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ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 Wrap Up – #ThinkTank2012

by Missy Ward in Affiliate Marketing   15 Comments

ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 was held May 16-18 at the beautiful Lakeway Resort & Spa on Lake Travis in Austin. It took place immediately after Affiliate Summit Central 2012 ended, which was held at the Hilton in Downtown Austin.

ShareASale ThinkTank 2012

Golf with the ShareASale CEO

After powering through our show’s wrap-up, I immediately scooted over to meet up with my fourseome on Falconhead Golf Club where the ShareASale Golf outing was taking place. Although I was super-late, I did manage to golf two holes with Brian Littleton, CEO of ShareASale. Oddly enough, even though I’ve attended the last few year’s ThinkTanks, this was the first time that I finally got to show off my golf talent (which was negligible considering I golfed with the opposite hand just for giggles.)

The quick bus-ride back to Lakeway was filled with ThinkTank attendees who recounted their foursome’s golf tales, many of which included funny stories of the best whiffs of the day. We laughed the whole way back.

ShareASale ThinkTank’s OPM’s and Appetizers

ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 Merchant Shirt My ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 Merchant Shirt

At 8pm, I headed off to the “OPMs & Appetizers Welcome Reception”. This event enabled OPM’s and Agencies to meet with ShareASale’s Merchants and Affiliates. Each company was given a table to house their materials and appetizers to provide to the attendees. {Smart, because us affiliate marketers like food!}

As attendees entered wearing their ShareASale-provided color-coded shirt (affiliate or merchant) that had their name and company name on it, they were greeted with open bar, yummy food stations and an opportunity to participate in a drawing to win 2 tickets to Hawaii by visiting each OPM/Agency table and getting their card stamped.

I loved the idea of the T-shirts because it gave me the ability to quickly find who I wanted to speak with instead of having to scout out tiny little badges.

Sadly, I will not be going to Hawaii, but Eric Souza is. (Congrats, Eric!)

ShareASale ThinkTank Day 2 Sessions

After a delicious breakfast, the 9am sessions started in which revolved around problems faced by Merchants and Affiliates on a regular basis; and provided ideas and solutions to combat these particular issues. Sessions included: Harnessing the Power of Pay-Per-Call, Increasing Conversion on Anything, and Setting Standards & Keeping Informed.

At 9:45 attendees split up into their respective groups – Merchant, Affiliate, and OPM – and learned about the new additions to the ShareASale interface, ideas to boost their programs, and best practices for Q4.

ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 Merchant Table Staffing the Affiliate Summit Table at ShareASale ThinkTank 2012. Photo by Shawn Collins (http://www.AffiliateTip.com)

From 10:30 – 1:00pm, ShareASale provided Merchants the opportunity to set up a table to represent their company. As a ShareASale Merchant, Affiliate Summit was able to set up meetings with affiliates online ahead of time which enabled us to make the best use of our short time on site.

The best part for me was actually getting to sit down with affiliates that I already know, but ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT BUSINESS!  {That’s my buddy, Scott Jangro to the left showing me the new features in his new Shareist Publishing Platform.  I was able to launch a new website in minutes.  If you want to get in on the limited beta, drop me a comment and I’ll send you an invite code.  You’ll love it.}

BBQ & Lake Travis

After a tasty BBQ lunch outdoors, attendees headed off to an afternoon of fun networking on Lake Travis.

Rae Hoffman, Shawn Collins and I on Lake Travis during ShareASale ThinkTank 2012. Photo by Jessica Commins (http://www.renewabelle.com)

Clad in our swimwear, we hustled on down to the lake where we were greeted with wave runners, ski boats, tubes, yachts and a party barge.

The speed boats were so much fun that Shawn Collins, Rae Hoffman, Jessica Commins and I refused to get off. We took many trips around the lake and checked in with the party barge every once in a while to see if people wanted a ride back to the pier.

This afternoon had to be one of the most fun times I’ve had in a while. Sun, Fun, Ice Cold Beer and Friends!

Affiliate Summit Poolside Party and Piano Time!

After doing a fast cleanup, I headed down to the Lakeway Resort Pool to set up for the Affiliate Summit Poolside Party that Shawn Collins and I were hosting.

Cocktails, delicious food and Fallen Ash (my buddy Khris Thayer from Optizmo Technologies’band) provided ShareASale attendees more fun networking opportunities to round out the great times they had on the lake today.

Fallen Ash Check out Fallen Ash at http://www.facebook.com/FallenAsh

After our party ended, came one of my favorite parts about ShareASale ThinkTanks — and that’s enjoying Brian Littleton play the piano.

Brian Littleton on Piano ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 on Foursquare I Checked into “Brian Littleton on Piano ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 on Foursquare”

About 75 of us moved up to Josey’s Bar where Brian had rented a piano for us to have our crazy sing-a-longs.

I really don’t think there’s a song he can’t play. But, there’s definitely a lot of songs that the attendees couldn’t sing. I always get a kick out of people (myself included) shouting out the names of the songs they want to sing only to find that they only know the chorus. Brian sure has patience!

Another late night — but so worth it!

Day 3 Sessions, Spa & Pool Time!

I couldn’t quite make it in time for breakfast today, so Shawn and I decided to grab some egg sandwiches and Bloody Mary’s (hair of the dog!) at Josey’s before headed to our 10:00am – 11:30am meetings that we scheduled with Affiliates to discuss the Affiliate Summit Affiliate Program.

Enjoying Bloody Mary’s with Shawn Collins during ShareASale ThinkTank 2012

The day rounded out with more Problem-Solver Sessions including Keeping up Content Production, Managing a Search Ad Trademark Policy, and Staying in Compliance with FTC Ad Laws.

After a terrific deli-style lunch came the now famous “Things We Need to Fix Session” in which Brian Littleton sits with ShareASale ThinkTank attendees to listen to what they want to see from ShareASale in 2013. It’s a no-holds-barred opportunity for attendees to voice their opinion on any issue.

I always commend Brian for this session as there’s not a lot of CEO’s that would open themselves up like that — in such a public forum.

Pool time {feat.music from The Cure and swim up bar} Pool time {feat. music from The Cure and swim up bar}

After heart-felt goodbyes to many of the attendees who were trying to catch flights, I headed off to the Spa for a massage followed up by a trip to the pool to put my new ShareASale Beach Towel to use that I received during check-in. It was nice to wind-down for a bit after a whirlwind week of networking and learning all sorts of new stuff.

Lisa Picarille and I ended our ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 experience by having a lakeside dinner at Iguana Grill that featured a live band and afforded me the last opportunity to eat another round of fish tacos (my staple food of Austin since I don’t eat meat!).

Thank You ShareASale Staff!

The ShareASale staff as always, were gracious hosts and outdid themselves once again. This is a firt-rate event and I appreciate the opportunity to attend. If you’ve ever been on the fence about attending, hop off of it next year and do it!

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Missy Ward

Co-Founder & President at Affiliate Summit, Inc.
Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, itsaWAHMthing.com; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites. If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.
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