Tanya “La Gringa” Alvarez
Tanya is a Miami native of Colombian heritage. After graduating from Wellesley College with a BA in International Relations, Tanya dove head first into the marketing world and has collected over fifteen years of international/US experience and an extensive resume, including serving as vice president for three online media companies. By 2004 she finally spread her entrepreneurial wings to start her own company in New York City: Blink Ads. But don’t think Tanya means strictly business. She also enjoys running and has boldly completed the 2001 Boston Marathon, 2005 New York City Triathlon, 2009 New York City Marathon and the 2009 Timberman Half Ironman. Tanya’s other passion is traveling to exotic locations.
1) If you would be so kind, please tell us about yourself and what you are currently doing.
I grew up in Miami in a Latino family, we are of Colombian roots. I moved north to attend Wellesley College where I got a B.A. in International Relations and afterwards I jumped right into the marketing world. I amassed a lot of experience and in 2004 I decided to start my own company. I am currently the head of BlinkAds, a performance-based global media company with presence in both the United States and Latin America. We connect advertisers and publishers in an effort to maximize each other’s ROI. Our whole team is bilingual and bicultural which gives us a better understanding on how to target the 50 million and growing US Hispanic market. It’s not about language anymore. It’s about tapping into the hearts and mind of the Latino via cultural and emotional cues.
2) How did you find yourself working in the Affiliate Marketing industry?
In 2001 I started working for a company that focused on co-registration and e-mailing. I call it the Wild Wild West era of the Internet when email CPMs were going for $15. I’ve watched it grow from the early days of contextual, co-reg, pops, banners, search to call centers, SMS and now the exciting world of social and mobile media.
3) How have you found this industry to be? Was it what you thought it to be?
This industry is fast-moving and innovative. The industry itself is not old at all; it’s barely 15 years old. Throughout the years so much has changed and many people and companies have adapted to this change, which has helped propel the industry to another level. In a short amount of time social media was introduced to the affiliate marketing space. I think it’s quite an exciting market to be in, and I love how it’s data-driven yet creative.
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?
It’s very exciting to see more women join this industry. Women are natural multi-taskers, and this industry is all about multi-tasking and being efficient. Women are also natural connectors socializers. I believe more companies are realizing this and hiring more females now. Since a large percentage of women are online shoppers, mobile users, and social media gamers it’s important to get a females perspective on how to market to them. I see more women entering the space and putting their skills to use.
5) Who was or is a major influencer for you?
My family is a major influencer. They support me and inspire me to be a better person and reach for my dreams.
6) What are your favorite must read industry blogs or websites (brownie points if you mention RickyAhuja.com)?
Of course Ricky Ahuja. ;) I receive a number of newsletters. I am not a person who will go to a site to read it every day. I need information that is relevant to me, sent to my inbox or I won’t read it. Thedailybeast.com, techcrunch.com, mashable.com, and lacosmopolatina.com are some of the websites I subscribe to.
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?
Facebook is already changing the landscape. I think the one big hurdle is information overload, and how to address the issue. When does a consumer feel like we know too much about them? And does this information help up to target them more efficiently? Mobile social media is the wave of future. Affiliate marketers are already thinking of creative ways on how to target consumers.
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?
I’d say it’s a toss-up between Affiliate Summit and Leads Con. Affiliate Summit has more of a variety of businesses. Leads Con is very niche and is ideal to meet like-minded advertisers and affiliates.
9) If you could pick the brains of anyone – dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Steve Jobs. I love what he has done with the Apple brand. The fact he’s caused so many people to switch from the static, buttoned-up Blackberry to an iPhone that drops calls more than a gambler drops a $100 on the Blackjack table, but people still stick with it, is genius. I have downloaded 6 pages of apps but only use about 20%, but I don’t go a day without my iphone. He has the creativity, marketing and tech savvy all in one. Plus he knows how to communicate his vision to his employees. He inspires them to innovate.
10) What advice do you have for my female readers who are looking to get into affiliate or online marketing?
Jump in, don’t hesitate. No amount of reading or school can prepare you for this space. It’s fast-moving and every day is different. Start by using your multi-tasking and social skills but don’t be scared to jump into stats. Affiliate marketing is all about stats and data, so you have to be fearless of numbers.