For those novices, or those who simply enjoy history, Affiliate Summit was born in 2003 to Missy Ward and Shawn Collins as an alternative to another affiliate conference. From a couple hundred attendees in New York City, to 230 on a Nova Scotia cruise, they surpassed the 1000-attendee mark in 2006, and then surpassed 2000 in 2007. In 2008, the official magazine of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, was launched.
The January 2009 show kicks off on Sunday with the Christian Affiliate Marketing Association’s 3rd Annual Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues at 9am. Following the brunch, don’t miss the Affiliate Meet Market from noon to 6pm. I used to think the Meet Market was just a few tables and some stragglers – boy was I wrong! The last Meet Market I attended boasted almost 100 exhibitors and over 1000 attendees, which makes this almost as big as the exhibition hall, minus the big booths – it’s a must-attend!
Monday morning starts off with the keynote address by Gary Vaynerchuck, star of Wine Library TV and Director of Operations at Wine Library in Springfield, NJ. If you’re not making the event, you can catch the keynote live here. The rest of the conference is chock-full of information on affiliate marketing, advertising on social networks, mobile marketing, performance marketing, widgets, SEO, PPC, optimizing landing pages, and everything under the sun that can help affiliates, website owners, developers, and networks. Plus, believe it or not, there is a little bit of fun to be had.
Yes kids – Affiliate Summit West has been known to host some killer parties. Most (or all) of these parties are invite- or RSVP-only, so if you haven’t been invited, then you need to talk to your rep at these companies or simply start doing business with them. The party schedule kicks off with buy.at’s party on Saturday, then the party scene really kicks into gear on Sunday. Glam Interactive Group has an informal get-together at Palms Place, Viable Marketing and Partner Weekly have their party at Wasted Space at the Hard Rock Hotel, and ShareASale’s “Under the Stars” party takes place at the Rio.
Monday night features AdKnowledge’s affiliate platform, AdStation’s party at the Playboy Club and LeadFlash’s “Hoop it Up” party at the HardWood Suite at the Palms. It looks like that the Palms is the place to be this Affiliate Summit! Please remember: don’t hit me up for passes for these parties – even I’m not invited to all of them. Most of these are invite-only, and some of them have really tight lists, so if you are not RSVPed for them, save yourself the embarrassment of arguing with the bouncer at the door – most of the time, the bouncers are supplied by the hotel or club and don’t care that you’re “(insert affiliate network here)’s #2 affiliate” or that you’re Assistant to the Associate Jr. VP of Google.
So there are my party tips for this round of Affiliate Summit West. My cohort Danielle has some tips for all of you to survive the actual show as well – not just the party scene. The floor is all yours, Danielle!
“Thanks Warren! To prepare for this show and others, I started jotting down some items that I tend to forget. I typically wish I had something when traveling that would’ve made my life a little easier. I also have a lot of new employees attending their first show and figured I’d write this article to help my newbies navigate the sinful waters of Las Vegas, Nevada. They have been chock-full of questions and so I added some of my answers to their questions below. So to help my little newbies and you as well, I’ve decided to make a list of some of the utmost important things I do before a show. I hope you find it useful.
- Pack appropriately. When you’re packing bring clothes to wear during the day and at night. Believe it or not you might wear the same thing during the day that you wear out that night! Sometimes there’s no time to change. Bring a jacket! It gets cold in the desert and the weather can change quickly. Check the weather! For my iPhone friends, add Las Vegas to your phone and also download three helpful food applications: Yelp, Urbanspoon, and MetroMix. All three of these applications will help you find places to eat complete with reviews, menus, and telephone numbers. Fellas, I would suggest a sportscoat – it looks nice during the day and is multi-functional at night. Collared shirts and nice pants. Suits are not necessary, but you will see people wearing them – after all it’s Vegas. Ladies: closed-toed shoes, boots, what have you – this South Florida girl always gets a good old reminder that there are people that live in weather below 70 degrees. Wear comfortable shoes! You will be on your feet all day, you will be walking around, and you might be dancing. Lastly, remember: look nice – first impressions are important!
- Bring your business cards – check twice, check again. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known that have forgotten business cards. Don’t be that guy! Bring a lot of them, bring more than you think you could ever use in your whole life. This is a business trip and networking opportunity – you should be handing one to every person you meet even if you already know them.
- Bring something to put your business cards in. I have a million business card holders. I always forget them – ladies if you do, for whatever reason, Black Market-White House always has a selection. I have a collection of their business card holders, unfortunately.
- Laptop, air card, computer charger [another mistake I’ve made], cell phone chargers, internet USB cords to connect online, iPod, noise silencing headphones. International people get the converters – what a mess I was in ad:tech London! There are chargers you can buy for your iPods and phones that work on 2 AA batteries – they are a lifesaver, one of life’s greatest inventions… buy them. You can thank me later.
- Print your schedule. When your phone dies, as it will I’m sure, you will need it. For each meeting and contact, make sure to include email address, company, telephone number, where you are supposed to meet, and name of the person you are meeting. When your phone dies, hopefully your computer is still working. It seems silly but sometimes one forgets and then one kicks oneself.
- Bring a notebook [for taking notes], pens, hand sanitizer, vitamins, halls, gum, mouthwash, and mints.
- RSVP to the parties. They are great networking events, probably better than any other show – make sure you are there, and can get in.
- Schedule your meetings ahead. Create a ‘hitlist’, be informed, don’t wander around aimlessly – you will get lost in the sea of people. Do your homework. Decide what you want to accomplish. Research who will be there and what they do.
- Plan your meals. Make reservations and schedule times. Plan to walk to lunch; getting a cab around lunchtime can be a Las Vegas event. I personally like this website: www.opentable.com
- You can search for ‘hotspots’, ‘bars’, and book reservations right on it. Get enough points and they’ll even send you a gift certificate!
- Allot extra times between scheduled meetings. People run late, people bail, people get lost…it’s what people do. Plan for the unplanned.
- Be memorable – use the manners your parents may have taught you. They consist of “please and thank you for your time” kinds of things. Ask for referrals – if you have a company you want to meet, see who knows someone there.
- Bring CASH. Taxicabs can get expensive in a day. Cocktails, tipping, and coffee adds up!
- Ladies – shoulder bags. No purse you have to carry in your hand – it just gets in the way of shaking hands. Going out bag [I forgot this recently in Las Vegas and had to drag a client of mine shopping]. Powder, lipstick, and perfume – you’ll be a new woman in less than 5 minutes.
- Be memorable, people may not remember you but have them remember something about you. Smile and have fun! I’ll see you at the show.”
Thanks for the tips, Danielle! You can tell she’s a pro. Last but not least, we’ve got Vegas native Nicole LeFevre from XY7.com to fill us in on what to do in Las Vegas when you’re not doing the Summit or its many parties. Nicole, take it away!
“Not only does Affiliate Summit West give you an opportunity to network and grow your business, but because it is held in the entertainment capital of the world – Las Vegas – you are given an excuse to let loose and have some fun too! I have called “Sin City” home for the past 8 years, and here is a rundown on some of my favorites!
“One of the things I love most about Vegas is that you don’t need a plan. If you’re not a gambler, no problem – there are tons of things to do in Vegas that don’t involve betting. You can catch one of hundreds of entertaining shows on the strip, like Blue Man Group at the Venetian, “The Showgirl Must Go On Girl” with Bette Midler at Caesars Palace, or any of the 6 Cirque Du Soleil shows.
“If you’re not a big show go-er no worries – I got you covered. You can take a tour to some of the most fascinating desert scenery in the world on ATV, horseback riding or even dune buggies. Looking for something off the strip? Be sure to check out Hoover Dam or take a paddle boat tour at Lake Mead, or jet ski in this manmade lake. You can even go snow skiing at Mt. Charleston. But that’s not all… you have the chance to experience some of the world’s most unique artifacts and museums, like “Bodies” and “Titanic” at the Luxor. And if you’re looking for a free show, check out the Bellagio Fountains, the Sirens of TI at Treasure Island or the New Volcano at the Mirage.
“And it’s not all about the sights and sounds in Sin City – it’s also about the world famous cuisine! The strip holds restaurants from some of the world most famous chefs. You can check outEmerald Lagasse’s Table 10 at the Palazzo… Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu at MGM Grand… Kerry Simon’s Simon at Palms Place and many other celebrity chefs. If that’s a bit pricy for your wallet there are tons of more affordable fun places like Dick’s Last Resort at Excalibur and Viva McDonalds next to Circus Circus.
“Let’s not forget about the nightlife! Vegas is the place to party with world famous DJs, titillating go-go dancers, celebrity sightings and some of the most luxurious clubs. Some of the hottest clubs right now are LAX at the Luxor, LAVO at the Palazzo, Playboy Club at the Palms, Voodoo at the Rio, and Christian Audigier at Treasure Island.
“And don’t get me started on the shopping! It’s a definite must for any visitor – the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace offers boutiques and high end clothing, The Fashion Show Mall actually has a weekend fashion show to show you what’s hot this week, and the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood its truly a mile of shopping.
“Affiliate Summit West brings even more fun and excitement to Vegas! As an Account Manager for XY7.com I can tell you that our parties are definitely not something to miss. We are starting off the Summit on Saturday, Jan. 10th by having over 200 guests to join us at MMA Xplosion inside the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino. Wickedfire has joined with us in inviting guest to come get BLITZED with us at our NFL Division Playoff Viewing Party in our hospitality suite inside the Rio on Sunday, Jan. 11th.
“So no matter what you’re looking for in Vegas you can definitely find it!”
Thanks for the local info Nicole – we appreciate it! One last thing – it’s Missy Ward’s birthday this weekend, so if you run into her, wish her a happy 29th! Happy new year to you all, have a safe trip to Vegas, and we’ll see you there… and may lady luck be on your side!
— Express your opinion, comment below.