Another Affiliate Summit has come and gone (this was number 4 for me, so close to that 5+ button!). After taking a day or so to recover, I’m ready to share my thoughts on what I learned and experienced.
Affiliate Summit West 2013 was the largest Affiliate Summit to date with 5,275 attendees. And it could be felt. I love the energy, the vibrancy, and the chance to connect with new people. There were however several people that I just passed briefly in the hall and didn’t get much of a chance to talk to.
I arrived on Saturday and was able to go to the Miss America finals with Deb Carney, Liz Fogg and Sarah Bundy. We were seat fillers and it was interesting to see things behind the scenes. I was rooting on my girl Miss Michigan (she was my daughter’s first dance teacher) but the top winner of the night was Miss New York.
Sunday morning the conference started and I was busy right out of the gate with live blogging several sessions that day. I went to Increase Traffic and Sales with Video Marketing, Affiliate Strategies for a Post Penguin World, and Coping with Affiliate Marketing Challenges. All were good, well attended sessions that had some great information. Fun Fact! I think the name Sally is probably going to be used a lot when people are creating their ideal target customer.
It was also the coldest Affiliate Summit. Temperatures were some of the coldest that Las Vegas has ever seen, including several nights of hard frost warnings. Brrr, made for some very cold walks outside and a freezing cold time on the outdoor dance floor of Chateau, where the Shareasale Masquerade Party was held on Sunday night.
Even though it was cold, the party absolutely rocked. And fortunately there was an indoor space to thaw off, grab a drink, take a whirl on the dance floor and grab a seat to people watch and network. I loved the masquerade theme. If you didn’t bring your own mask, there were quite a few laying around. I love Shareasale’s parties because it is their way of giving back to the merchants and affiliates that work with them. It is a chance to have some fun after a busy day.
Monday morning brought breakfast (a great feature of having a VIP or higher pass). I love sitting down for these meals because it is a chance to connect with old friends and meet new ones. Please never go and sit by yourself at one of these. Put on your outgoing hat (as an introvert I know it is hard!) and ask to sit at a table with others. Trust me, they will say yes and you will meet some new people, laugh, and learn something.
After that it was time for the Keynote with Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. I loved his speech, he really was the ultimate underdog that didn’t let goofy thoughts and naysayers keep him down. It took him 10 years to get his movie made but he did not quit. He played the last five minutes of the movie and it made me cry. Again. Afterward I got to meet him and he signed a copy of his book. He is just a very down to earth kind of guy.
Lunch was with my newcomer Gary Chappell. This is the first year that I have mentored someone, figured it was a great way to give back to a conference that has helped me in many ways. We went to Max Brenner in the Forum Shops on a recommendation. Their hot chocolate comes in a fun hug mug. I highly recommend it. We had a really great discussion on the affiliate marketing business, how life changes after having children, and the most important life lesson we have learned. Thank you for a really great lunch Gary!
After lunch I attended the SEO Q&A and some time in the Exhibit Hall. Plus some fun time in the Blogger’s Lounge. I love this benefit of being press in that it is a place to step out of the swirling noise, grab a cup of tea, and rest my feet. Monday night there was an unofficial karaoke event over at Bill’s Casino. I got up to sing my first karaoke ever and it was reported to be good. No tape to confirm or deny that.
Tuesday morning meant the last day of Affiliate Summit. I’m always so surprised how quickly it flies by. The morning opened with the Pinnacle Awards and Keynote with Julie Clark, founder of Baby Einstein. The Pinnacle Affiliate Legend was given to Mike Mackin, without whom, I would never be an affiliate marketer. I also attended 7 Legal Pitfalls Affiliate Marketers Should Avoid and Tips and Tricks to Working From Home. I also had one more time to go through the Exhibit Hall (tip: this is a great place to pick up pens).
I met some new people this time around including Sarah Bundy (not sure how we have never connected before), Nathan Smith (yay for one more from Michigan), Ashley Coombe (speaking to you the first morning was worth the whole trip) and the other Shannon, Shannon Vogel (we need more time to chat next time). I know I am missing a million other people, but know it was really nice meeting you all.
My key takeaways from the conference was video, video, video, be brandable, and just produce great, original content.
I’m already planning ahead for Affiliate Summit East 2013. It is going to be held in Philadelphia in August. One of my goals for that conference is to step outside my comfort zone and speak in a panel. Registration is already open for Early Birds, great time to get a good price.