the things I like is that there's light and that you can easily access the outside. You know, there are times, especially as somebody who does like I'm an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert, whichever way that plays out and there are times when I'm just like I need to piece and get some fresh air. So it's really nice to be able to have that easy access to outside. I like that there's natural light that comes in, you know, as opposed to like the faux sky of Paris. There are a lot of pieces.

Christen Evans:

I love the stages. You know I loved that this year, as opposed to last year, there wasn't another conference literally smack dab in the middle of the event hall, like. I don't know if you remember last year, but it was like affiliate summit, another conference and then affiliate summit at the end and it was all very confusing. It was very crowded. That did not happen.

Dustin Howes:

Great call on that. Like they dedicated this whole entire stage area into affiliate summit. All the rooms were very clearly marked. I still had a little bit of issue on day one of like finding the meeting spots with some of them and some of my meetings fell through because of it, but overall I think it was a better situation than it all was last year and the app, I think, improved. It's not like perfect yet, but it helped me like put together a really good calendar in the end.

Christen Evans:

Yeah, I think I agree with you. Like some of the meeting areas, I heard a lot of rumbling about people being like what is for your meeting area? How are you supposed to meet somebody there when it's basically just like a bunch of people at the bottom of the escalator? You know that one was a little bit difficult and I think that having the VIP meeting room a mile and a half away from the VIP lounge she was not necessarily the best play, because you did have to get up and walk all the way there. So I do hope that there are some more considerations about that going forward. But I also realized that the VIP meeting room was kind of a last minute edition based on the activity in the VIP labs last year.

Dustin Howes:

Very true, and I think that's necessary. Like you could just spend the whole day in the VIP room and like hanging out with the other VIPs and have an incredible like networking events within the VIP section. It was really incredible. Well worth the admission prize. I mean, I didn't pay for it, I got on stage and got a free VIP pass but, like for those of you like considering what network versus VIP would look like, that's well worth the cost of admission.

Christen Evans:

Agreed.

Dustin Howes:

And you know, speaking of schedule, this is what mine looked like. It was an absolute disaster, and this is so bad.

Christen Evans:

When you posted this on LinkedIn, Dustin, like I was having heart palpitations for you and I enjoyed it.

Dustin Howes:

I loved it and I really want to do this to myself on day one because I know I'm fresh and people are going to get the best of me out of our meetings as well. So, like I'm not afraid of doing something like this, and then we go there to network hard and that's just what I did. But in reality, like the 20 minute back to back to back isn't a good fit, like for anybody. These need to be 15 minutes and have a five minute gap. Like you have to be able to run to your next meeting, because my next meeting is never in the same room and I think that's something that has to be involved with the app for the next year, for sure.

Christen Evans:

One of the things that Avoid that, one of the things that I've been doing since I was a content creator, since I was a blogger, is finding somebody to kind of like Double team meetings with. So I did it this year with Nick Marquesi because we were hitting all the same.

Christen Evans:

Publishers were basically oh, oh so there were a few days where he and I would just double down on meetings and he and I he would pitch the brands that he wanted to pitch, I would pitch the brands that I wanted to pitch, but we were able to fit it within that same time slot and really make it efficient for the publisher, which you know. Honestly, it's kind of one of those like I'm trying to help you have the most productive Conference that you're gonna have. But Jessica Bishop and I have been doing that for years when we were content creators, we would both basically pitch our blogs to the brands in the same meeting and I've found that if you find that person that you can do that with, it's fantastic. I invited Karen Garcia from lab six into one of my meetings and, like it's just, it's so helpful, it's so efficient. But then also if it's a situation where you're able to facilitate that introduction, you know, obviously that's a value add for everybody without taking up additional time and creating additional legwork for people.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, that is such a smart, good veteran tip that I have never even considered or thought about Double teaming with that. I'm just so hyper focused on getting as many meetings as possible that I haven't even thought about like teaming up with somebody. So super smart, love that idea of that concept. It's like Stephanie Robin's Great idea. Chris and I Would have thought of that. Stephanie didn't get to go. I like that. The people that weren't able to go to this conference are the ones chiming in the most here because they didn't get to see it in action. So one last thing I will say on the improvements. I really liked the meetup areas. They made a vast improvement there. Like years past they made that area like too small and it was just a little crowded like trying to have the conversations. They made this a really big section and area for people to hang out and really like their improvement there. That's awesome. Any any last words on Improvement.

Christen Evans:

I would say. I mean, the only other thing is like the lunch situation was really confusing. You know, in years past, like VIP lounge had kind of its own lunch situation which was a lot easier to navigate, and this year I think that it was kind of I think it was a little bit lost in the confusion. You know, there were, there were tickets, but then there was like a concessions area where you could buy the lunch and I think as a result, a lot of people ended up going off site for lunch because it just kind of it wasn't communicated a hyper well and it wasn't exactly it's super organized, and I feel like probably a lot of people felt the value for the food wasn't really there and so they're like let's just go elsewhere, which, like, luckily, we were right next to the high roller, so we had access to a lot of great restaurants right there.

Dustin Howes:

True, true, I like. I do like the vicinity Right there next to all that restaurants, it made it easy for our happy hour.

Christen Evans:

Yes.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome. All right now to the real category. That meant that means something best rest. What do you? What do you want? Why don't you go ahead and go, for I mean, there was a lot like there.

Christen Evans:

I saw a dude in a lavender suit that I was like hell, yeah. But honestly, the way you looked today, that you emceed and then have your happy hour, I was like hands down, buddy, hands down. Look at that, look at that. That's a true mic drop.

Dustin Howes:

That's, that's how you dress up, that's how you emcee right that is fashion at they shun fashion. Well, that is very sweet of you to vote me, and Let so for me best rest easy game. It has to be Christian Doing our Frankenstein out on the street. This is late night, at her best.

Christen Evans:

So no credit to a Joel Garcia for sure on this one. I do have my Trademark sparkly shoes that I wear to every single conference. I've been known for years to have a pair of sparkle shoes hashtag sparkle shoes and my favorites this year were my glitter Chucks that I got for Taylor Swift last year and turns out this is a perfect Confort shoe. You know they're sparkly and you can wear them all day.

Dustin Howes:

Great, you never. You never show up. You're always dressed to impress I was. I always loved the way you're coming in fancy Honorable mention. I mean Peresh, never, every time, every time, like, yeah, he wears a hockey jersey, the best he wears. He wears a hat, the best he has. The most colorful shirts on earth, like.

Christen Evans:

Fashion icon in the affiliate space, for sure 100%, yes, absolutely All right.

Dustin Howes:

Next category construct a feedback for ASW. Anything you want to. We kind of hit on it a little bit, but anything else you want to add in here.

Christen Evans:

Yeah, I mean I would you know the lunch bit, I think, was definitely a piece of it. You know I I was really happy to see so many content focused sessions this year and, um less, you know, sully-sully-sully kind of things, that's. That was something that was really refreshing, really nice to see. You know the the stage that I am seen. We had two really good back-to-back content pieces went with a bunch of like Meg Kernahan from from Condé Nast, kelly Kern and Yeska Leppy from Gen 3 and Jamie Zimmerman from Third Love. That was a fantastic one. And then the one immediately following that had Stephanie Apple from A-Win, michelle Morgan from Acceleration Partners and a couple of other great industry leaders. Cody Joy was on there from I impact Performance Academy. So that was a like.

Christen Evans:

Those two were really good Strong takeaway sessions, which I feel like we've been missing a little bit over the last few years, where it was really like, oh, okay, that's something that I can go apply. So I love seeing that. I realize this is constructive feedback. I'm just saying that this is positive. Um, one of the things that I miss from the old days, as it were, is Companies being limited to one speaker. Okay, during affiliate summit. I think that when you know companies have multiple stage presences, it can be a little bit overwhelming and doesn't necessarily lead to as much prospective information as we can get. Like that the message becomes a little bit saturated. So I would love to see that limited again so that we can get a lot more new blood and a lot more fresh perspectives out of out there.

Dustin Howes:

Great, great calls on that and to that point, like if those of you out there that don't know, like if you buy sponsorship, you're essentially kind of buying your way up on the stage as well so you can have your company representative, and this is kind of a detriment to Everything out there. That is affiliate marketing, because that is limiting just to the folks that can afford to buy the sponsorship. Me and you are out there. We're not in a place where we can go and buy this kind of sponsorship to buy our way on stage, and that's disappointing to me because you know, when I'm throwing out a session to offer to this audience, I'm trying to educate and and Because those sponsors are so heavy On that side of getting them on stage, that's taking away opportunities.

Dustin Howes:

So one of my biggest feedbacks here is the fact that a lot of the sessions that were Scheduled just fell off the table, like they just decided not to show up or they're just not going to be there For that session and they just fall off the schedule. Your MC session was a whole day slated but you only had two to place two things on stage that day there. There was six slated in there and four of them just the last couple of weeks. Didn't decide they were gonna make it.

Christen Evans:

Yeah, well, I know that there were travel issues on the front end of the show as well, with a lot, of, a lot of, you know, storms in the northeast and in the Midwest. You know a couple of our friends got delayed by more than 24 hours. But yeah, I hear you, it did seem like there was some last-minute scrambling and then just like Scrap it, you know which.

Dustin Howes:

I don't think it's great communication or a good luck necessarily and I would love to see them pick up the the ones that didn't get accepted, yep, and fill those slots. Like I could have a talk track ready to go in a matter of days and I could fill in for that spot and still educate the folks and get them their money's worth for those that are attending for that kind of education. And Like that just wasn't out there, or maybe they tried, I don't know. Like maybe they're just too busy because the event coordination, whatever the case may be, like there's just missed opportunity that I would like to see not happen. Like they should have backups and say, hey, guess what? Somebody backed out, you're in now. Like whoever alternate have an alternate list ready to go.

Christen Evans:

That's a great idea is, yeah, absolutely have an alternate list so that you're able to fill the slots and Continue to bring that value to the attendees, especially those who are Making the investment not just in the ticket but travel and lodging etc to be there like make it worth their while. Otherwise they are not likely to come back in the following. Yeah.

Dustin Howes:

I'm sorry to that. Um, I Can't think of a ton others. I really love their stack of like meeting rooms so I could go to the VIP room and then run out to the Assigned tables room. They're right next to each other. That was super convenient.

Christen Evans:

I was not to stay.

Dustin Howes:

Want that to stay. That's gotta be there like.

Christen Evans:

Just love that component of it well, and having that next to, like that, the Network rooms to you know, a when chair sale was right next to the VIP lounge, as was the impact room, and for people who are Regular meeting kind of you know, at the meeting tables you know, and then with with the networks, like that was so handy and convenient.

Dustin Howes:

Very true, all right, and that's all I've got for constructive feed feedback there. I think they did a great job overall. Looks like Mike Carney's jumped in and he said Uh, with question, is it true that ASW 25 is at Rio and in February?

Christen Evans:

No okay so I super fun fact during the last part of my MC session I Announced that it is going to be back at Caesar's Forum on and in January next year. Tickets are already on sale.

Dustin Howes:

Excellent. Okay, that's good to know and I like the Caesar's Forum. I heard a little rumblings of like people not enjoying it, but I I got. I got a.

Christen Evans:

I like that. It's connected to two different hotels, you know. So you can have your choice of link or harrah's, and you know I mean honestly, the link was great. I got a deluxe king suite for $61 a night.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, not your bathrooms.

Christen Evans:

It was perfect. Like I love that and I mean it's a really easy walk. You know, even if you're in like district one, which is technically the farthest away, it's still a super easy walk and you get your stuff, just like getting there, you know.

Dustin Howes:

Yep For sure. And then Stephanie Robbins jumping back in very common and conferences loses credibility for the conferences in my eyes, and she's talking about like the speaker presentations and like who they're choosing in in the sessions. Good point there, stephanie, all right. Moving on, we did best dressed. We're going to go into the sponsor of the day real quick and that is having to do with affiliate recruitment and something that I'm very proud of and to be a part of, and that is a fee stash. A fee stash is your affiliate recruitment super tool. I'm now officially in as the CMO and co founder of a fee stash and very excited to make this tool much better throughout the years. And you can get a five free context use code ASW. Go to ASW dot a fee stash dot com to go get your account and try this out for today. See if it works for your workflow. What are you using for your using a fee stash right?

Christen Evans:

person. Oh no, I'm using just manual recruitment. I mean it's, it's the way I've been doing it for ages and, honestly, like it's tiring because it is a lot of work.

Dustin Howes:

Well, maybe you should switch it up and maybe you should be starting to use a fee stash. What do?

Christen Evans:

you think it sounds like I should make better choices?

Dustin Howes:

Absolutely A fee. Stash is a six pajama. Thank you for your glowing endorsement. Appreciate you All. Right, moving right along as we try to keep this to a 30 minute session, today, our oh, that is not the question I want to ask. Okay, best event, what'd you see out there?

Christen Evans:

Man. There was a lot, but honestly, the one that I had the most fun out was your happy hour, dustin. That was a blast. Lots of really good people. Look at that. Look at that. How many people was it like 3040.

Dustin Howes:

I mean there was some rotation throughout the night, but like probably 50 all together, when, all sudden done, I was blown away by the amazing.

Christen Evans:

I loved seeing all those people there. You know so many people that you've had on the podcast, people that we've worked with through the PMA or just you know various conversations, but yeah, it was just. That was super, duper fun. I loved seeing you in your element, which you really were, which was super fun. I you know when when I was like, oh shit, we should get a picture. You're just like jump on the table and that was the whole vibe. It was amazing.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, yeah. We snapped off a few good photos there there's. There's one I absolutely love and cherish. That'll stick with me for a long time and I just really appreciate all the support that I got. Like, you never really know who you touch by doing this kind of thing and producing this content, and when you throw an event and all these people show up it really warms the heart. So everybody that came by really appreciating thanks for being there and hanging out.

Christen Evans:

What was your favorite event?

Dustin Howes:

My favorite event. This is three years running the impact top golf event. I absolutely love going out there and like going bay to bay and like pulling out the driver and just smash it like total strangers, like who's this guy, justin? How?

Christen Evans:

I should watch you doing that more. I got pulled off to the chandelier bar because Missy Ward was over there and I wanted to see our. But yeah, this is the second year that I heard you say that like top golf was your jam and I feel like I've missed seeing you driving that so much. I'm gonna have to just pay better attention next year.

Dustin Howes:

It's a good time. I never miss that and I got to hang out with the wife and, like some really old CJ friends from back in the day, love that?

Christen Evans:

Yeah, that's Allison too, so it's the only other yeah that is Allison, yeah.

Dustin Howes:

So yeah, we got some great hang time with some old school folks and take some drinks down. Just a good time, yeah.

Christen Evans:

Great food was really good there this year.

Dustin Howes:

Really good food, yeah, entertaining, and there's, you know, a solid 200 people on that floor. Just walk around and you can run into a friend very easily and have a quick conversation and it's not so loud that you can't hear each other, which is also very acceptable in my mind. And let's see Victor's in here. He said love what I'm seeing on this stream. Of course you do, vic. Bring in those dollars. All right, how about coolest new tool you learned about? What do you got?

Christen Evans:

Yeah, so I have you to thank for this one, of course. When you grabbed me in the VIP lounge and introduced me to Justin from True Letter, that was super awesome.

Dustin Howes:

Great call.

Christen Evans:

Holy bananas. And Justin, if you're watching this. Yes, I owe you a message on LinkedIn. My inbox is been riled man, but yeah, that was such a cool tool. I'm like I was so blown away that I don't even think I can articulate exactly what it does, because I was just like holy bananas, that's perfect.

Dustin Howes:

That accidentally happened to be my first meeting of the day and he's scheduled and I'm like, absolutely, I'll check out a cool new tool. So let me try to explain it real quick for these folks. What's the name? Again, I forgot True Letter. I keep forgetting this and I don't know why. But his tool it's in the beta phase. They're they're pre revenue, but it's going to be really cool.

Dustin Howes:

So, basically, you take a blogger and you grab a series of their existing content and you take that and add it to AI and AI will create a new piece of content with your brand. Let's pretend you're the affiliate manager working with this affiliate, but you haven't got a hold of them yet. Right, it takes examples of that blog, takes their voice and creates a new blog post for you in their voice so that you can just hand this to the affiliate and recruit them at the same time. And what this is going to do is skyrocket conversion rate and reply rates on your outreach email. For, as an affiliate manager Like if you're reaching out to somebody and you already have a piece of content ready for them in their voice that is optimized for SEO lights out like everybody's going to say, yes, you're already doing them a favor and you could just get this to them. It's so easy, amazing.

Christen Evans:

Yeah, I mean it definitely, especially as an affiliate manager, one of the things that I regularly do is provide content prompts for a lot of my blogger affiliates Obviously not so much media affiliates, but blogger and influencer affiliates. We're providing a lot of briefs, prompts, et cetera, sound bites. This really takes that to a whole new level. I will definitely say any affiliates who are accepting this content, make sure that you're judging it a little bit so that it's truly in your voice and you're editing so that it's still unique to you and authentic to you. But like holy bananas, what a great way to A pitch affiliates, but B really help with the activation of affiliates that are struggling to create content. One of the things I do a lot of times with content partners is triage their content for optimizations. This is going to really take away some of the pain of doing that, while also being able to spin up new content for new brands really easily.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, yeah, super good choice. I have two others that I don't know if they're going to be winners or not. One was Search Atlas. This is a new SEO tool that combines all the things that you do with SEO. It looked really cool. I'm excited to get on a live demo, but they were having a fresh demo in the booth and looked really cool. And then the other one was Connectio, which I'd never heard of, and they're a publisher recruitment tool that does competitive analysis on the brands that you're competing against. It'll find all of the affiliates that are joined to their programs and it has this metric which I do not believe, but they have it there and it was like how much revenue they're making as an affiliate for that brand. There's no cost.

Christen Evans:

I feel like there's no way.

Dustin Howes:

There's no way they can get that kind of magic into it. But I asked him about hey, what's that metric right there? And he's like that's an estimation. But this is our algorithm and they're fully funded. They've got a round of series funded, so they're well backed. They're out of Israel but they are for enterprise clients only. They're starting price point is $25,000 a year Way out of any place that I can be. But I'm going to be an affiliate of them and suggest it to bigger brands that might need something like this in depth. But cool, I like where that technology is going. I have a much better price point at $100 a month, so I'm not afraid to like.

Dustin Howes:

I'm not afraid to like happy stuff, but whatever, like Victor's saying True Letter Sounds pretty cool. Intriguing opportunity here. For sure, we're definitely going to co-market with them in some kind of capacity. Yeah, I think that would be dope. All right. And then last thing, best session. What do you got?

Christen Evans:

Who? Yeah, so the two sessions that I am seed on Wednesday, I think we're just like bananas good. The one with the Gen 3 folks and Meg from Condé Nast and Jamie from Third Love was like I mean, I think it was the powerhouse session because it was validating on the findings that I've been finding as an affiliate manager, which is that truly, in order to get the best placements, the best implication with media partners, brands need to be prepared to have a budget. Absolutely like organic is amazing and wonderful if you can get it.

Christen Evans:

But to make that organic stretch even further, amplifying that content with budget is not only going to foster a deeper, evergreen relationship with that media partner but is going to effectively make that single investment so much bigger. It gives you a lot more room with that media partner to get your brand included in more content on both an organic and paid level. It does foster that relationship, but it also shows the partner that you're taking that partnership seriously and you're not just trying to scrape by with a link, and I think that that was really interesting. It requires a lot of buy-in by shareholders and stakeholders. There is still a high level of affiliate education that needs to happen in order for that buy-in to happen, especially on the smaller, medium, small and medium emerging brand size. But it was validating to hear that, yes, absolutely, budget is so helpful in ensuring that we're able to land the content, land the relationship and continue moving it forward.

Dustin Howes:

Great, great call, great content. Sounds like we could have been there One session. I really well. I got to MC a bunch of them, so I got some good education. I would say the toughest thing about MCing was not being able to buy in and give my opinion.

Christen Evans:

I was like standing in the back of the room. I'm like I have stuff to say, I say something.

Dustin Howes:

Can I use this microphone please? I have a microphone right here.

Dustin Howes:

The worst one was they were talking about fraud and they're missing some major points. So I was like, ah, but outside of that, the sessions that I got to MC, which were great I think I never miss anything Brooke talks about. Brooke is one of the smartest guys in this industry and he talked about how to deal with every coupon site that you work with and being able to fix the problem of still working with them but keeping them in a certain capacity and keeping your program diversified throughout your affiliate portfolio there. So super smart, actionable items that every brand can take and still work with FMTC and coupon and loyalty sites. That was my favorite of the day.

Christen Evans:

I love that there's a lot of room for that and it's great that he's educating on it, because I feel like that's one of the very big kind of misconceptions about those partners and that's a conversation that I have with brands all the time is they're foundational. They can be really key to driving a lot of the early optics of a program. So I love that Brooke addressed that.

Dustin Howes:

And it's something he faces every day with FMTC and that wonderful platform that they have there. All right, as we wrap this up, any final notes that you want to really tap into everything here.

Christen Evans:

I would say my big final note is I did something new this year. Aside from losing my phone, which I've never done, my big thing this year was that I got airport hangtime, both on the front end and back end, with friends and that made the whole thing extra special to me. Being able to meet up with you and Sarah and Karen and Joel at the airport here in the Nussel flying together. That was great. I loved, loved, loved that it kind of set the vibe off the right way. It really was a positive, fun way to begin the trip. And then on the way back, jessica and I had our flights pretty close together and so we got to do airport hangs on the end and that was a really good, fun way to kind of decompress and wrap up.

Dustin Howes:

So yeah, it was cool.

Christen Evans:

And it was not just extraneous people, like it was some of my closest friends and I think that it was really I don't know the whole thing. I felt really kind of good and positive this year. Last year was scary. I launched Spark Partnerships at ASW last year, so this was our one year anniversary and now, yeah, I just felt so much better going into it this year and I think a lot of that is the community and the support system that I've had around me. So thank you, and thank you Sarah and Joel and Karen, nick and Jessica I'm not going to thank Nick, don't tell me I said that, but yeah, that was huge for me this year. So you know, as always, like, lean on your people, it's a relationships-based industry and my best relationships have come out of this industry.

Dustin Howes:

Yeah, I got to witness you trying to deal without your phone for a full day and that was heartbreaking for me to watch, because you had all your meetings and, like you can't see your schedule anymore, like I don't even know how you got to your meetings, or like how you managed it.

Christen Evans:

I managed it by out of the minute.

Dustin Howes:

You managed to make it happen somehow, which was really impressive. But I've been so proud of you throughout this year of like the steps you've taken and the grinding that you've been doing and watching you and action out there at ASW just made me so proud of you and I'm so glad we got some hang time together as well on the front end, and like I'm never going to have anything on the back end, like I'm completely exhausted all of the time.

Christen Evans:

When I called you on Friday, you're like that's not happening and I was like okay.

Dustin Howes:

You tried to get me to go to the bar, like after the conference. I'm like I am gone, leave me alone.

Christen Evans:

I heard it in your voice, I was like, okay, bye, have a good flight. But I appreciate you trying.

Dustin Howes:

I'll always try. All right, let's wrap this up, . Thanks for joining me and talking to ASW. For all those folks out there interested in going, I'll probably put a link in the description so you can sign up for next year, but don't forget if you sign up for the PMA, you get free or discounted tickets, and it's that's right.

Dustin Howes:

It pays for the price of admission every PMA year that you are a member. They don't pay for its ticket for ASW, which is worth the price of admission. So go into it, join the PMA and happy recruiting out there. Folks, take care.

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Improvements and Feedback for ASW
Changing Affiliate Summit Speaker Structures
Affiliate Recruitment and Event Highlights
Highlights and Reflections on ASW Conference