Cristian Miculi – Senior Manager, Alliances at Avangate. He has a strong background in project management, sales, marketing and professional attitude to everything. Cristian enjoys creating content geared to affiliate marketing and sharing best practices with the industry via webinars, events, blog posts, etc.
Cristian always opens for a new and exciting challenge. His newest one is the alliances role at Avangate Affiliate Network. He has a deep understanding of the affiliate marketing world, performance marketing and related technologies for tracking, promotion and monetization. And today you have the opportunity to get to know him better and learn how to deliver quality work being an Affiliate Manager.
1. Cristian, I know that you have worked in the publishing area for about 3 years. Please tell us about your experience you have got before Avangate.
Indeed, I got my first job while in college – I was working as an online editor at IDG Romania. Initially I thought I would keep that job just for the summer, but since I was also contributing to articles in the magazine I discovered that I liked creating content and so I stayed for almost 3 years there.
I went through all the stages – from online editor to hardware & software tests editor for PC World, online manager and in my final months – editor in chief. In parallel we also launched an online store for which I helped with product management.
These first 3 years helped me develop my skills on content creation, online marketing and driving relationships with customers and agencies.
2. How did you start your cooperation with Avangate?
As I’m constantly looking for new challenges, Avangate seemed at that time in 2008 a normal step for me to grow professionally. I came onboard as a Communication Specialist, but in one year’s time I was handed the Avangate Affiliate Network with the specific goal of growing it. And I did so, working with both advertisers and affiliates: from approx. 2,000 affiliates we got to 35,000+ affiliates at the end of 2012, that were generating a consistent percentage of revenue for the company.
I then focused on the managed affiliate services side that I had started in parallel, signing and managing experienced outsourced partners to help with that.
My last professional step within the company was when I expanded my role into the newly created services team, covering both affiliate services, online marketing services and the alliances role.
Along all the operational and strategic bits and pieces, I have always enjoyed creating content geared to affiliate marketing and sharing best practices with the industry via webinars, events, blog posts, etc.
3. What are the main things you are currently working on as a Senior Manager of Alliances?
I’m currently focusing on growing the alliances ecosystem we have created at Avangate with technology, agency and integration partners. The goal would be that each of our customers to be able to get the pieces they need to grow their business by simply working with us and connecting with our specialized partners.
In the same time, I’m the subject matter expert for affiliate services and online marketing services.
4. How can affiliate managers motivate their affiliates?
This depends on many factors: vertical, niche, size of the company and what the company goals are, etc. Of course, money (bonuses) always work and something that motivates affiliates is getting credit for the subscription renewals of the customers they initially brought onboard – works best with weekly / monthly subscriptions.
Some affiliates are motivated by exclusivity – having something to promote that cannot be found anywhere else – whether it’s a product, a service, a special subscription type or a coupon. Works best for saturate markets.
All these should be offered based on the affiliates’ performance.
5. What are the main factors advertisers should consider when choosing affiliate networks?
I think the top one should be relevancy – whether a network has worked with similar advertisers. This way, there are greater chances of generating revenue via the specialized affiliates in that network.
Another important one would be the capabilities of that network – supporting the advertiser’s business model, tracking & attribution models, recruitment opportunities, communication tools, support, cross-promotion, add-on services, etc.
As an advertiser I would also look at what the network is offering to affiliates, since many of them may be reluctant in joining one’s program just because they’re on a network they don’t prefer. Payment options and frequency, network campaigns, special tools and support are just a few of the things that affiliates look at when working with a network.
6. Please share your secrets of a long-term cooperation with affiliates and getting them to deliver more quality traffic to offers?
Constant communication especially with the top performers, personal touch (meeting them at events), exclusive offers and supplying the affiliates the tools they need to successfully promote you.
7. How do you choose advertisers and affiliates with whom you want to work?
Here at Avangate, in the context of our network, we don’t actually exclude anyone that wants to work with us, advertiser or affiliate, as long as what we can offer meets their requirements. We also work on setting the correct expectations on their side regarding the affiliate channel.
8. Could you suggest some good resources for affiliate managers to learn from?
I would definitely recommend Geno Prussakov’s affiliate blog and his „Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day” book.
Then, I think that every affiliate manager should attend at least once the Affiliate Summit and/or the Performance Marketing Insights events – there are very interesting educational sessions there plus some strong networking that can be done.
Also, depending on the company’s niche and existing affiliate program, one could check the major affiliate networks’ blogs.
9. What essential achievement as an affiliate manager can you be proud of?
When we started the managed affiliate services at Avangate, I was working hands-on on the projects for our advertisers. We had many projects running and in the end got mostly very positive revenue increases. What I’m particularly proud of is the fact that in all the cases when we were working jointly with the advertisers’ in-house affiliate managers we were able to share our knowledge and get them to continue growing the program.
10. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I very much enjoy traveling, driving and playing the keyboards with the band that I’m part of. Also, I’m a fan of TV cooking shows, although I don’t cook so often myself.