Near the end of each year, I start to work on the agency’s strategy for the upcoming year. This time, the newly-minted president of the company, Jen Hoffman, gets that honor. Here, I’ll review 2019 and talk broadly about Apogee 2020.
By January 2019, Christen Evans already had a couple of months under her belt managing our most popular affiliate programs, Snake River Farms and The California Wine Club. She was ready to take control of the rest of our food/drink and gourmet programs that we had collected over the years.
In February, Christen and Anne Parris started their educational video series with answers to basic questions asked by affiliates. We increased our video output in the spring with a town hall format and some short training videos, which we added to our education page and YouTube channel.
We leveled up in April by bringing on Liz Gazer, a seasoned veteran of affiliate program management. Her experience makes Liz a great help to the agency with regard to strategy and some new high-profile and complicated client relationships.
In June, Anne and Christen officially attended the Awin + ShareASale Think Tank while Daniel M. Clark and I snuck in for some quality after-hours networking. [editor’s note: we didn’t sneak in, Greg. It’s not like we had Mission Impossible masks or anything!] It was by this time others had figured out that I was out of the day-to-day affiliate program management. My role had finally shifted and I had the right staff in place for me to focus on business development and marketing. We were also honored with a nomination for Best OPM / Agency award at this conference.
The three Apogee affiliate managers were the focus of an August blog post to officially tell the world we had assembled an incredible team. I proudly used this in sales presentations and worked with new clients to help choose the right managerial fit for their brand.
From August to November, we added 10 new affiliate programs and needed new personnel to back it up. We announced Lynsey Kmetz in October as our new family member and she got busy learning the Apogee way. Soon after, Jen was announced as president of the company. She’s the boss. Everyone always knew it anyway. They like her better. [editor’s note: people don’t say that, as far as you know.]
Our final big announcement of 2019 was the addition of Carolyn Kmet as a strategic advisor to Jen. Adding my mentor and friend to the family has been a goal for many years. She’s already contributed to our plans for next year and no, I won’t share how. She’s our secret weapon.
Throughout the year, Anne and Christen attended blogging conferences big and small, actively educating and getting valuable face time with current and prospective partners. This proved successful and has brought in high-level affiliates with whom we may not have otherwise been able to cultivate a relationship.
You’ll have plenty of chances to meet with the Apogee affiliate team next year. Christen, Anne and Liz will be at Affiliate Summit West [editor’s note: that’s an affiliate link. Buy a pass, Greg gets a bit of scratch. That’s how affiliate marketing works, folks.] The three managers are speaking at or attending these other conferences: Alt Summit, Mom 2.0, Everything Food, Awin + ShareASale Think Tank, International Food Bloggers Conference, Impact Growth and possibly Affiliate Summit East.
The private Facebook group for our affiliates, now re-christened Apogee Insiders, is a big part of the future. We have more than 900 members and they have been meticulously vetted to be part of our community. We’ll be expanding the group to include even more folks who are serious about learning more about performance marketing. The group could double in size.
Our weekly newsletter is rapidly growing in subscribers. It is generally written for affiliates, but we welcome advertisers to subscribe so they can see what we are teaching our partners and how proactive we are with education and activation.
The Apogee YouTube channel will continue to expand with client interviews, education videos, hot topic discussions and town halls. You might see more talking head videos from me!
As we continue to keep our current clients growing and moving in the right direction into the new year, Jen will be hiring more Apogee family members. No longer a quaint boutique agency, we grew by 65% in 2019! Our potential is unlimited for 2020 and we’re happy that you, our readers, affiliates, clients, and colleagues, are a part of it. Let’s have a great new year!