Following a recent fun-filled and rather competitive poker event, hosted by affilinet’s managing director, Helen Southgate, we thought she must have some words of wisdom when it comes to networking across the performance marketing industry.

She has been in the industry a while and is not shy when it comes to speaking up on industry issues, so ahead of Performance Marketing Insights London, lets see what can be learnt from the London-based MD.

Q: How long have you been working in the performance marketing sector and how would you describe the ‘networking scene’ within the industry?

HS:  I’ve been working in the sector since 2002, so over 11 years.  I would describe the networking scene as laid back in that it is a relaxed way of networking. I often find myself talking a lot about football, as well as the industry. 

Q: How has the networking scene changed over the last few years and what type of events are great for networking?

HS: I don’t think the networking culture has changed hugely except for people seem to be getting younger, but that may in-fact be that I’m actually getting older. What has changed significantly is the size and venues.  I’ve been around long enough to remember when the A4u Expo was in a pub and was based wholly around networking, now there is a much greater professional feel and the networking is usually bolted on to an industry event such as a conference.

Q: Do you have a personal networking highlight/example of great results and have you had any major faux pas yourself!?

HS: I’m useless at remembering names, always have been, this is not a great trait for networking.  So I’ve had many faux pas when I’ve had to introduce another person to the conversation.  I even forgot my colleagues name once in a conference call (who I worked with for three years) which was hugely embarrassing so please don’t ever be offended if I forget your name, it’s normal.

Highlights really go back to when I first started out in the industry; I remember the first A4u event I went to in Gloucester on a boat. This is where I met many of the publishers that are still around today. Eleven years ago, I still remember two affiliates hitting each over the head with an inflatable hammer. Thankfully the industry has moved on since then.

Q: What are your top three tips for those looking to work the room at an event?

HS: Know when to leave a conversation, don’t hang around

Be yourself

Have fun

Q: What would you say are common networking pitfalls?

HS: Talking about business all of the time, it’s tiring, people like to have fun at networking so yes you should talk about business, but try and also have a bit of humility and enjoy yourself. People also enjoy talking about themselves so be interested in what they have to say (even if you are not!)

Q: Why is important to attend events, such as Performance Marketing Insights London (and the after party!)?

HS: It’s the one event where everyone within the affiliate marketing sector gets together in one venue, even the worse networkers (and I possibly include myself in that) can’t possibly fail here as everyone is in the same boat and wants to discuss affiliate marketing……. or football.


Did you catch Matt Bailey’s networking tips last month? Working it at Events – Network Tips from Industry Guru