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Profile of a Growth Marketer: MasterClass, Thomas Hopkins

Profile of a Growth Marketer is an ongoing series where we feature partner marketing industry leaders from around the globe.

We sat down with Thomas Hopkins, Director of Performance and Lifecycle Marketing at MasterClass, and discussed how affiliate marketing has impacted MasterClass’ strategy and success.


What is Masterclass and how are you disrupting the education industry?

I wouldn’t say that we are disrupting the education industry. Instead, I would say that we are democratizing access to genius.

At MasterClass, we are taking the best practitioners in the world and creating three to five hours’ worth of high-quality video lessons that can be learned by dedicating as little as twelve minutes a day to the courses.


What do you do in your role at Masterclass?

I head up Performance and Lifecycle Marketing (PALM) which sits within the Marketing team. Performance Marketing includes all marketing spend focused on conversion and ROI. Some channels include social, search, display, affiliate, video, mailers, etc. Lifecycle Marketing includes all email, push, and in-app messaging to current, past, and interested members/customers.


How did you get started in the world of affiliate marketing?

I started as an affiliate in 2003 while I was in college. I used to advertise on Google ads and sell e-books through Click Bank.

My strategy was working great for about six months. Then Google decided to raise the CPC floor.


What has surprised you most about the affiliate marketing model?

One thing that has surprised me is that our affiliates find areas of opportunity for us to explore and impact our strategy.

For example: customer reviews is an area that we are exploring more since our best affiliates are generally doing product reviews.


From your experience, how has the affiliate marketing model added value to Masterclass?

It helps us in three ways.

  1. Affiliate marketing expands our product awareness and consideration reach for our vast list of instructor genres.
  2. It makes it easy for us to manage in-bound requests by various brands or individuals that would like to work with us. Every time one comes in, we refer them to our affiliate platform as the best way to partner with MasterClass.
  3. It helps identify areas of opportunity for homepage conversion improvements.


What are some advantages to working with Acceleration Partners?

Acceleration Partners has been helpful to MasterClass’ affiliate program by identifying and recruiting new partners to expand our reach, as well as managing the relationships with existing partners.


How has the affiliate model aided in helping Masterclass reach a global audience?

The affiliate marketing model allows anyone who is passionate about one of our instructors or the topics they are teaching to become an affiliate and blog, vlog or post about any of our instructors and the lessons they teach.


What’s one fun fact about yourself that the team at Acceleration Partners may not know about you?

I love dogs so much that I had a profitable dog poop bag business for five years. I would donate 20% of all proceeds to local shelters.


To learn more about how Acceleration Partners helps industry-leading brands build, grow, refine and expand their affiliate marketing program through high-value partnerships, reach out to our team!