I’ve now met two-thirds of the Apogee clients in person. Meeting clients is actually pretty hard in this type of industry. Clients are spread out all across the United States. I’ve met some at conferences and others when we happened to be in the same town at the same time. I planned this trip specifically to see some of the newer clients.
On November 26, 2018, I left on a seven-day epic tour to visit clients, family and friends in Florida. Then on December 11, Jen and I drove to New Orleans for 24 hours to meet with another client for a special occasion. My F-150 totaled 2,946 miles on these adventures.
Day One: Friends and Friendly Competitors
My first stop that Monday was to visit my old friend, Wade Tonkin. He is the Affiliate Manager at Fanatics.com, currently the number one program on the ShareASale network. His team manages dozens of sports-themed affiliate programs. Wade and I have fought many affiliate marketing battles together over the years and it was nice to actually visit the Fanatics HQ in Jacksonville. It was Cyber Monday so I didn’t wear out my welcome.
The day ended in Satellite Beach with the Ward family. Jennifer Myers Ward is CEO of ebove & beyond, inc., a direct competitor to Apogee. We’ve been friends for many years and her family was gracious enough to let me crash for the night. We had a relaxing evening with a seafood dinner next to the Indian River.
Day Two: Meeting Clients
Heading south on I-95, I found the headquarters for SA Co. in Boca Raton. This was an unexpectedly mind-blowing experience. Behind the doors of these unassuming business park warehouses was a bustling distribution facility of massive proportions. The tour took nearly an hour as we bobbed and weaved through the maze of offices and storage rooms. The processes they have in place are simply amazing. This is where they ship tens of thousands of products for SA Co. and Alpha Defense daily. They also house a full in-house agency and an incubator for other businesses.
A quick trip to the other side of Boca Raton and I met the crew at RECON Truck Accessories. This was another impressive distribution center. It wasn’t hard to find once I found the domestic pickup truck decked out with top-of-the-line lighting accessories outside the office. Heath and Ryan gave me some swag for the F-150 and I hit the road to Miami.
After a relaxing lunch in South Beach, I met with another client, Jovanna Correa from Vanna Belt. We spent an hour talking about the future of her affiliate program and the right set of influencers for her products. Jovanna is very passionate about her customers and is excited for our plans in January. We are coming up on the busy season for those who want to get fit and feel better about themselves. Her products are going to do very well through the affiliate channel with our new strategy.
Days three and four were spent off the grid with family and fishing in the Keys. A much needed and rare disconnect.
Day Five: Wrapping up the Week
Friday was a long haul from Marathon to Tampa to meet the final client of the week. I had a great visit with Anthony Santarsiero at TruPet. You know the brand as TruDog. We’ve been managing that program since October 2015. Anthony was able to tell me about the company news that day. Two companies recently invested in TruPet, which has already yielded in increased marketing opportunities for affiliates. We are looking forward to yet another year of record growth with this program.
In the next post, I’ll tell you about our trip to New Orleans to meet the founders of Queork.