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Advice from women in the affiliate marketing industry on International Women’s Day

We asked some of the most respected female players in the affiliate marketing industry, what insights they have for women across the industry. With years of experience behind their belts, these industry veterans opened up and gave us their take on working in Affiliate and Performance Marketing with candid insights and reflection to help those new and entering this industry get an insider view/

Take a look at some of their answers from the discussion points we posed below:

Affiverse: Is there something special you think women bring to the affiliate marketing industry? 

CJ’s Senior Vice President for the UK and Ireland, Linda O’Connell says: “I think women can bring a different perspective and as such it’s important to ensure there is a balanced representation of both men and women within the industry. I’d be keen to see industry-wide data on this, but anecdotally I think our industry has a strong mix of women and men overall. However, what is perhaps lacking is female leaders in senior and C-Suite positions – I am proud to say that CJ bucks the trend here.”

Lacie Thompson, founder and CEO of LT Partners, said: “While I know many empathetic men, I think in general women bring a level of empathy to our industry that is crucial for building authentic partnerships. Most women I know and have worked with in our industry are collaborative and helpful. Even some of my “competitors” in this industry have offered to help me with anything I need their support with and I would do the same. In a partnership-based industry, empathy and authenticity go a long way in creating bonds that result in mutual success.”

Sarah Bundy, founder and CEO of All Inclusive Marketing said: “Women bring the perfect balance of creative, personal and analytical skills to the table when it comes to affiliate marketing, which are all essential to success in this industry. That coupled with our ability to multitask, move quickly, stay organized, influence others, manage change and problem solve, are all reasons why women do so well being in this space.”

Affiverse: Is there anything especially challenging about being a woman in the affiliate marketing/digital industry? 

Sara Malo, President/COO of LinkUnite and Vice President of Partnerships at Lead Generation World, has hope for the future, saying: “Where do I begin? For as long as I have been in this industry there has and continues to be many more men than women across all verticals. Clearly this has been challenging being a woman who is always looking for partnerships. However, we have seen a change in this percentage in the past year or so. The women are here to stay and we are paving the way for the newer generations. We have just begun.”

Linda said: “I think the most obvious challenge about being a woman in any industry is motherhood and the ability to have both a supported family and a successful career. While it is possible – and as a mother to three boys, I am lucky to be living proof – it is by no means easy in any way. Another challenging issue faced by professional women is a clear lack of support when it comes to menopause. Research and studies have proven the impact menopause can have on the mental and physical well-being of women, which results in a large majority of women leaving the workforce well before retirement. With the experience needed to fulfil many C-Suite roles, this is a contributor to the lower proportion of female leaders at many businesses.”

Tricia Meyer, Executive Director of the Performance Marketing Association said: “It’s frustrating that most people assume I don’t have any technical knowledge because I am a woman in the industry. Just because something isn’t my area of expertise, it doesn’t mean I am completely ignorant as to how it works. It was much worse 20 years ago, but it’s not uncommon still to run into men who try to explain the basics of affiliate technology to me even when I have been doing it longer than most of them have.”

If there was one piece of advice you could give to women in the affiliate marketing industry, what would it be? 

Sara Malo had a simple answer to this: “Find your tribe. This is the backbone of LinkUnite and why it was founded in the first place.”

Helen Kembery, Merchant Relationships Manager at FMTC said: “Be heard, speak your mind and support other women in the industry.”

Linda also added not one but three pieces of advice to women who are entering this industry today: “As I’ve been around for a while, it’s hard to only give one piece of advice… so I’ll give you three!

Firstly, I would strongly advise women to do your research when considering employment opportunities. Make sure you work for a company that values and supports women in the workplace.

Secondly, do as our industry does – network and build relationships! This is a small industry and people move from business to business, so build up your network of contacts and trust me, you will also find some great friendships.

Thirdly, it’s often said that women tend to be their own worst enemies, doubting their own abilities. When considering a new role, for example – and I’ve seen this in countless interviews – women often think they need to fulfil the entire list of skills in a job spec, when men are more likely to consider the job theirs if they can fulfil four out of the eight skills listed. So, don’t doubt yourself. Give it a try – the best-case scenario is you develop your career further, but speaking frankly, it’s ok if it doesn’t work out. You live and learn.”

What’s the one piece of advice you can give new starters today to help them grow their careers and connections in this industry?

Helen Kembery said: “Ask ALL the questions, attend as many networking events as you can and find an established mentor in the industry.”

Lacie Thompson said: “Network and always stand by your word. I know Covid has thrown a wrench in things but do whatever you can to meet other people in the industry. When you reach out to someone and they offer to have a conversation, have a goal for them to identify one or two other people they know that would also be willing to chat. As you do your work, do it with integrity and always follow through on your promises. When people know they can trust you, they’ll support you.”

Tricia said: “The more helpful you are to others, the more helpful they will be to you. You can start small by sharing the social media posts of people you admire or commenting on their LinkedIn posts. Actively participating in the community will lead to opportunities you don’t even know exist yet.

Sarah added these final words of wisdom: “Believe in yourself. You are capable of more than you think. Learn quickly and work hard. Meet lots of people and find ways to help add value every opportunity you get.”

If you are interested in more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog for all the latest news and advice – or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our sales team.

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