Assembly is Made of All the Right Stuff

Oct 17, 2023
Written by CJ

Our relationship with Assembly runs deep. We're proud to say that CJ was one of the first affiliate networks the global agency worked with more than 12 years ago!

Fresh off their Agency of the Year win 🏆 at the 2023 CJ Excellence Awards, we caught up with Christie Frazer, Global VP, Affiliate Marketing at Assembly to hear more about the value-driven arm of their agency, their new reports on Q4 retail and election season, and the hot topic trending now across their portfolio.


cj-affiliate-2023-christie-frazer-assembly-headshot Christie Frazer, Global VP, Affiliate Marketing, Assembly


CJ: Tell us a bit about Assembly.

Christie: Assembly is a global omnichannel agency with more than 1,600 global talent all around the world. We have been in business since 1991 and have grown and evolved through a series of mergers and acquisitions that have made Assembly a global force in the media landscape today. Our capabilities span global omnichannel media, data strategy, and infrastructure, proprietary technology and technology implementation, and consultancy solutions. Our organizational structure puts client leadership and experience at the center, ensuring clients get a connected experience across our “Experience & Activation”, “Insights & Connections”, and “Business, Tech & Data Consulting”. Assembly is a purpose-led agency, combining our expertise in affiliates with our value of “leaving the world better than we found it” and we invest in giving back through a dedicated social and environmental impact arm of our business.


CJ: Where did your agency name come from?

Christie: Assembly was formed in 2014 as a flagship media agency within MDC Partners. In 2022, Assembly was revived and reimagined as the global omnichannel agency, made of 1,600+ people all around the world, part of the challenger network, Stagwell. We like to say Assembly is more than our name, it’s who we are—we are an Assembly of data, talent, and technology—the key ingredients of the modern agency.


CJ: If you could describe Assembly in five words, what would they be?

Christie: Progressive, established, dynamic, confident, and accessible!


CJ: What advertiser verticals do you manage?

Christie: Apparel & Accessories, Shoes, Luxury Retail, Home DĂ©cor & Furniture, Home Appliances, Electronics, Jewelry, Travel, Financial Services, Home Improvement, Technology, and CPG.


CJ: What regions and languages can you support for affiliate programs?

Christie: Assembly is truly a global agency; we can support programs in all regions and languages! We have teams across North America, EMEA, APAC, and MENA—with offices in more than 30 countries across the Stagwell network of agencies.


CJ: Do you manage any other channels outside of affiliate?

Christie: Assembly is a full-scale, omnichannel agency that manages integrated, multichannel programs for client both on and offline. This includes affiliate, paid search, display, programmatic, SEO, content, paid and organic social, TV, OTT/CTV, direct mail, and print and insert advertising.


CJ: Tell us a bit more about your relationship with CJ.

Christie: CJ is a great example of what a true partner is. CJ was one of the first affiliate networks Assembly ever worked with more than 12 years ago. CJ recognized our potential for growth early on and worked with me to form a partnership that continues to grow each year. Our CJ agency team, led by Erin Mead, is one of the best we’ve ever worked with!


CJ: Who is your ideal client? What problems are they looking to your company to solve?

Christie: Our ideal client is either looking to take their affiliate program to the next level or a newer brand testing into affiliate. We love working with brands who are open to testing new opportunities and publishers, going beyond what is considered a “traditional” affiliate program. When we’re able to get creative and propose innovative solutions for a client, that’s when the fun begins!

Most clients are looking to refine and scale their existing program, diversify the publisher mix, and understand how to optimize content partners. Clients are also looking for affiliate experts who are highly experienced in working cross-channel within agency and external agency partners. A team that can make budget, forecast, and strategic decisions based on what is best for the client, not just the affiliate channel.


CJ: What qualities do you look for in an affiliate partner?

Christie: Transparency (which naturally results in a trusting and usually more successful partnership) and the ability to drive new-to-file customers (NTF), as NTF means the publisher is driving incremental revenue and high quality leads.


CJ: What types of publishers are you looking to work with?

Christie: We know there are many different types of publishers that can add value in their own way, and we try to be sensitive to that and recognize that each affiliate type has its unique purpose in the space. For example, some publishers may be leveraged specifically for liquidation opportunities because they’re known to sell through products quickly, whereas other publishers may be very skilled at creating thoughtfully curated SEO-optimized content that continuously converts over time. All that being said, while it certainly depends on the client and their program policy, we’re open to working with all types of publishers, as long as they’re adding value to the program and the publisher's mission and aesthetic align with the brand's identity.


CJ: What are some successful ways you’ve seen publishers promote your brands?

Christie: It truly varies by client and so many other factors, but I will say that collaboration between the agency and publisher is the key to a successful and mutually lucrative partnership overall. We (the agency) may have insights about the brand that will help the publisher maximize their success (i.e., top sellers, inventory amounts, seasonal trends, etc.) and the publisher will have insights about their audience and the products they’ve responded well to historically. We believe that an honest partnership where both parties can share information and be transparent about what works and what doesn’t will almost always lead to success.


CJ: Are there any hot topics or strategies that are currently trending within your portfolio or in specific regions?

Christie: Increased performance marketing budget allocation to affiliates given the current economy and inflation that we’re experiencing. Brand marketers are shifting budget to the most efficient and cost-effective channels—including affiliate. With that, brands are re-evaluating which markets to prioritize—spending on those countries with the potential for the best business outcomes. While 2021 illustrated brands’ primary desire to expand into the UK market, we’re starting to see shifts with a focus on France, Germany, and the Netherlands.


CJ: What trends do you see arising within affiliate or the digital space and how are you handling them?

Christie: Overlap between affiliate, influencer, PR, referral, and affiliate marketing. This grey area is leading to internal challenges and a push for refinement of channel scope. This is resulting in more cohesive working experiences across channels and an increase in brands leveraging related tools (MMT) for streamlined success and attribution. Secondly, the shift from NTF focus—to a focus on customer retention. As retention becomes more vital, affiliate is working with key partners to ensure customers stay engaged and won’t leave for competitors. Strategies include loyalty partnerships, CLO, tailored/personalized incentives, and consumer rewards. Target customers for retention are savvy but profitable.


CJ: Do you have any upcoming initiatives, news, or success stories you’d like to highlight?

Christie: There is SO much happening at Assembly right now! We just released a few groundbreaking reports—one on retail and the upcoming holiday season and another on the commercial and political spend for the upcoming election season. We’ll also be showing up at several industry events- the next one being Advertising Week New York, to discuss topics like AI, Web3, and how brands can navigate a polarizing political season.


CJ: Let’s go out on a fun note! If your agency had a signature karaoke song, what would it be and why?

Christie: “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey is the first song that comes to mind. Our teams are incredibly optimistic and live our mission to “find the change that fuels growth.” This song is all about staying positive even when things get tough and in our industry it’s important to remain positive and agile in an ever-evolving media landscape.


CJ: Finally, what are the next steps if a brand or publisher wants to work with Assembly?

Christie: Send us a note through our website at Let us know how you’re interested in partnering with us, and the right person will be in touch!


Thanks, Christie!



assembly_logo_digital_rgb (2)

We are Assembly – and we’re not like the rest. We’re the modern agency, bringing together industry-leading data, talent, and tech to Find the Change That Fuels Growth for the best brands on the planet.


Our diverse, global community of over 1,600 passionate experts combine global thinking with unmatched local expertise in more than 20 countries around the world – enabling brands to engage and move consumers anywhere they are. We use STAGE, Assembly’s proprietary, privacy-centric data solutions platform to surface powerful insights that transform into actionable brand opportunities. We’re at the cutting edge of new media, technology, and platforms that are embedded in the lives of today’s consumers, and we’re tapped into how culture and communities’ needs change – all while staying steadfast in our commitment to Leave the World Better Than We Found It through measurable social and environmental impact work. 

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