In preparation for the ASW, I have gotten a chance to know Darren Blatt a bit – the mastermind behind the Affiliate Balls and truth be told, have been pleasantly surprised by his welcoming nature and candidness. Till now I was never the one to partake in these events, but seems this has become a major force for sponsorships for the Affiliate Summit.
Wanting to dig a little deeper, I connected with Darren on FB and thought we would do an interview so people can get to know the man behind the funk and the amazing Affiliate Ball – which btw this year is predominantly sponsored by the fine guys over at MaxBounty.
Darren, tell me a little about how you got started with the Affiliate Ball.
Back when I was in college at Ohio State I was working for a concert venue. I helped them book artists as I always had a feel for what artists were hot. Having this knowledge of how the whole process worked was key, it’s certainly not an easy thing to do.
I started marketing online back in 1997. As I attending different trade shows back then I noticed the party scene was all the same. Free drinks at some bar with a DJ. I thought to myself, what if I raised money to pay for big name artists and gave exposure to the sponsors in return. Back then it was to promote my own consulting service which specialized in B2B internet marketing. I would give myself a main sponsorship and share the exposure with other paying sponsors. Well, it worked and my parties only got bigger and better. Over the years I’ve tweaked this model so sponsors can see more of a ROI rather than just branding.
Now I do this full time and have many online marketing trade shows we do parties at. It started off for selfish reasons and a fun hobby. Now it’s a business model.
What was/is the purpose of it, more of a social gathering place or a venue to make some serious contacts?
The purpose was always to give sponsors an alternative marketing platform AND provide the best social atmosphere possible. I try to create the ultimate party that everyone wants to go to. Sponsors are giving the VIP’s so we get a nice mix of the bigger players attending since it’s a well balanced VIP area with many different sponsors providing these hot passes.
Talk to me a little bit about how it has grown, the guest appearances, epic wins, etc.
The Affiliate Ball just gets bigger and better at each show. One of the perks of working with big name artists for over a decade is that I have lots of amazing contacts and a solid reputation with these performers. I’ll make a few calls to invite celebs and artist to attend and most of the time we will have some amazing guests showing up. In New York we had some old school legends show up. Kurtis Blow jumped up on stage and did his classic song “The Breaks”. TMZ got the footage and loved it so much they put it up on their site!
Many others have graced our stage but this was one of the coolest since Kurtis Blow is a pioneer of rap/hip hop. He was break dancing! 52 years old and still has game. Loved it.
If I was interested in becoming a sponsor, is it too late? Can you tell me about the diff packages you have?
It’s not too late but time is running out if people want a ton of exposure. Our bigger sponsorship’s include getting their URL or logo on all passes. I go to print next week. We do have some amazing reserved table sponsorships; each table comes with a sponsor’s logo seen on 13 massive big screens all night, text link on the site, thanks on the microphone during the party and 20 VIP’s.
We also have a photo area with 4×6 instant print outs. A sponsor’s logo can be seen on every pic.
Our “Party Wall” is another nice option. We’ve been doing live text messages to big screens for the whole party to read. We usually get over 700 texts to that screen so a potential sponsor will have tons of eye balls seeing their static logo there all night.
With every sponsorship we include email thanks to our sponsors. Over 5000 registered guests receive these. That’s a huge industry only list.
We also have a VIP code system. Sponsors can email a VIP code with a link to register guests. All the guests have to do is pick up their VIP pass from our Meet Market booth at the Affiliate Summit. Take all of the leg work out of the process for our sponsors. No need to run around finding the people they need to take care of.
Finally, what are your expectations from this one? How can my readers benefit from this event (provided there are any passes left by the time this goes to print)?
This one should be the biggest party ever at any trade show. I’m expecting over 2500 guests, the venue can hold up to 3000 people. Your readers can benefit from this event by attending! Serious business gets done when you have this many top players under 1 roof. I’d also like to give you some VIP’s so you can decide who you’d like to hook up for this monster event. Don’t forget, Nelly is performing! He was named a “Top 3 Artist of the Decade” by Billboard. They just don’t get much bigger then that!