It is an honor and a delight to welcome Helen Southgate to the Acceleration Partners team! In her new role as UK Managing Director, Helen will head Acceleration Partners’ operations in the UK and Europe.
Prior to joining AP, Helen served as affilinet’s Managing Director. Her extensive career within performance marketing spans roles at BSkyB, affilinet, DGM, Silvertap as well as serving as chair of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Performance Marketing Council (PMC), all of which has developed her extensive affiliate marketing expertise.
To introduce Helen, we thought we’d ask her some clever questions:
How did you get started in affiliate marketing?
I fell into it straight out of University. A college friend of mine set up Silvertap, an early, start-up affiliate marketing network. He asked if I wanted a job after finishing University and I, of course, jumped at the chance. It was an incredibly unique experience.
My first clients as an Account Manager were Tesco Finance and Freeserve (which later became Orange). This was all back in 2002 when affiliate marketing was still in its very early stages of growth, so everyone was learning as they went along.
What excites you most about where affiliate marketing is headed?
I’ve been working in the affiliate industry for over 15 years now, so I’ve seen it change and develop over that time. At the moment, it feels that affiliate marketing is in a very strong position as more advertisers are focusing their resource and budget on performance-based marketing and starting to see it as a channel that can deliver much more value than just acquisition.
I think there will be more focus on customer retention through the channel and brand awareness higher up the funnel, as well as continuing to deliver the acquisition volumes that the channel has always been favored for. Exciting times ahead.
How did you get into cycling?
I got into cycling when I was working at Sky. Sky had just created Team Sky so cycling soon became a culture throughout the business. Sky really helped cultivate this by having a cycle mechanic on site, safe cycle hubs, organized rides, etc.
My first taster ride was one that Sky sponsored. We cycled from London to Brighton, which is just under one hundred miles. I borrowed a mountain bike and hit the road and have been hooked ever since. I’ve cycled across many parts of the UK and France and have found it to be a great way to see the countryside. I’m not a big fan of hills, but I’m addicted to the feeling you get when you’ve made it to the top.
I’ll admit that there have been many times when I’ve wanted to stop and walk, but I haven’t yet. I’ve found that it’s often more about mental strength than anything else and I enjoy the challenge of that.
What are a few ways affiliate marketing in the UK differs from the US?
The UK has a lot more self-regulation and best practice standards which have been adopted by the UK affiliate industry and supported by the IAB (International Advertising Bureau).
We are also a little more transparent. I think that has helped us to promote the industry in a positive way here in the UK. It’s also helped us mitigate the negative stigma that’s sometimes associated with the channel.
I think the US still struggles with this in some areas, but the challenge in the US in terms of scale and logistics is much larger than in the UK. This is one of the things that drew me to AP. They’ve long been a thought leader and a first adopter of best practices in the US to ensure good quality through the affiliate channel. I think that is one of the ways we really set ourselves apart from the competition.
What would your billboard say?
Industry thought leader, avid cyclist and Norwich City football club fan (for those outside of the UK, that’s soccer).
Welcome, Helen. We could not imagine a better ambassador for Acceleration Partners’ brand in the UK and Europe as we expand our global presence.