Name: Kevin Sutton
Job title and company: Account Director, affilinet UK
In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?:
We’re an affiliate network that prides itself on quality service and account management.
What are the company’s unique selling points?
Our approach. We don’t sell to clients, we consult with them. Whilst we might work in the affiliate channel we try to be agnostic right from the start, whether we’re bringing on a new merchant or working with one of our longest standing clients. affilineters are humble in their approach meaning that we always believe we can do better.
Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones? (e.g investment rounds, launch into new markets, key web hits/social network milestones, increase in staff, share price boost etc)
Team changes and views
The biggest one for me is how we have expanded and restructured the team. That’s allowing us to think differently and step back from the everyday running of affiliate programs, particularly from an advertiser perspective. We have always prided ourselves on not being matched for service or experience, but the increase in head count, the new team structure and bringing in experienced members is allowing us to look at areas beyond what we have been able to before. Challenging ourselves – and our clients – to go further.
It seems like quite a while ago because of how well she has settled in at affilinet, but Helen has obviously brought in some very strong opinion from an advertiser perspective and I think that has filtered, and is, filtering daily through to the team. It is unique to have people at that level that have been on the “other side” and can see the advertiser point of view perhaps stronger than someone that hasn’t. It’s formed part of a new approach as to how the team takes a step back and looks at the client as if we were an extension of their team. I think that has always been the case to some extent, but now even more so.
We launched our new brand end of last quarter and I think it is more reflective of who we are as a company. At affilinet we have the technology and the know-how, but work is also about relationships, and trust. Our brand conveys that now.
I think all of these factors combined have created amazing momentum across the company. Being the fastest growing affiliate company in Europe means we’re constantly striving for the next thing be that winning a new client or discovering a new publisher. It’s really exciting.
Duration in current role: 1.5 years, but I’ve been at affilinet for 4 years in total.
Where are you based? Holborn, London, England, UK, The world
Previous performance marketing-related Co’s you have worked at: Dare I say it DGM?!
What are your main job responsibilities?
My role encompasses ‘everything advertiser’. I oversee the advertiser and account teams, as well as having an Account Director level role on a number of key accounts. My main responsibilities are to assist the Account Managers in optimising accounts, problem solving, providing data and insight, account planning and everything else that could fall under account handling and development. I also try to ensure that our processes are efficient and that we’re spending time on initiatives that make sense. Like any job there are the not so nice elements of dealing with finance, making sure we get paid, number crunching, that sort of thing, but luckily for me I love excel which helps.
Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:
Someone once told me that if you can complete two big tasks in a day then you’re on the right track, so Monday was a tick in the box from that perspective:
Task 1: A lot of my day was spent working on a project of my own initiative for a large advertiser and publisher. Our system allows us to report on the last five clicks prior to purchase and we’re looking to marry that and other system data up with Hitwise stats to really show the value of the affiliate channel. In this particular instance, the publisher is driving a lot of volume that isn’t necessarily being recognised or rewarded, so we wanted to take a more in-depth look at that and clearly show the advertiser why they should be recognised more for what they’re delivering and provide recommendations about how to rectify the situation…
Task 2: I also spent time with Pete Berry from our publisher team to try and assist with a really manual task that we have to go through once a month. We’ve been working together on a new process that will reduce the time it takes by 75%. We can’t wait! Sometimes you get so bogged down in just running the process, you don’t think about how it can be improved.
I do spend a lot of time on the phone or in meetings with clients, it’s much more personable than email and most of the time it’s a better way of getting a point across. I’ll try to speak with clients as much as possible, even if that’s just to confirm a meeting on occasion. What you find is that you get onto other topics and opportunities that you can explore. It seems that email is the vehicle for discussion these days, which I don’t agree with, so I try to force people to speak with me, although not in a salesy way of course!
What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?
A mixture of ASOS (well I need to look sharp), the BBC and Facebook – I’m a slave to FB just like the rest of us!
What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?
Number one – You need to be passionate and driven and you need to show it right from the off. Take an interest in the industry, go to events, meet people and embrace the channel. I found that was the best way to learn. I’m a firm believer that things don’t just get handed to you on a plate and nor should they be, you need to go after them.
Secondly, be personable and approachable, if you’re not then client services isn’t for you. Working so closely with clients and with such accountability can be quite a challenge. You need to be able to connect with people on their level and also in honesty be prepared to take a few knocks along the way.
Lastly, organise yourself. It’s something that I’ve always struggled with, but I’ve had to make a conscious effort to improve and I think over time I definitely have. Task management and managing a number of people requires organisation, delegation, learning to let go of things and to concentrate on the things that really matter.
Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time?
I know you should, but I don’t really buy into these five year plans anymore. I think that comes with getting older, there was a time that I knew exactly where I wanted to be from year to year, but I’ve mellowed a bit from that. I don’t think that makes me any less driven, just a bit more relaxed about it.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I watch them from afar going about their daily lives on the weekends?!… I don’t think there is much they wouldn’t know as I tend to be quite vocal in the office!