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Interviews — 09 Aug 2021
First Interview with the CMO of Affise
This summer, Affise introduced a new Chief Marketing Officer – Sam O’Brien. Sam joined Affise after working with RingCentral as their Digital and Growth EMEA Director. During his time at RingCentral, he supported the company in their growth to $1bn ARR, maintaining the expansion into Europe and APAC. With a passion for branding and design, Sam has proven himself to be a leading growth marketer.
Now it’s time to get to know Sam O’Brien, CMO at Affise, a little bit closer and perhaps learn some of his secrets for professional success. Check our small interview with Sam.
Could you describe your philosophy in life and how it’s projected to your work in marketing?
Have fun, be yourself, and don’t take things too seriously. I think those three things are as important to a person as they are to a brand. I’m a strong believer that everyone should be themselves. Diversity and differences in opinions all add to innovations. So be you, don’t act like you think you’re meant to.
Can you share any tips for managing marketing budgets?
Always keep some budget back for testing. Companies often plan their budgets so they know exactly where they are spending and what on, but during a quarter, that leaves no room for innovation. I recommend leaving a pot of cash to test, try a new channel, launch a campaign you haven’t done before. As its test budget, we’ll assign a very low expected ROI quite often. The freedom creates new ways of spending the budget, and in return, you see far greater results compared to what’s expected.
Do you think any particular marketing trends will be the most influential in the next year or two?
Well, clearly, I’m here because I believe Partner Marketing is fast becoming the backbone of every marketing strategy.
You can see over time, we’ve had a shift in marketing, channels have become more popular, and marketers need to be experts in everything. As this happens, the world of marketing has become more labour-intensive. You now need one person managing each of your social media channels and someone managing forums, oh and don’t forget you need someone managing paid channels as well, and content… The list goes on.
So I believe companies will “outsource” this work. If we are honest with ourselves, that all Partner Marketing is: let someone else create the content on the channel they have a following, leaving marketing to focus on the customer journey.
How do you see the future of partner marketing management platforms and affiliate marketing in general?
I believe, for SaaS providers, it’s still early days. We’ve got some great releases coming up that will really change the marketing landscape.
I expect to see a lot of innovation within the SaaS partner management space; our tools will be part of every MarTech stack.
With the growth of TikTok and more people making money as Influencers, we’ll see a change in how brands interact with their audiences once again. Today, you expect to be sold via a trusted source, less reliance on a brand’s marketing, and more on influencers. Buying behaviour has shifted, successful companies will follow that shift.
E-commerce and retail are highly disrupted industries at the moment. Amazon has ruled for a long time, but I feel tools like BigCommerce and Shopify combined with Affise will give small vendors not only a chance to compete but a chance to win in their niches.
Overall the future of Partner Platforms and Affiliates is very bright; it’s on a great upwards trajectory, partnerships are a crucial element of growth.
Can you name three things you like most about affiliate marketing?
The top of the list has to be the community. In the last several months, I’ve had some incredible conversations with people who are “famous” affiliate marketers. Everyone has been so welcoming, open, and willing to talk.
From a Marketer’s perspective, I think it’s the reach, speed, and low costs you can get with Affiliates. Actually, the ability to start new campaigns in hours or days, not weeks, is incredible when you’re trying to be agile. Especially if you have gaps in sales to fill, leveraging affiliates at that point can be a quick solution to get your business back on track. You’re also moving a lot of the pressure to the affiliate, leaving them responsible for all optimisation.
Last but not least, I’d have to say the relevancy of traffic Affiliates can provide. It’s like no other, being able to reach your target audience exactly is a very powerful tool. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re just paying for traffic, you might not see the results you expect, but, if you’re paying for Leads or Downloads, then it’s in the interest of the affiliate to find the right traffic for you.
How about things you don’t like about affiliate marketing?
The Stereotype that everyone is just here to make a quick buck is pretty annoying. I know some people are, but it’s clear to me that there are a lot of people passionate about Affiliate marketing. As mentioned above, I’ve had some brilliant conversations with some very influential people who clearly love being an affiliate marketer.
And now, the most important question! What is your favorite dish?
Hmmm, I’d have to say Fish Tacos but good ones! I love spicy food, so for me, it’s always going to be a toss-up between Mexican and Thai, but at the moment, the Tacos are winning. Plus, I’m a bit of Barbucing nut, so I love to cook fresh fish on the BBQ mexican style. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Well, we guess it’s time to have a food break now! After all, we all need the energy to reach new horizons!