Hi Anastasia, Before heading further, please let us know a bit more about you.
Hey everyone, and thanks for having me today for this interview! My name is Anastasia, I am a creative marketer, passionate about helping companies reach their sales, growth, and visibility objectives. I consult on the best strategy to apply to their brand awareness efforts and act as an advisor to attract high-quality leads through marketing channels. By now, I have the background of launching marketing and PR campaigns in different types of companies: from the hospitality business, international charity foundations, start-ups to huge MarTech companies.
How did you enter into the affiliate marketing industry?
I started my career in affiliate marketing in early 2017. Before that, I had absolutely no idea what affiliate marketing is, and thought that traffic is the megabytes of the Internet on my phone:) Thanks to the Affise team I got deep into the industry and even acquired the superpower to make a total stranger understand how affiliate marketing works in just 2 minutes.
What is your role at Affise?
As the Head of Marketing Communications and Public Relations at Affise, I am responsible for developing and implementing marketing and brand awareness strategy in the company. I work alongside a fantastic team, and together we broadcast industry insights and our expertise to help marketers identify new growth opportunities and get more value from partnerships channel and performance marketing technologies.
What has been the profession you always wanted to be in your childhood? How different/similar is it from your current role?
Frankly speaking, I was craving to be a singer for all my childhood and adolescence. In my dreams, I always wanted to be the first singer from Belarus that won the Eurovision song contest:) My elder sister even wrote the song for me to conquer the Eurovision stage. In reality, I had my own rock band (and we even had a solo concert when I was 15).
Compared to what I have now – can I call myself a superstar provided I am giving an interview right now?:) I don’t think so, but I still sing just for fun.
Please tell us something about Affise. What changes have been there on the product side ever since you joined the team? Compare it with what it was and what it is now.
When I joined the team in 2017, Affise was a small, yet very promising start-up with the mission to disrupt and rock partner marketing industry with the newest technological solutions. Our motto was “Higher, faster, stronger”, and we knew exactly that we had the potential and capacity to conquer this industry.
In just no time we managed to cut through the rest of the noise in SaaS, we grew to a team of 120+ professionals from different spheres of partner and performance marketing, and we keep on implementing our knowledge into creation of the most advanced technological solutions to create and expand partnerships, making it the ultimate ROI channel.
By 2020, we have launched offices in 6 countries (Lithuania, India, China, Belarus, Cyprus, Israel), gained trust among 1000+ clients and partners, and have been recognized with 24 industry awards (including Industry Choice of Technology, Great User Experience and Leading Software in several categories). I was lucky to see and be a part of that growth and evolution.
How do you balance your professional and personal life? If you work at home, how do you keep the distractions away and focus on things that matter?
The first time I got stroken by the thought that I couldn’t balance my professional and personal life was when I found myself in the lockdown in March 2020. Before that I thought I was virtuously tacking between working routine, time with friends and beloved, business trips and travelling. The quarantine showed the opposite: apparently, I had no hobbies and activities that I could do at home.
After I watched practically everything on Netflix and Youtube, the only thing I could keep myself busy with was working. After about a month spent in such a regime, it seemed I was about to burn out. To fix it, I literally forced myself to go out during my lunch time and in the evenings. Luckily, several months later I got used to the new normal reality, found several hobbies and even discovered remote work more productive.
What is Affise and what makes it stand out from the competitors?
Affise is a partner marketing platform for brands, advertisers and agencies to manage and scale their performance marketing channels within one platform. The synergy of technology and our long standing experience lets our clients expand their partnerships, automate every step of the ad campaign lifecycle and make data-driven decisions. That’s the exact stack of technology that marketers need to grow their advertising efforts and maximize ROI from partner marketing channel.
What do you think is the biggest mistake that a new affiliate marketer/entrepreneur does and how one can fix that?
The biggest mistake a new affiliate marketer can make is when they focus on short-term profit. The growth of the industry revenue attracts those affiliates seeking the ways to yield big quickly. Although the black-hat affiliate marketing techniques may bring you some money, they won’t work in the long run and will compromise your reputation as a marketer. The advertisers and brands are now very selective in choosing business partners for their affiliate programs. Thus, you need to be a reliable partner to your clients and make sure they are satisfied with your service – that will bring you prosperity in any business including partner marketing.
If you’re to build a new affiliate network, what would be the top priorities to consider and why?
It might not sound ground-breaking, but the key 3 priorities would be:
- attracting direct advertisers with exclusive offers,
- partnering with reliable partners and publishers,
- choosing the partner marketing platform to manage all these partnerships in the most efficient way.
All the three points are closely related to each other. If you have exclusive offers, you’re more likely to find perfectly aligned partners, and vice versa. The technology plays the vital role here, as it does (or doesn’t) help marketers to expand and manage these partnerships, and provide their partners with the intuitive interface, flexibility and automation tools.
What keeps you motivated? What is the source of your motivation?
People are what motivates me the most. The humanking is an unlimited resource of wisdom, inspiration and motivation. I am getting inspired when I hear true stories of real people, their ups and downs; I applaud them for their bravery and share the deep fears they try to combat.
How many countries have you been to and where you like the most? And which place still scares you?
I have visited around 30 countries. But London (and the United Kingdom) is my heart and soul. I love this balance of the megapolis rhythm, fast-moving city and deep heritage roots & traditions the British cherish and take care of.
Speaking of the place I would love to visit but which still scares me, it’s Antarctica. I adore penguins, but the temperature of −80 °C doesn’t seem like one I can handle:)
What is the most important thing that modern digital marketer lacks? What would you like to fix?
What I lack most of all in my digital marketer’s life is the 25th hour in a day. Sounds like quite a challenge to fix, right?:)
Jokes aside, the modern digital marketers can leverage a wide range of automation tools to make their life easier and get rid of routine stuff. BI and analytics tools are priorities as well. They won’t give you a most wanted 25th hour, but would definitely help you make decisions faster and focus on the marketing strategy instead.
Can you name a few tools that you use to make the life of someone in your position easier?
My favourite tool PR-wise is Mention – I use it to monitor brand’s mentions over the web and social media. As for building a strong content marketing strategy, the best tools are Ahrefs (toolset for backlinks and SEO analysis) and Clearscope (keyword research and content optimization tool).
HubSpot is unbeatable when it comes to marketing automation, web analytics and managing sales funnels.
If you’re to build a marketing strategy for a brand, what would be the top priorities to consider and why?
As Bill Gates said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations”. I would not dare to disagree with the billionaire, I completely share the idea that a strong brand image and perfectly aligned publicity carve the success of the company. In the end, people do not buy goods or services, they buy relations and stories.
Moreover, I suppose that the partner marketing industry really lacks companies with a powerful PR strategy. The majority do not even bother investing in their lucrative image. And those who do – well, we all know the names of these companies:)
How can someone reading this interview connect with you? (social media links please)
What is your feedback about affnext?
I have known Affnext and Vashishtha Kapoor personally for quite a while, and I love seeing how his projects evolve over time. I wish Vashishtha to keep up with the high standards he set, and the success in everything he does.