We caught up with Helen Atkinson, Head of Online Partner Marketing at Thomas Cook, after her team’s spectacular win at our recent pub quiz. She tells us what attracted her to performance marketing and shares her top tips for publishers. Read on to find out more!
What are the three words that best describe you?
Enthusiastic, approachable, ambitious
Tell us a bit about your role at Thomas Cook.
I’m currently in my second role here at Thomas Cook – my original role concentrated on the UK market for affiliates, meta search and display retargeting. Since 1st April my role has evolved to become more European and part of the newly created E-Commerce Centre of Excellence (ECE). This means I will assist and facilitate European partnerships as well as become a consultant to share best practice across the business.
What tips would you give publishers looking to partner with Thomas Cook?
I’m really flexible and willing to trial new ideas, so my main piece of advice is to be the same in return. If you have a new opportunity or website, then let us know so we can be open and discuss the opportunities. If our ideas don’t work then we can move to the next one but if they do, then everyone benefits!
Also, take advantage of our fantastic weekly offers and update your site with these – David Hughes sends and posts offers on a Thursday and these showcase our best deals for the week ahead. If affiliates can stay on top of these, it shows customers that Thomas Cook is constantly evolving with new destinations and offers but at a price and level of quality they want.
You’ve been in the performance marketing industry for over 4 years. What attracted you to the sector?
I came into affiliate marketing when it was really taking off and so feel very fortunate for that. Certainly what attracted me was how transparent and open the industry is – clients only pay for what sells and that is always attractive. Here at Thomas Cook the affiliate industry is allowed more flexibility due to that fact and that makes it really exciting to be a part of.
What are the most exciting developments you’ve seen in that time?
On a personal level, the investigations I’ve seen into multi-channel attribution has been really interesting and exciting. Whilst there is obviously a long way to go, the industry is certainly looking more at this as an area of expansion. For me as well, the way that affiliate marketing is now integrated into the wider marketing mix has been exciting to see – when I first started in the industry, affiliate marketing seemed almost like it’s own operation that wasn’t necessarily understood or invested in. Today though, all major brands and companies have a branch of affiliate marketing which is a fully integrated part of the marketing outlook.
Describe your perfect holiday.
A relaxing beach holiday somewhere hot, with a bit of culture mixed in! I recently went on a week away but have promised myself next time to have at least 10 days so that I can unwind and also see a bit of the area! I spent a year travelling in Australia so prefer a more relaxing time now, but I do get itchy feet if I sit down for too long!
What was the last online purchase you’ve made?
A first anniversary present for my sister and brother-in-law but it took a while as the ‘paper’ theme was a bit tough! I tend to do most of my shopping online now.
Do you have a grand ambition that you’re working towards?
For the next few months my ambition is getting onto the property ladder. But for the longer term it’s taking every opportunity I can at work and trying to make a real impact in the roles that I undertake – for me now at Thomas Cook, that’s making sure that our new ECE is a success and that I see tangible results from the partnerships I create and manage.
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