Interview with Helen Southgate about AM Days

Helen-SouthgateThe 3rd speaker interviewed for Affiliate Management Days London 2014 is UK Managing Director of affilinet Helen Southgate.

Helen is also a well versed marketer who was recently profiled in MarketingWeek on “Just what is affiliate marketing“.

Helen will be speaking on Day 2 during the Keynote session from 9:15am-10:15am on “The Role of the Affiliate Network“.

1) Do you mind telling us a little bit about your background and your current role?

I started in affiliate marketing back in 2002 at a company called Silvertap as an account manager, working on Tesco Finance and Freeserve (which became Wanadoo and then Orange!).  So, I’m old school affiliate and have worked through the account management ranks.  I moved to London in 2007 to Deal Group Media as Account Director, then progressed to Head of Affiliates.

In 2009 I decided to make the move client side and went to BskyB as Senior Online Marketing Manager, looking after affiliates and search.  In my time in that role I also chaired the IAB affiliate marketing council for a year in 2011. I then progressed to a wider role as Online Marketing Controller in Digital Planning & Strategy before moving back network side in May last year to be UK MD of affilinet. I’ve gone full circle!

2) I noticed that affilinet’s website is completely responsive, what positive impact did that have on your business and your credibility to exist in a multi-platform world?

Our view is that if you don’t exist in a multi-platform / multi-device world then you’re not doing it right. We’ve got to practice what we preach! There has been enough research over the last few years to demonstrate that such an approach is a no brainer really.

3) How quickly do you see advertisers and publishers adapting to a multi-screen world? Who is adapting quicker affiliates or agencies?

Advertisers are being the quickest to adapt, I still think publishers are falling behind a little but perhaps that’s because they are not really being given the incentive (some programmes still don’t track mobile sales believe it or not) or being given the right support and advice.  There is a lot of data out there in market but very little advice on how to actually make affiliate marketing work in mobile. I think networks need to do a better job here with both our advertisers and our publishers.

4) Do you think people are still avoiding the omni-channel world?

I really dislike the word “omni-channel”, it’s unfortunately another buzz word with little meaning to add to “native advertising” and “performance marketing”. But I don’t think people are avoiding it once they work out what it actually means.  I term this as “multi-channel” and from experience being client side it is extremely difficult, as a business, to get to this stage. Very few advertisers have really become multi-channel and if you ask them how long it took them they will all point to several years of structural and cultural changes, something that is not easily done at many large companies.  It is of course every company’s objective and as the years pass we’ll see this becoming the norm.

5) Has the complexity of dealing with FTC (USA) or OFT (UK) improved?

No, it is still a challenge often because affiliate marketing is a small part of online and many people still do not fully understand it in the regulation world.  However, I think the IAB and the affiliate marketing council have done a great job in tackling these challenges head on and pre-empting them. The recent RMR work has been a good example of that in terms of how the industry came together to lobby for better decisions.

6) Which regions are leading the charge in compliance? UK,USA,Asia,APAC?

I don’t have a lot of insight into the affiliate sector outside of the UK and rest of Europe but I believe from discussions I’ve had, and articles I’ve read, that the UK is leading the way when it comes to compliance.  Some networks and publishers have invested a significant amount of resource into spotting, monitoring and improving compliance over the years to create, what I believe, are industry leading standards.

7) How do you think the market adapting to EU Cookie Law (EU e-Privacy Directive)?

I think most advertisers have reacted well to the cookie law in terms of making their data policies clear and use of cookies. It’s common now that on entering a new website you see a box appear asking you to accept cookies. In fact, it’s fairly irritating so the Directive seems to have done a good job of negatively disrupting the consumer experience!  I think there are likely to be a lot more repercussions over the coming years, but the political situation in the next year or so may well affect that too.

8) What do you hope attendees will get out of attending the keynote panel on “The Future of Affiliate Marketing”?

Hopefully an insight into how the different affiliate networks are viewing the future of affiliate marketing.  I think as networks we all have slightly different views and strategies but all with the same objective, to grow the channel.

9) What other AM Days speakers or sessions are you most looking forward to attending?

I’m looking forward to our Senior Account Manager Daniel Lancioni speaking on the second day about “affiliate management, the long and short of it”.

10) If people want to follow/engage with you online?

On Twitter @HelenMarie21 but I warn you that I tweet about football, cycling and running much more than affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Management Days

Thank you Helen for your time in answering these questions.  If you want to catch Helen Southgate speak and save ££££ on tickets for AM Days London you can use our discount code LOSTAGENCY14 and you can register and find out more here.