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Women in Affiliate Marketing: Maja Novakovic, Branders Partners

Continuing the countdown to International Women’s Day, we’re moving forward with our ‘Women in Affiliate Marketing’ series. Next up is Maja Novakovic, Affiliate Manager for Branders Partners.

Just before the Internet became big, Maja was a TV editor and producer in the Call TV industry. So, as things shifted online, it was perhaps natural that she would too.

However, she actually entered affiliate marketing quite late. Since then she’s made up for lost time, working up to her current position.

In this interview, Maja shares her journey from television to online. She also talks about her favourite day-to-day aspects in her role, amongst other things.

AffiliateINSIDER: To begin with, how did you get involved in affiliate marketing? 

Maja Novakovic: “I was a young TV editor and producer in the now-ancient call TV industry. Just like affiliate marketing, this was highly-driven by conversions.

“The transition from TV to online was natural. The Internet exploded, while TV became highly-regulated. Needless to say that majority of my peers ended up in the affiliate marketing industry – mainly grey and black hat peeps. By comparison, I only found myself in this industry three years ago.

“Thanks to my previous experience, I’ve adapted to the pace of affiliate marketing with ease. Getting in wasn’t easy, though. For at least a year, I applied for different entry-level positions within iGaming.

“I accepted a part-time position as the Personal Assistant to a Managing Director within a SEO affiliate marketing company. Within a month, I got my chance as a Junior Affiliate Manager.

“The next six months were challenging. I had to learn the products, rules and tools of the industry. But in the end, I was very proud of my self-taught experience.”

AI: In your opinion, what are the key aspects of being an affiliate manager?

MN: “From personal experience, a good affiliate manager is a ‘multipotentialite’. You must be a quick learner, with high adaptability and the ability to think outside the box.

“I would divide my job into three different categories.

  • Social – Extraordinary communicational skills are needed. We have to be eloquent, on point, funny and entertaining. A good affiliate manager also has to listen carefully and read between the lines.
  • Numerical analytics – I would always recommend young affiliate managers to dig into statistics more deeply. Focus more on binomial distribution and probability distribution, rather than just checking the medium values. Play with numbers, then test and stretch them.
  • Contextual analytics – Know your product and market. Don’t aim to be everywhere. Sometimes, our work is overwhelming as it is highly result-driven. But with proper placement and energy, investment and continuous growth is achievable.”
AI: How have attitudes towards women in the industry changed since your career began?

MN: “This is hard to answer objectively. Throughout my career, I’ve grown to be a ‘bro’. As for iGaming, I think that more women have market their paths with strong voices since I started.

“My personal feeling is that affiliate marketing in iGaming is dominated by female affiliate and account managers. But from what I can see, we lacking more female entrepreneurs, CEOs, COOs.

“As Nell Scovell says in her book, Just the Funny Parts: ‘When members of a group are made aware of a negative stereotype, they are more likely to conform to that stereotype’.

“Ladies – go, live, do and WORK on your own merit – not on some old-school stereotype! Oh, and read the book too. It’s funny.

“Back to the topic, my biggest concern with our industry and approaches to women are related more to our networking events. We still have ladies dressed in latex, half-naked outfits walking around as presenters.

“This must be passé and we have to be laud about that and make some changes. Worst case scenario: if the industry insists on hot, sexy bodies as selling points then we for have to add some oily, semi-naked men to this offering – if not Drag Queens – in Maja’s ideal Universe!”

AI:  If you were to give advice to your younger professional self, what would it be?

MN: “You ask all the hard questions! It’s hard because I’ve learned so much from my failures. I’m not sure I want to skip any of them.

“One of the conclusions may be this. First, do the corporate jobs and then crash your start-ups. Always sign a contract and don’t undersell yourself. Your work is worth much more.”

AI: And to round things up, what are your favourite aspects of being an affiliate manager?

MN: “My favourite part of this job is networking. I love spreading the network and meeting new professionals, especially considering our industry is so diverse and without borders.

“It’s a big pleasure to meet partners face-to-face, after working with them on a daily basis via Skype or Email. My TOP professional rule is that making money and working is easy, if you’re having fun.”

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