How did ADSUM get started and Why ADSUM?
ADSUM started very organically because several years ago I was really frustrated with not having access to other advertisers in the industry to ask questions to. And coming from my background in real estate, I have found a number of valuable lessons from learning from people that have walked in those shoes ahead of me. I’m also the youngest of six, so asking older brothers and sisters questions comes naturally.
Let me take a step back and explain where I came from professionally and you’ll see why ADSUM is important. Prior to learning about Affiliate Marketing, I was introduced to the real estate industry through a seminar/coaching system. What was cool about that is that there was already a group of experienced veterans all learning and teaching one another various real estate techniques. Stuff like “preforclosures”, “subject to”, “lease option”, etc.
This was helpful because while there was potential for large profit margins there was some knowledgebase or system to use to start off rather than being stuck in a “sink or swim” situation. I learn as fast as the next guy, and having access to someone that is a few steps ahead of me is worth more than any college class about the subject. “Doing” is so much more valuable than reading about theories or experiences. I leveraged that community and in many cases “paid it forward” by teaching a few tricks I’d learned over that period of time I was in that industry.
Fast forward to my introduction to the Affiliate Marketing industry. There was none of that. No community for the owner of the product, no one to ask questions to, no one to go to for help if I screwed something up.
Over time of just networking with other advertisers, typically through other conferences, it was very rare to find advertisers. It was kinda like finding a lost treasure. It was difficult to actually find other advertisers that are doing the same thing but selling different products or in different parts of the country. So when I would find them, like an energetic younger brother, I had questions about what they were doing and how they did it, I would try to offer as much value as I could to them so I wasn’t just wasting their time, I knew from previous business dealings that time is woth more than money and I wanted to honor people’s time.
I found out that there were a couple of different “camps” of guys. There were guys that were really competitive and didn’t wanna share any information and just wanted to pump me for information. And then there were guys that were a little bit more like me, they had been learning through the school of hard knocks, and they liked sharing information with other advertisers, and they also had questions that only other advertisers could answer.
I found myself gravitating towards more and more of the types of guys that had questions and also had answers. Some of them loosely joined this peer group that became what’s now called the “Continuity Counsel”, which is a good sized group of pretty savvy advertisers. I’ve just seen kind of the way the Continuity Counsel has evolved, it was more focused on guys that have been there for a while, they’ve been through the ropes, they’ve been through the wringer and they’ve taken their lumps early on and now they’re a little bit more established. And it’s a little bit more like a peer group, mind share, mastermind.
So I started thinking that there was a larger desire for advertisers to network with each other. That this desire for advertisers to learn from one another and to leverage each other as a resource was more universal than I originally though. This event is really the genesis of that idea.
I think a lot of people in the Affiliate Marketing industry have found that main affiliate trade shows are focused more towards affiliates than they are advertisers, and so advertisers kind of feel like second class citizens when in reality it’s from their pocketbook that everybody’s paid. I just thought that there was a need because I kept getting asked for the same thing, and I thought this might be a nice way to set up a little bit more inclusive, all encompassing type event that you don’t have to have references to get in or live in the right place or just happen to know the right person.
For ADSUM, you don’t have to have two years of business acumen to get in, it’s open for new people as well. And while it’s focused on Advertisers, Affiliates are welcome too, they may just find that the core elements of the show cater towards the operational and financial entities responsible for fulfilling orders and managing customers.