It is hard for me to believe that in October 2007 (just over 18 months ago) I didn’t know what an affiliate was, or what they did. Now I have been nominated for an award for my work in the affiliate community. It is tremendously hard for me to fathom. I guess before I go into my thankyou’s I should explain just what a personal acheivement this is for me.
It’s mid October 2007 and my current manager and boss in passing conversation say “We’ve decided you will be looking after our affiliates and white labels” – Affili-what??? The current affiliate manager, a dear friend of mine had lost interest (which he will admit) and they saw my skills coming from a sales background and my flair for talking to anyone and they put the two together.
I’ll be honest, I resented them incredibly for not even asking if I wanted the job, just thrusting it upon me. I had just left a well paid sales job and had moved from Twickenham to Watford for this one. I wanted to do core marketing, writing was what I loved so I was angry about being forced into affiliate management. Anyway, I battled on and learned the trade but faced ‘no’ at every corner. Eventually I began to understand the needs of an affiliate and how they worked and grasped the concept of cookies and tracking and the odd voucher code. Then came the time when how a feed worked really sank in! I even managed to launch the programme onto a second network!
By the spring of 2008 I was getting really really fed up of working for the company, fed up of the corporate policies and waiting months for an answer, sick of people not understanding my job and not understanding the power of an affiliate. I was ready to give in and go back to sales or another form of marketing. Then came the best news… After reading on the forum that there was a last minute place to Barbados with Affiliate Future I put my heart and soul into winning a place, I begged, humiliated myself and stayed up all night with my laptop just incase someone elses entry was better than mine. I won a ticket!!! (Thanks Sunshine.co.uk!)
Barbados was my first affiliate event, so boy was I nervous! I met some of the nicest, hard working amazing people on that trip who not only proved that yes, afterall affiliates ARE human beings, and where I had a secure salary, they didn’t. I had a few very in depth conversations with people and it was then that I realised I loved the industry, loved the people, but did not love my current company!
Returning to the UK and back into the swing of things I began looking for a new job, and tried to get to as many get togethers as possible. A chance meeting at a get together and I met Mark.
“you’ll give me a job” said a drunken Hannah… A few weeks later and another get together and again “You said you would give me a job” eventually Mark caved and said maybe. I had an interview in the late July where I met Mark and Bruce, we shook hands over a few glasses of wine and a kebab, and in the Septemeber I made the move to Plymouth.
Having never been to Plymouth before I was understandably nervous, but Mark and Lorraine and Martin soon made me feel at home, and of course I brought Monkey the cat!
Mark spent alot of time training me in the finer arts of Affiliate Marketing whilst Bruce worked from Milton Keynes teaching me the finer arts of big words and increased my vocabulary! It has been great to spend the last 9 months working with such passionate, devoted industry figures who both in their own rights deserve awards, if only just for putting up with me for such a long time! I think we make a brilliant team, constantly throwing ideas around, teaching each other tricks of the trade and most importantly we have fun and love what we do.
So I guess what I am trying to explain is that the past 18 months have been a steep learning curve, and I have gone from someone who hated all things affiliate to someone who loves affiliate marketing, I dream about it, talk about it constantly and spend my life online. I know it sounds sad, but my closest friends are in the industry, my role models are in the industry and the people learn from are in it too. It isn’t just a job to me, it is a lifestyle. I think those of you in our ‘community’ will feel the same way as I do.
Being nominated for ‘Account Manager of the Year’ came as a shock I have to say, although some people had kindly said they would nominate me, I felt that there were more deserving people in the industry, and let’s face it there are 34,493 members of the forum (at the time of typing this) so just a few people is a small snippet of all those eligable to nominate. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, trust me if there was a way of me finding out who nominated me I would thank you all individually. As it is I am having to blog about it! I wish I could thank everyone individually on here but so many of you have contributed to me either as a friend, with advice and tips or just a good gossip that I would be here all day saying thanks to you all! I guess thanks mainly to all you affiliates, Mark and Bruce for taking a chance on me, the Network staff and my lovely clients!
Thankyou, with all my heart thankyou all for the nominations, the support, the jokes and the friendships. It means the world to me. There are some great contenders in my category who are all more than deserving of the award so good luck to you all.
I hope to see you all at the awards ceremony for a drink or several. Oh, and can someone stop me flirting with Jason Manford, he is quite beautiful!
Oh if you do want to vote for me (so I can meet Jason in real life) click here.
Or if you want to vote Existem Affiliate Management for Agency of The Year click here.