How long have you both been working at TopCashback?
LG: For me, it’s been very nearly four years and that includes a placement year when I first joined the company.
JH: Similar for me as well, I did my placement year at TopCashback so cumulatively it’s coming to two years when including the 12 month placement.
LG: My placement year was based in our client-facing side of the Partnerships team in the London office so it was nice to come back after graduating and get straight back to it!
JH: It was a little different for me in the sense that my placement role was more account support and admin focus based in our head office. So coming down to London and then being client-facing after graduating has been a big change but I have really enjoyed it.
What do you enjoy most about performance marketing?
LG: For me, I like that it’s so easy to measure everything that we do. When we’re talking to a new or established client, whatever we’re suggesting, we’ve got previous data to back it up and can measure exactly how the new campaign would work. It’s so easy to measure results and in theory the success of what we’re trying to do.
Also, the fact the industry is still growing. There are some high street brands that are only just starting to engage in this channel and that’s really exciting.
JH: One of the big things I’ve noticed is the emphasis on relationship building and collaboration. Whether it’s a networking event or taking a client out for lunch, I think these sort of events can have a really meaningful impact on your working relationship and can help in securing better deals for our members.
What do you think are some of the key trends happening right now in the industry?
LG: I guess similar to the last point about the industry growing, this is creating a lot of new opportunities. For example, the rise of the influencers and how we can incorporate them into our standard traditional affiliate platform. There have been some good results so far, but it’s still early days so I expect it’s only going to increase.
JH: By no means a new trend but I’ve certainly noticed that there’s been a growing emphasis on innovation, so as a channel and cashback site, it’s a need for us to offer placements and exposure packages that is beyond the norm.
And, some of the challenges affecting affiliates and publishers?
LG: Recently, there’s seems to be more of a shift to ‘race to the bottom’, in terms of cutting commissions. From a cashback sites perspective for example, no longer offering commission on existing customer purchases. I think the challenge to the industry is often that we’ve been seen as very cost effective which is great but the race to the bottom is probably not the most positive way to interpret that.
JH: One of the things I’ve noticed which has appeared in a lot of articles is digital ad and marketing spends growing at a slower rate than they have before. Even with affiliate spend up 15% year-on-year in 2017, there are still a lot of long-standing affiliate programmes that struggle to get sign off on significant budgets from senior managers to invest in the affiliate channel.
What’s been your biggest career highlight so far?
LG: For me, it has to be the Industry Rising Star nomination at this year’s PMAs. That was a really nice surprise and brilliant to be recognised for the work I’ve put in.
JH: The PMAs for me as well. It was my first awards and for us to take home the Industry Choice of Publisher Award was an honour. Sore heads the next day ha!
A belated congratulations for winning Industry Choice of Publisher Award at this year’s PMAs. What does this mean for TopCashback and the work it’s doing in the industry?
LG: Again for all of us, it’s nice to be recognised. Everyone across the business works really hard to put together our campaigns. It’s not just the partnerships team but all of the departments across the business. Also, having confidence from other people in the industry that feel we are working well and ultimately for us, it’s working out how to do the same but better.
JH: I think it’s great and a good indicator that we’re working really well across all departments; as Lisa said it’s not just the client-facing teams but right across the business - through our claims, design and email teams - putting that all together is a nice thing for the business as a whole.
Aside from the affiliate world, do you have any other interest/hobbies?
LG: I guess my main one is travel. I ticked off some destinations over the last couple of years. I went to India a few weeks ago, Portugal before that, Thailand and Vietnam so got a bit of a list I’m working down so it’s quite exciting.
JH: For me, I’m into my live music so gigs and music festivals; I’ve got a few coming up this summer. Also being new to London, I enjoy getting out in the weekend and seeing new places around the city.
Three words that best describe you?
LG: Inquisitive, sociable and easy going.
JH: Enthusiastic, ambitious and industrious.
Lastly, are there any announcements from TopCashback that you’re able to share with us?
LG: Watch this space, but we can share that we’ve just gone live with our new in-store platform, which means now we can track across both Visa and MasterCard (and very soon AMEX).
JH: It’s really about us exploring new ways that we can grow as a business and continue to do the very best for our clients and members.