In my blog series Women of Affiliate Marketing – this one I would be willing to bet is one of the more recognizable and influential women around. I hold Missy in the same high regard as I do Shaw Collins and the rest of the Affiliate Summit clan for obvious reasons but I wanted to take this time and dig a little deeper and find out who truly she is. She was kind enough to do this for me so without further adieu – I bring to you the Missy Ward:
1. Hi Missy, If you would be so kind, please tell us about yourself and what you are currently doing.
[Missy] Sure, I’m the co-founder of Affiliate Summit, GeekCast.fm, VelocityNYC Press and AffStat.com; the Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com; VP of Operations for MoneyMindedMoms.com and founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com. For a list of some of my other ventures, you can check out my personal blog at MissyWard.com.
2. How did you find yourself working in the Affiliate Marketing industry?
[Missy] I’d like to say that there was something that drew me to it initially, but to be quite honest, I was forced to learn it if I wanted to keep my job. I was told that I needed to launch an affiliate program when I was with Global Travel, so I learned how to do it using the trial by fire method. I became an affiliate of successful programs that were already in existence and worked my way backwards to learn the intricacies of managing a program.
3. How have you found this industry to be? Was it what you thought it to be?
[Missy] I feel truly blessed to be working in an industry where I have so many friends. Not the just “see ya at conferences friends”, but the kind that I can call any time to brainstorm with, travel to fun places with and yes, even complain to when no one else will understand me. The folks in this industry are extraordinary people that are successful in their own right. They’ve figured out how to cash in on their passions and are enjoying what they’re doing. I consider myself very fortunate to be surrounded by such smart, determined and industrious people.
4. There are more and more women playing a significant role in this industry, what do you attribute that to and more importantly – do you think that to be the case going forward?
[Missy] I think it’s great. I can remember days where I’d go to a networking event and there would be just a handful of women and now our industry is . It’s very pleasing to see their industry respect extends beyond the brands they work for and most importantly, beyond their gender.
In an industry that is all about relationships, where self-expression and creativity play an important role, I would assume that women will continue to play a significant role within it because we’re just cut out for it.
5. Who was or is a major influencer for you?
[Missy] Man, there are so many people that have influenced me and that I admire. I guess it’s because we’re a bunch of hard-working underdogs, if you will. My business partner, Shawn Collins is one of them. He has to be one of the hardest working people I know. A few others that come to mind immediately are Connie Berg of FlamingoWorld.com. She was broke and wound up creating a coupon business out of necessity. Today she’s got herself a *very* lucrative business and a ton of offshoots from that original brand. Rae Hoffman of SugarRae.com is another one. She started a site to network with other parents fighting a disease that her son was facing. Little did she know that would be here entree into internet marketing. Brian Littleton, the CEO of ShareASale is also someone that I look up to. He runs a very clean affiliate network, putting his affiliates first over short-term financial gains. I could go on and on.
6. What are your favorite must read industry blogs or websites (brownie points if you mention RickyAhuja.com)?
[Missy] There are a lot of affiliate marketing blogs, forums and sites that are on my must-read list including, AffiliateTip.com, Revenews.com, ShoeMoney.com, AMNavigator.com, AbestWeb, the Affiliate Summit Forum, SugarRae.com and more. I also love listening to all of the podcasts on GeekCast.fm. And of course, RickyAhuja.com is a must :)
7. Where do you see the affiliate marketing industry heading with social media in the next year? Do you think that micro blogging platforms like Twitter, Four Square and FB have the potential to change the entire landscape of presenting information to the public?
[Missy] I really believe that social media will have a huge impact on the future of affiliate marketing and all of the wonderful new technologies will enable it. For example, look at the new stores popping up on Facebook, like JCPenney, 800Flowers, etc. These types of shop-and-share technology coupled with other social media marketing avenues including geo-based platforms like FourSquare will enable a lot of new eyeballs to connect with merchants and increase sales.
Now for a few FUN questions:
8. You are given a free pass to Affiliate Summit, Ad Tech or Leads Con – where do you go and why?
[Missy] Definitely Affiliate Summit…. but I’m partial ;-)
9. If you could pick the brains of anyone – dead or alive, who would it be and why?
[Missy] I’d love to be able to spend time with Madonna. She’s a marketing genius. Her ability to reinvent herself to always be relevant is something I’d love to know more about.
10. What advice do you have for my female readers who are looking to get into affiliate or online marketing?
[Missy] My advice for anyone getting into affiliate or online marketing isn’t gender-specific. I think the most important thing to remember is that to become successful in this industry, one must not expect to be an overnight success. It takes a lot of stick-to-it-iveness. As such, it’s important to enjoy what you’re doing so that you can do it for the long-haul. Equally important is to remember that no matter how passionate you are about an idea, you’ve got to test it to see if it’s a good one. If there ever is a point where the money just isn’t coming in, you have to learn to let it go and move on to the next great idea – no matter how much it hurts.
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