R.J. Kashare can be found seated right by the front door of Advertise Purple’s HQ in Santa Monica, California. His impact at the company extends much further, though, than being just the first smiling face greeting those who enter.
He heads up the partnerships team at Ad Purp, meaning he and his growing team work to develop the best recruitment strategies, establishing and maintaining ongoing relationships with affiliates in the space.
He’s been around the company for quite some time and had a lot of insights to share with me about where the company was when he started and how far he and his team have come.
If you’re interested in the affiliate space, working with us or for us, or you just like to look at a guy with a great haircut, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s jump right in!
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Westlake Village, California.
Where did you go to college, and what did you study?
I studied Advertising and Media Marketing at CU Boulder.
What was your first job?
My career started with internships at Legendary Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment. Each summer during college, I would assist their promotions teams with advertising campaigns for films such as Godzilla, Jurassic World, and Hunger Games.
How long have you been at Ad Purp and how did you find out about the company?
I saw the job listing for Advertise Purple online and I immediately knew affiliate marketing would be a perfect fit for me considering my background in advertising. I drove to Sweet Arleen’s the next morning, picked up a box of cupcakes and taped my resume to the top of it. Here I am, managing affiliate partnerships a year and a half later!
What was your experience with affiliate marketing like before you started at Ad Purp?
I was familiar with the affiliate space but I had no idea agencies managed brands on a larger scale. It’s been really fascinating to see our ecosystem change here at Advertise Purple as we attempt to keep up with our exponential growth.
Describe how you ended up in your current role. How did the partnership team originate?
I actually started training here as an Account Manager before the Partnership Team came to life! As our client list grew, affiliates struggled to keep up with us. In order to streamline the process, we created a separate division that deals specifically with onboarding new brands to the top affiliates in the space. As the main point of contact for these affiliates, The Partnership Team has been able to increase the number of quality affiliates joined to our client’s programs by double digits.
What lessons have you learned in your 20s that you wish you had known earlier?
Anything is possible, no matter how difficult a task may seem. I’m only 24 so hopefully there are more lessons to be learned down the road.
Describe the culture of Ad Purp. How do you think it compares to other companies?
The culture here is unmatched – Every employee here plays a different role in growing our client’s affiliate programs, so the collaborative environment occurs naturally. It’s refreshing to know that there is always somebody here who can assist when an issue arises that is out of my wheelhouse.
You recently hired Ginny Lee to join your team. What were you looking for in filling that role? How has Ginny acclimated to her role?
Once I was able to pinpoint the increase in key metrics my role produces, my next mission was to find affiliates that could potentially have the same effect on our brands. I needed to hire somebody with the same grit, creativity, and slight OCD I incorporate into my day-to-day workload.
Ginny has been nothing short of spectacular. She started on my team right in the middle of Q4 so there was no breathing room whatsoever – I needed her to hit the ground running from day one. Her desire to learn and strong worth ethic aided my department through the most hectic time of the year. I’m not sure how I would’ve made it through the holiday season without her support.
You’ve been able to travel to conferences with Ad Purp, most recently going to #ASW20 in Vegas. What benefits do you see from that face-to-face interaction with affiliates and others in the industry?
Attending conferences and meeting our affiliate partners in person is a CRUCIAL part of our department’s success. Since we work with the same affiliates every day rather than attempting to find new opportunities, it’s important to maintain relationships in both a work environment and socially. What better way is there to bond with partners than a Vegas trip?
Where do you see your team in a year?
I’m hoping to have quite a few more Strategic Partnership Managers a year from now **fingers crossed**
How do you think the Purply App will change how things operate at Ad Purp?
The Purply App has been the backbone of the Partnership Team these past couple of months (other than Ginny). This new technology allows us to narrow down which verticals are able to perform best on certain platforms, allowing us to orchestrate brand partnerships in the most efficient manner possible. I can’t even remember how I did my job without it!
Describe affiliate recruitment. What does it take to be successful and what are the more challenging parts?
Specializing in affiliate recruitment is truly unique – It’s like playing a hybrid role of Account Manager and Account Executive. We are constantly fighting tooth and nail by negotiating terms for our brands on a large scale. We want to make sure our clients are receiving quality brand exposure at an affordable price.
Time management is key. Calls with partners, communication with Account Managers and Analysts, meetings – It all adds up quickly. You really need to have a plan of attack each and every day in order to not fall behind.
Any last words of wisdom, say for someone applying or checking out roles here?
The word “affiliate” might be intimidating to applicants that have never worked in the industry. Don’t let it deter you from applying! Advertise Purple is the #1 affiliate marketing agency in the country for a reason – We have an excellent training program here that covers everything you need to know about affiliate marketing.
If online marketing is of interest to you, send over your resume to [email protected]. The Partnership Team is always hiring!