CJU 2015: Ignite Connections

Last month, I had the opportunity to represent JEBCommerce at CJU in sunny and unseasonably humid (did I mention HUMID?), Santa Barbara, California. I was very excited to attend as this was my first conference since starting at JEBCommerce last year. I must say it was an amazing experience and if you have never attended I strongly suggest you add it to the conferences you attend in the future.

Being fairly new to the affiliate marketing space, my primary goal was to finally meet many of the publishers that I have only had the opportunity to exchange emails with and briefly talk with over the telephone. I will admit I was a little nervous before my very first meeting, but those jitters quickly faded as I watched other affiliate managers and publishers exchange hugs and handshakes in the hotel lobby before rushing off to talk about their respective programs.

My first day at CJU, I had several meetings lined up with publishers to talk about the programs we manage at JEBCommerce. I had just enough time between my first breakfast meeting and my second meeting to attend the very informative CJU: Keys to Success presentation. This was primarily aimed at conference newbies (like me!) and provided best practices and insider tips to ensure we had the best CJU experience possible. The Pathable application proved very helpful as it allowed me to access my meeting schedule as well view a picture of the whom I was meeting. I would still recommend printing out your daily schedule if possible as sometimes I wasn’t able to access the Pathable app.

After a busy afternoon of meetings, it was time for the Welcome Reception on the beach and the Funk Zone in downtown Santa Barbara. It was a beautiful evening, complete with live music and the opportunity to catch up with the new friends I made earlier in the day as well as meet new publishers.

Day 2 definitely had a theme – Pace Yourself. Today’s schedule included meetings with even more publishers, the keynote delivered by Joel McHale, and later that evening the Cocktail and ½ hour, awards dinner, and CJU Casino night that went well into the wee hours of Day 3!

Joel McHale admitted several times during the keynote that he really had no idea what affiliate marketing was all about, although he understood it had something to do with the Internet. We were all entertained as he explained that when practicing affiliate marketing always remember “ABRA” which means “Always Be Referencing Acronyms”. He somehow, someway managed to relate affiliate marketing to BOKCHOY, which was another acronym. Here is how he broke down BOKCHOY in relation to affiliate marketing:

B – Better Value (there is more value in online advertising)

O – Online Advertising (what affiliate marketing is all about!)

K – Konnections (affiliate marketing is all about relationship konnections)

C – Crannies (sometimes when you are looking for the right publisher to fit into your program you have to look in all the nooks and crannies to find just the right niche)

H – Honesty (the most important value to have in affiliate marketing)

O & Y – well he didn’t have any explanation for either of those letters.  In his words, they are just there.

Time absolutely flew by at CJU and on Day 3 it was time to wrap up a few last minute details with publishers and try to fit in just one more meeting before heading back home. CJU was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to attend. I came back home armed with information for the rest of my coworkers and made several new friends along the way. I look forward to meeting even more publishers and catching up with my new-found friends after surviving Q4 at Affiliate Summit West in January!