The OPTIZMO team recently returned from the first-ever Affiliate Grand Slam (AGS) in Dubai. After spending over 12 months without any in-person industry events or conferences, 2021 is off to a good start with Lead Generation World in March and AGS in May. Since this was a brand new event and the first industry conference we have attended in the Middle East we thought we would provide some highlights and takeaways from the trip.
There’s no getting around the fact that a trip from the U.S. to Dubai is a serious trek. Our crew initially flew into NY so we could travel together across the Atlantic. Having the team together certainly helped make the 12+ hour flight more enjoyable. We also planned to arrive in Dubai a couple of days early, in order to adjust to the local time. We didn’t quite realize the temperature would also take a bit of getting used to. We routinely saw 110 degrees during the day, with evenings cooling off into the 90s. Even our TX-based crew noted that this heat was a whole different level than back home.
It’s always interesting to attend a brand new industry event, to see how it differs from the established shows we are all used to. But, the recent success of new events like Lead Generation World had us hopeful for another great new addition to the industry event calendar. We weren’t disappointed. The folks at AGS scheduled the event to coincide with the AIBC show, which focused on AI and blockchain technology. There was a surprising amount of crossover in show attendees and content, which made them fairly complimentary for attendees. Considering the event came together in under 6 months, it was a real accomplishment that it was as organized and well-attended as it was.
The exhibit hall was busy for both days of the show and the various sessions (one delivered by OPTIZMO’s head of marketing, Tom Wozniak) were well-attended and well-received by the attendees. We saw an interesting mix of partners and industry friends we would typically see at an event in the U.S., along with a large number of new people to meet and get to know from the larger global affiliate marketing arena.
Affiliate marketing is thriving around the world. It was great to meet so many new advertisers, networks, and affiliates, who don’t always attend events in the U.S. to gather their insights on the opportunities and challenges they face in various regions.
Affiliate marketers are anxious to get back to real-world events – even if it means traveling halfway around the world. We certainly weren’t the only U.S. company to attend the event and we ran into a number of our long-term friends in the space, some of whom we hadn’t seen in person in over a year. You could tell how excited people were to be back on the road, attending an event, networking, and driving new business.
Email marketing keeps on driving results. While the use case may vary by region, the channel just keeps on delivering. There was a lot of interest in the channel at the event, showing that email continues to have a bright future in affiliate and performance marketing.
Industry events are definitely back in 2021. With two events already in the books, we have some fantastic ones on the horizon with Affiliate Summit, MailCon, Traffic & Conversion, LeadsCon, and now Affiliate Grand Slam in Malta! We thought so much of the initial event that we are definitely planning to attend their follow-up in November in another amazing location – Malta.