Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. 

In this edition we head over to California, to speak with the US head of an affiliate marketing agency. 


Marty Bickford.

Job title and company:

Managing Director – US Operations / COO – Global.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

AffiliateTraction is an affiliate marketing agency which manages the performance marketing channel of large internet retailers.

What are the company’s unique selling points? 

We provide all inclusive affiliate programme management and promotional services for global brands and retailers.  Our services include placement in multiple affiliate networks, affiliate recruitment, affiliate optimization, powerful brand compliance, product catalogue management, and creative design. Our service fees include all costs while eliminating the hassle of multiple contracts, vendor approvals, complex technical integration, and numerous logins.
Within the last six months, what stands out as the company’s (or certain department’s) major milestones? (e.g investment rounds, launch into new markets, key web hits/social network milestones, increase in staff, clients, share price boost etc)

AffiliateTraction has proven its ability to push into additional markets, progress the value delivered to our clientele, and stay ahead of the technology curve. We have a solid European branch which has enabled us to court high-profile merchants like iStock and Boohoo.com. The value proposition for clientele has accelerated again. We pushed some clients out of their comfort zone relative to attribution, and this resulted in greater returns- and partnerships we have nurtured with ecommerce platforms are now delivering tangible value for clients.

Duration in current role:

Five Years.

Where are you based?

Santa Cruz, California: home of chaos theory, DARPA research, open-source philosophy, and a bedroom community of Silicon Valley.

Previous performance marketing-related Co’s you have worked at:

None. My background is in open internet protocols, standardization of APIs, and business process automation.

What are your main job responsibilities?

My responsibilities include day-to-day management of the US branch of AffiliateTraction. This includes account strategy, value/service delivery, and internal team development. I’m also responsible for overall operations of the AffiliateTraction globally.

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:

We start every Monday with a global account management meeting to review initiatives, best practices, and training. Then it’s on to checking in on other teams and reviews of client goals/objectives. I try to reserve Monday for internal focus before engaging the outside world during the rest of the week.

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

  1. HBR.ORG – I’m a big fan of their blog. There are always useful management perspectives.
  2. Slashdot.org – Did you know two supermassive black holes are about to embrace?
  3. Google.com – My favorite way to find something I don’t know. Googling “ecommerce news” or the like.

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

  1. Work. Don’t think too much about where you are headed in your career. Enjoy the work and work where you enjoy the people and the challenge. Stop thinking when it is time to do.
  2. Listen & Learn. The ecommerce industry is not a new born, but is just learning to walk. There is unthinkable disruption in the future. Individuals who understand how to identify opportunity through technology can create amazing value. This is only possible for someone who is listening and learning.
  3. Art of the Long View. Practice strategic thinking. My favorite book on the subject is The Art of the Long View by Peter Schwartz. Visualizing potential outcomes and scenarios helps us act with confidence and prepare for potential outcomes.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time?

In three years I plan to be at AffiliateTraction. Career-wise, my hope is that I become a better mentor, a better leader, and managing teams in 25 countries.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

My local catholic dioceses has given me the title “Keeper of the Key”. I’m responsible (as a volunteer) to open and close the gates to a historical cemetery across from my house here in Santa Cruz.