So, off the heels of going through the somewhat dubious process of interviewing myself two weeks ago, it feels only right to get back to profiling people who – for better or worse – are not me.
That said, someone who’s long overdue for a Q+A, in my opinion, is Account Director, Connor Grothe. He’s one of the hardest workers and clearcut leaders at the agency. Connor’s been around for almost two and a half years and has witnessed quite a bit of growth since his first day.
It was great to get his perspective, specifically on how the company has evolved over time. It was my pleasure to ask him questions about the expansion of the agency over the past couple of years and how we’ve maintained a great culture while growing our team.
He also was able to share some insights into the future of affiliate marketing. He weighed in on COVID-19’s effect on managing his team, specific verticals that have been performing well in this wacky time, and doled out some advice to up and coming business leaders.
Check out his Q+A below:
Q: Hi Connor, tell us about your background. Where did you grow up? Where’d you go to school?
A: I’m originally from Colorado and grew up in the Denver area. I attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and moved out to Los Angeles about 3 years after I graduated to get a new perspective on things outside of the Denver bubble.
Q: How did you hear about Advertise Purple? What initially attracted you to affiliate marketing and working here?
A: I originally heard about Advertise Purple through Glassdoor. I was exploring job opportunities before I made the move and came across this great start up company that had excellent reviews and what seemed to be a solid company culture. The thing that attracted me to affiliate marketing was that I actually wasn’t too familiar with it, it was unexplored territory for me in the marketing industry and a great skill set for me to learn and continue to grow overall.
Q: How different was the affiliate space when you started compared to now?
A: It definitely was not as big as it is now, it’s grown so much overall. It was really dominated by the shopping type affiliates as well, there weren’t nearly as many content types back when I first started. It’s been really cool to see all of these big media companies and prominent blogs get involved and having the opportunity to work with them.
Q: How big was the team then versus now? And how has that growth affected how the accounts team operates?
A: I believe I was employee #13 overall and now we have over 100 people if I’m not mistaken. Pretty crazy looking back to the first office I worked in with the team, seems like so long ago but it was actually pretty recent, we’ve just grown so quickly. With the rapid growth, the accounts team needs to develop and execute much larger and complex strategies to ensure that everyone is operating on the same wavelength and nothing falls through the cracks. We have a very precise way of doing things now compared to when the team was smaller, which is completely necessary.
Q: Please describe the culture at Ad Purp. What about it makes this team so successful?
A: The culture at AP is incredible, almost like a family type environment where everyone gets along, has similar interests, and actually does things outside of work together. I think that’s pretty telling of a strong company culture when the employees want to spend time with one another after a full work day. Everyone can rely on each other and knows that the team has their back in any situation.
Q: How has COVID-19 affected your team and the way we operate? How has your team reacted?
A: Obviously, the biggest effect that COVID-19 has had is taking away the in-person interaction aspect of daily operations. Communication has shifted to many more phone and Zoom calls, as well as Skype conversations. Overall, I would say we still operate fairly similar to how we did in office but just transitioned everything to Zoom, we still have the same meetings, same communication cadence in Skype, same types of conversations, etc. The team has shattered my expectations, everyone is doing an amazing job in my opinion. I think there was a bit of a learning curve at the very beginning like there is with any big change but after they got over that hurdle and were able to settle in the transition has been pretty seamless.
Q: What are some verticals that you’ve seen thrive during this (frankly) bizarre time?
A: E-Learning, Tech/Electronics, Health & Wellness, and Cleaning Supplies/Sanitization, of course.
Q: What’s some advice you would give to anyone interested in working in affiliate marketing? Or in starting a career in general?
A: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re only going to progress in your career and in life by continuing to evolve and learning new skills, you can’t learn anything without asking questions.
Q: Where do you see affiliate marketing going in the next few years? What about Ad Purp?
A: I see affiliate marketing continuing on this same rapid growth trajectory that it has been on for the last few years. I’ve seen such a wide variety of advertisers and publishers entering the space lately and I don’t think that will slow down anytime soon as more people discover just how great of a channel affiliate marketing really is and the value it can add to a company. AP is only going to grow with it, I see us continuing to be one of the premier agencies in the industry.
Q: What record do you predict Colorado Football will have this year, if the season even happens?
A: Too easy, I’m predicting an undefeated record and National Championship #2. I also think Stanford will finish last place in the Pac 12, sorry man.
Q: What do you miss most about “regular” life?
A: Saturdays at the Bungalow.