ShareASale’s annual ThinkTank conference returned last week after a year hiatus following ShareASale being acquired by UK-based affiliate network Awin.
The two-day event, held in Chicago, had the familiar feel of past ThinkTank gatherings but added some new elements including the inaugural ThinkTank Network Awards. The awards honored companies in 8 categories – Advertiser Newcomer, Best Content Strategy, Best Influencer Campaign, Publisher of the Year, Advertiser of the Year, Advocate of the Year, Advertiser Team of the Year, and Best Use of Tech.
Congratulations to our client MyPillow, which was nominated in the Advertiser Newcomer category. They were among a great group of merchants recognized for excellence. To be considered, a program must have launched on Awin or ShareASale within the past 12 months. It also had to demonstrate success in affiliate recruitment and activation, dedication to the channel, and incremental growth.
Like the previous 10 ThinkTank events, there was a mix of networking, educational sessions, great food, and fun for the more than 200 attendees, which was an equal mix of brand representatives, and affiliates and bloggers.
Adam Dahlen, Director of Performance Marketing at iAffiliate Management, attended the conference and noted the 1:1 partner meetings on Thursday afternoon among the highlights. ShareASale did a great job arranging the space and putting together signage. This enabled him to connect with 15 partners in the 5 hour time period. Thus, leading to productive meetings with new and existing partners.
Sessions and Education
He also praised the 10 roundtable discussions following the keynote. These roundtables were an opportunity for intimate discussions with other attendees. Adam highlighted discussions with Buzzfeed on Mass Media Affiliate Recruitment Tactics, as well as Gary Kibel of the law firm Davis & Gilbert and Maryellen Garasky of Jane.com on Hot Legal Topics in Affiliate Marketing as extremely informative.
Thursday morning’s sessions were all stellar. It kicked off with Industry Trends and Insights for 2018. Additionally, Advertising Law 101, How to Motivate Your Affiliate Sales Force, and Empowering Your Customers to Become Micro-Influencers were all very educational. A Q&A with a variety of panelists (led by Rachel Honoway) was also informative. It provided rich insight and perspective into performance marketing best practices with real-life examples.
Additionally, there were many opportunities to have some fun with other attendees. There was a party (that included bowling and bocce), and a happy hour. And hats off to the event organizers for including a free photo booth. This provided an opportunity for attendees to get a professional headshot taken.
All in all, it was an amazing, well-run event that we look forward to attending every year.