I recently had the honor of volunteering for the Great American Teach-In at my kids’ elementary school. Now, I am not a doctor, a nurse, a police officer or a mailman; I’m a marketing professional specializing in affiliate program management and strategy. So, one may ask, why did I choose to volunteer to talk to young children about my profession?
The answer is simple: children need to learn at a young age about the importance of relationships, which is what affiliate marketing is all about.
As I started crafting my PowerPoint presentation, I quickly realized that this wouldn’t be as easy as I had expected. First, I had to think of my audience – five to seven-year-olds. What do they care about? What are they interested in? What engages them?
In thinking of my own kids, I decided to completely overhaul my professional-looking presentation and turn it into a fun, interactive discussion via a comic book theme. After a brief intro slide about who I am and what I do in my job with Acceleration Partners, I jumped right in by asking them about how and where they shop with their family.
Kids understand a lot more about marketing and online shopping that we are likely to give them credit for. I made an educated guess that most saw their parents on cell phones, computers and tablets quite often, so I transitioned their in-store shopping experiences to online by asking the class, “How many of you see your moms and dads on their phones in Target?”
Every child raised his or her hand. They also got really excited that they could relate, in real life, to what I was beginning to talk about. I then asked, “What are they looking for on their phones?”
One young girl replied, “A better price for my toy.” A young boy said “My mommy loves to look for sales.” Wow. So, right away, these kindergarten and first grade kids grasped how adults in their lives are using technology to shop.
From there, I transitioned to what I do day-to-day as a Senior Account Manager at Acceleration Partners and how we help big brands, like The Children’s Place and Target, connect with consumers while also helping people like their parents find great deals.
Bringing it back to relationships, I then explained how we bridge the gap between brands and consumers by building quality relationships with important partners and vendors. We also talked about how technology makes it easier to track and manage those relationships.
And, since affiliate marketing leverages cookies, I used a picture of chocolate chip cookies to explain how every device shares cookies so we can track the sales. I even passed out cookies after the presentation. I’d like to believe that those kids went home and told their parents that cookies are tracking them online while envisioning chocolate chip and sugar cookies.
In addition to wanting the kids to understand what I do and why I do it, I wanted them to grasp why school is so important. I told the children that everything they are learning now about reading, writing, math and science will be important when they grow up and start a career. I explained how education is the gateway to a career that they will ultimately love. I also encouraged them to work at something that they enjoy because, when you enjoy what you do, you will always challenge yourself and excel and improve in the process.
Creating relationships was the topic we spent most of our time discussing. I shared how establishing and building relationships in the world of affiliate marketing is very similar to the relationships they are forming with their classmates right now. If they spend time learning about others, valuing differences, being kind and creating meaningful relationships, then they will ultimately be more successful and happy.
If my presentation reached even one child, especially about being kind to others and forming meaningful relationships, than I consider it a great success.
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