The principals of Gen3 Marketing, Andy Cantos and Mike Tabasso, have been successfully managing affiliate marketing programs since the turn of the century. Today, Gen3 is one of the top performing agencies working with CJ's Agency Support Services team, managing over 70 programs in the CJ Network.
We sat down with the 2012 CJYou Agency of the Year award winners to get some insight into their success.
CJ: Gen3 Marketing "represents the 3rd generation of online marketing." Tell us a little bit about how Gen3 came together and why did you choose the affiliate marketing channel?
Andy: Mike and I have worked together for 13 years: 4 years at GSI Commerce, 3 years at Advanta and now 6 years at Gen3. The name Gen3 symbolizes the 3rd generation of the two of us collaborating. With a lifelong desire to be self-employed, in 2007, we decided to combine our love of affiliate marketing with the well-rounded e-comm, retail and online marketing skills we had built at our prior employers to form Gen3 Marketing. With 5 young kids between us at the time and no clients in the stable, we knew we were in for an exciting ride.
CJ: Gen3's growth over the past 5 years has been impressive. Why do you think you've had so much success?
Mike: I think we're successful because we're not only passionate and driven, but also because we have experience deeply rooted in e-commerce. As former e-commerce P&L managers, search managers, consultants and more, we understand that margin matters. That brand equity matters. That compliance matters. That user experience matters. That thoughtful analysis matters. And that agency/client relationships are fleeting but that relationships between business partners are lasting.
CJ: As an affiliate marketing agency, you work with multiple affiliate marketing providers…what value does a high-performing network bring to the table?
Mike: A high performing network brings Relationships, Support and Consistency to the table. In representing an Advertiser, we look for a single network where top performing Publishers can be found and engaged. We look for a network that provides the highest level of Support to us, the Advertiser and the Publisher. Finally, we want our network partner to be Consistent in their ability to deliver and Consistent in their commitment to the channel. Clearly, CJ has all of these attributes and more, which is why we choose to manage over 70 programs with CJ.
CJ: How should Publishers develop their relationship with an OPM?
Andy: I actually think the question needs to be turned around. It is a Publisher's prerogative to determine which programs they want to promote and why. It is up to the agency or affiliate manager to understand the affiliate's needs and hot buttons and to develop a trusting relationship in which the Publisher can count on getting the right offer at the right time with the right compensation and conversion necessary to create a recurring relationship.
CJ: Where do you see affiliate going in the next 5 years?
Mike: Despite the downward turn in the economy, the affiliate marketing channel has been very strong over the past 5 years as Advertisers have been much more heavily focused on ROI than ever before. I think that trend absolutely continues over the next 5 years. I think probably the most interesting trend in to watch in our space over the coming years will be the growth of mobile. It has recently become a pretty substantial piece of the mix and I think we're still very early on in the relative life cycle.
Andy: I'm hopeful that there will be a Federal tax solution of some kind for online retailers. A Federal solution could reopen doors to many retailers that were closed as a result of state tax laws that unfairly target the affiliate channel.