Slot machines, stilettos, and stretch marks, Oh MY! Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas
My “baptism by fire” is complete. We went. We saw. We conquered. The JEBCommerce team just returned from five days in Las Vegas for this year’s Affiliate Summit West. And all I can say is Wow! That is an experience I shall not soon forget. Nothing prepares you for the sensory overload of Las Vegas…the sheer number of people on the sidewalk, the five story billboards marketing Brittney Spears or Jennifer Lopez, the light shows, the fountain ballets, and over-the-hill Elvis’s on the street corner with satin pants that are way too tight. And then there’s the Summit.
For me personally, Affiliate Summit was about opportunity and chance. Certainly, the Account Managers and myself began seeking meetings and appointments with long-standing publishers weeks before we ever started packing for Nevada. All of us were well-prepared and spinning facts and promotions like a 7-reel slot machine on a hot Friday night. This preparation ensured excellent payouts and negotiations with affiliates. But it was also the random encounters as one sat waiting for the Meat Market to open that allowed you to hit a jackpot as you made a revenue-generating connection simply by saying hello. As one walked away after such a fortuitous rendezvous, you knew the odds were in your favor. Tonight was the night!
Everyone at the Summit knew time was crucial. We had less than 72 hours to connect, negotiate, confirm, and establish business dealings that would impact our clients for the coming year. There was a definite intent or point to be reached, and we all knew that no matter how much your feet hurt on the second day, each appointment had a gait that could not be rushed. Along with promotional endorsements to be had, here was the event that would enable each and every one of us to put a face to the name (a.k.a. fit the “glass slipper to the Cinderella”) of the person we had been emailing or talking to for the last six months. Business relationships slipped easily into chats about kids, colleges, past employers, travel, and recommendations for dinner hot spots. While we all came from different venues, we all shared similar paths.
Again, through my eyes, being newly indoctrinated into the affiliate arena, the Summit was an excuse to think out of the box as far as I could imagine…be the croupier of conversation that might benefit our clients. I made several successful inquiries about upcoming promotions to see where I could parlay a mutually beneficial outcome to a well-placed collaboration. Yet despite all the ‘shop talk’, football was on everyone’s mind, the previous night’s parties were rehashed, the effect of the lack of sleep was compared. And just when we thought we couldn’t take another step, we were reminded that we had company dinner and two client galas to attend in the span of five hours. So we stretched that last bit of energy we had: showered, changed, and reached for the ibuprofen. The Vegas Strip was calling our name, and we weren’t going to miss a single oyster on the half shell or mac’n’cheese with lobster. 2016 Affiliate Summit West was a glorious moment in time where business and relationships came together in a winning roll of the dice.
Whether you came home with 30 business cards, 14 potential clients, or 17 email addresses, each of these interactions involved taking a chance, piquing someone’s interest, and reaching way out by extending a hand to someone who had a similar arch. Overall, JEBCommerce did all of the above and more, and still managed to not lose our proverbial ‘shirts’. The only thing I will remember for next Summit: leave the heels at home.