Affiliate Managers in the online gambling industry have got it made. Or at least it appears that way to the outsider. Non-industry friends of affiliate managers think their buddies have the best job in the world- a non-stop party of global travel, free drinks, expensed lunches, dinners, wild nights out, hours of instant messaging in the office and pretty healthy salaries. Colleagues from other departments within the company secretly (or sometimes obviously) envy the affiliate team because it seems they are always “out of the office” or screwing around in the office (note Affiliate Lounge’s internal nickname “Affiliate out to lunch”).
However, the “insiders” know that if an AM is any good at what they do, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Yes, its true they travel and they expense and they party and they are loud, but in return it’s a 24/7 responsibility requiring dedication, patience, negotiation, education, energy and about a million other things all at once – both in the office and at the conferences.
As an affiliate, I worked with dozens of Affiliate Managers in my past job and I will never forget their names or what program they represented at the time- they stick with you like elementary school teachers. To give you a peek into the mysterious world of an Affiliate Manager, I spoke with four of my favorites, Martyn Beacon of Affiliate Edge, Rick Abdullovitch of Betting Partners, Renee Mate of Rewards Affiliates and Marit von Stedingk of Affiliate REPUBLIK.
Here’s how a typical day kicks off for these guys. Renee begins with a 5am gym session because she says if she skips it, “people are usually fighting me off with a stick because I resemble something similar to a bear that hasn’t eaten”.
Marit likes to enjoy two to three cups of coffee to clear her head before jumping into emails and Martyn “usually gets a few jibes from the workplace bullies”, logs on to all the systems and checks missed Skype messages before he “drops an anchor into the pooh bay”.
Rick’s day starts off with something like this, “Rolling over to my night stand and picking up my iPhone, I’d say 99% of the time there’s at least 1 e-mail answered from bed, so my day starts as soon as I wake up. That or I’d say its as soon as I fire up my computer and address the 3187874874 offline Skype messages from overnight that need to be replied to”.
After settling in the office, the bulk of an AM’s day is truly hectic, all over the map and never ending. “No two days are the same, but Skype has become both my best of worst friend. I have about 10 conversations open at all time, blinking at me to answer. In between I’m creating marketing campaigns for the casino, campaigns for the affiliates and newsworthy stories for affiliates to publish”, explained Marit.
Renee spends her day answering emails, monitoring and optimizing campaigns and stats while Rick trolls the forums, attends management meetings, interacts with partners and continues the hunt for the next “superaffilate”.
Martyn’s day is also similar, he said, “I learned from an early age that affiliates tend not to like cold calls, so Outlook, Skype and MSN Messenger (RIP) tend to look after most of my day. I generally answer questions, deal with issues and creative requests while maintaining a level of e-meither to affiliates to promote our brands more. On top of this I look at ways of improving and developing the affiliate offering AffiliateEdge.com provides”.
A common denominator here is that all AMs are answering questions from affiliates all day long. According to the quartet, here are some of the most popular questions they receive on a daily basis:
-Can you build my website?
-Do you take US players?
-Why is Google screwing me over?
-How can I get more traffic?
-How can I increase my conversions?
-When will I get paid?
-What are the details of this promotion?
-Can I come visit you in Barcelona?
-Will you marry me?
Even though some of these questions must get annoying after a while, thankfully it’s the little things that can make an Affiliate Manager’s day. Rick shared that in addition to celebrating success with his team and not getting “flamed” in the forums, “It’s lending my experience and expertise in the industry with partners and seeing their time and effort come to fruition. No better feeling that giving an affiliate some tips that really end up helping their bottom line and help build on your business relationship”.
Along the same vein, Martyn said, “I like seeing results come in from a deal I’ve done, or just in general from working with an affiliate for a while and finally seeing things convert or pick up following a Google update“.
What makes Marit happy is positive feedback from affiliates about her company’s casino and what makes Renee REALLY happy is “waking up at 5am to lift heavy $hit”.
It’s a good thing that these relatively simple things make our Affiliate Managers happy because doing this job well is not a nine to fiver, it’s a twenty four sevener. “We work in a global industry meaning we have partners all over the world, so being available at all times of the day sort of comes with the position”, explained Rick.
Martyn added, “I get emails on my phone so it’s as good as being 24/7. If something needs addressing or dealing with at that time I’ll do it. It’s a 24 hour business so I guess I need to be available most of the time”.
Marit agrees that there is always something to do, so her only real time off is when she closes her eyes for “eight hours of beauty sleep”.
When asked when her day finished, Renee joked, “Either when I’ve had enough of looking at the computer screen or when my fiancé tells me I need to come home and cook dinner. If I waited until I had finished my work to come home, the mattress under the desk would be used way too often”.
After chatting with these four its clear that they love their work and it should be obvious that they are very good at what they do. What these four have also mastered is how to make the most of their time at an iGaming Affiliate Conference, a delicate art that we will explore in Part 2 of A Day in the Life of an iGaming Affiliate Manager.