The Importance of Effective Communication Flow


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Merchants will learn the art of communicating and building strong relationships with publishers, to maximize the affiliates’ earning potential and in turn growing the merchant’s business.

Experience level: Intermediate
Target audience: Merchants/Advertisers
Niche/vertical: Communication

Rooshina Modi, Senior Manager, Online Marketing, Barnes & Noble (Twitter @rooshina) (Moderator)
Dannielle Brantley, Senior Marketing Manager, LinkShare Corporation
Sylvia Cintrón, Afffiliate Marketing, AREA203 DIGITAL (Twitter @sylviacintron)
Stephanie Laughon, Account Executive, (Twitter @stephlaughon)

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  • Moderator:We are here to discuss how the relationship between advertiser & publisher & network is a symbiotic relationship that depends on communication There are key management best practices that we’ll share today to foster improved communications between advertiser, networks & publishers. Through this communication you can find your ultimate earnings per click or monthly gross earnings increasing by a substantial %age.This panel is not about just advertisers improve their communication with publishers but also about how publishers can influence their advertiser partners to feel comfortable enough to share custom information. When this communication between both parties is done well the end results have shown more often than not that both parties win.Moderator introduce yourself:Rooshina Modi Bio InfoIntroduce each panel member to give background to audienceDannielle Brantley has over 10 years of experience in the internet and performance-based marketing industry. In her previous position as National Promotions Manager at Own Your Power Communications, Miss Brantley managed a team of 5 volunteers and creating geo-targeted campaigns to increase event attendance for OYP events and seminars. Dannielle was responsible for increasing the awareness of each company’s events and seminars and “letting people know we exist.” In her current role as Senior Marketing Manager, she oversees the day-to-day management of the Lead Gen business and is responsible for devising digital marketing strategies that will generate leads and ultimately, revenue, for top online advertisers within, but not limited to, the following verticals: Financial Services, Insurance, Education, Home Improvement & Legal. Dannielle has been an integral part of the adoption and growth of the Pay-Per-Call channel within the LinkShare Network and has realized an average MOM revenue growth of 67% for that channel in 2010. Miss Brantley has a BS in Business Psychology from Polytechnic University and an MBA in Media Management from the Metropolitan College of NY. She is MRA Certified in Market Research and is currently working towards a Digital Certificate in Marketing from the New York University Continuing Education Program.Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sylvia is a seasoned marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience. She has proven competencies in managing complex teams and formulating long-term strategic account plans for business-to business, business-to-consumer and non-profit organizations. She currently oversees the Affiliate and Lead Generation team at AREA203 Digital, leading them to more effective marketing projects and positioning the agency’s affiliate team as one of the top performing affiliate management teams nationwide.Stephanie is an avid Badgers and Packers fan! Originally from Madison, she left Wisconsin to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she attained a double degree in Psychology and Advertising. Stephanie Laughon has been with for over 2 years, and is currently an Account Executive. Stephanie works on campaign optimization with her new programs, always looking for new and innovative ways to grow her merchant’s sales and acquire new customers. She has implemented successful campaigns for both large and small programs, as continues to offer new media channels to advertise for all types of merchants. These positive ROIs can also be attributed to open communication between Stephanie and her program managers. Communication is vital in such a dynamic industry. Fostering these client relationships leads to greater opportunity and new partnerships.
  • Moderator:Raise your hands if you consider yourself a publisher & earn a % of each sale or flat fee per valid lead you refer to an advertiser?Keep your hands up if you promote 10 or more advertiser offers?Keep your hands up if all of your advertiser partners provide you with quality feedback reports and/or back end conversion metrics that you use to improve your performance?How many of you wish advertiser provide more helpful info so you could improve your overall lead volume?Let’s start from one of the most important stages in an affiliate partnership, The Introduction. From each of your perspectives what information should be shared when an advertiser and publisher are first getting to learn about each other?
  • SylviaKnow your product in and outCommunicating all expectations & goalsCompetitive landscape Create an aggressive and enticing offerDiscover &Utilize:KPIsCommission model (CPA, CPL, PPCall)Industry  restrictions regulationsPromotional methods  Build and provide a complete competitive landscape.Creatives & Technology should be sound and coincide in harmonyCreate an Affiliate Persona: define this term…I love it! Creating Guidelines: Guidelines should provide information regarding the allowance of promotional methods and brand identity, as well as any vertical or industry restrictions or regulations.Before entering into a partnership, what must you already know for initial communication to be successful?Stephanie answerKnowing your product.There are many coupon and deal publishers in this industry. Publishers need to be able to differentiate themselves from their competitors, showing the value of their product and how they drive sales differently and better. Be able to communicate your full marketing mix, including all extensions of your site. Know the following:How do are you driving the most sales?New customer Acquisition (paid search & SEO)Email marketingSite placementsSocial media (Facebook & Twitter)How are you beating your competitors?Discover what your company does better than your competitors and leverage this in your marketing strategies. Who are your customers?Know your core audience. Does this customer align with your advertiser’s demographic? Stephanie- What do you consider when applying for or accepting new programs within a network?Stephanie  We accept all programs for 3 month launch. If the campaign does not prove to be successful by then, we then need to figure out why is not resonating with our customers: Possible challenges for new campaigns: Compelling creative?Competitive payment terms? (need these to beat both Pub & Advertiser’s competitors)Cannot contain offensive or inappropriate contentSpeedy data transaction preferred. As a loyalty site, we need to be able to provide cash back to our customers in a timely manner. Our program integrations are simple, meaning that we can set up new programs in the same day than an offer has been accepted. So, it sounds like it’s really important that both parties come to the table knowledgeable about their business, so they can focus on how they can work together to further their partnership. They don’t have to immediately expose all of their capabilities, but should avoid providing too little information. If either party doesn’t have a good sense of how the other works on the basic level, it can stifle their ability to activate & in the future, optimize, right from the door.How does the advertiser relate to the network at this point?Sylvia - Advertisers needs to work closely with the networks to build strong recruitment or acquisition campaigns usually focusing on:Organic RecruitmentAttending ConferencesSocial Media Assets (incl Twitter)Joining Groups of InterestVery important … need to know and communicate strengths and completive advantages to both network and publishersSo, Dannielle as the network, you’re sitting in the middle of this. How does the network manage each side to facilitate a positive introduction? Have pleasure to work with multiple offers & publishers.Organize information to help both make an effective matchPUBLISHER TIPS:Build Trust/Know your strengths – present your company and proven methods of promotion and how it’s worked for similar products or services (media kits, highlight landing page urls, high level earnings figures in current network[other networks]); Identify who your core audience is.ADVERTISER TIPS:Mentality – advertiser mind frame on what they need to provide to make their campaign successful is importantKnow your Product/Service – know your audience/psychographic; selling points, effective marketing channels, creative messaging, proprietary kpi’s, conversion rates, existing lead volume, competitive cpa rates
  • Ok, so once both parties realize that they can potentially work well together, how can each party make sure that the Launch stage executes smoothly and in a timely manner?
  • Sylvia If your program requires approving publishers who request to join, you should do so within 24 hours of the affiliate applying to your program. If promotional methods used by affiliate are unclear, or any further information is needed prior to approval, send an email:• Thanking publisher for interest in the program. • Requesting further information in a clear & concise manner • Provide time line for providing information, next steps, and communication requirements. Once a publisher its accepted to the program begin building that communication funnel:• Welcome publishers• Provide contact information• Share creative information (best converting, sizes, types frequency up updates)• Offer conversion and optimization tips• Expressing interest in Relationship-Building & Program Growth • Send newsletters (best business practices say every two weeks or monthly)• If there are specific technologies you would like to launch specific technologies this is the time to schedule discovery calls and schedule set up and testingSylvia- Remember affiliates are enticed to promote programs that can increase their earning potential. Activation communication should include the: • Benefits of the program.• Conversion & earning potential Own the competitive advantages: • Know your positioning in the market. • Know customer benefits.-> A customer's experience will impact affiliate's earning opportunities. Introductory activation offers are effective in some instances, however , affiliates might only promote when incentives are provided. A good way to use incentives would be to provide scalability or tiers.• Provide Scalability and/or Tiers for Success with Incentives.->Samples:o $5 more per sale contingent to a 10% MOM growtho Provide Added Value: Unique Content  Unique/New Creative  Re-tweeting/Social Media Push ->Advantages:o Opens the Door to Establish Performance & Optimization Communication o Creates Loyalty through Relationship-Building Up FrontStephanie answera. Initial steps:ii. Content: Keywords & Site Descriptions (obtain from advertiser and network). Coupons, offers, & deals (can pull this content in through the network coupon feed or communicate)iii. Dynamic Creative:  Displaying the advertiser’s logo wherever needed on the site. If this advertiser has seasonal creative, use this instead of generic banners.iv. Commission rate. For cash back sites like ShopAtHome, we can review the cash back of other advertisers within your category, to help you establish a competitive cash back rate on our site. DannielleWhat I’m looking at during the recruitment and launch stage is what do they need to begin generating leads – creative types, custom content, link types, channel specific messaging, etc. How can effective communication be used to get activated quickly and amongst the most applicable channels?PUBLISHER TIPS:Know the Advertiser Product/Service – If you’re unfamiliar with the company. Do a little research, read the offer details & commissionable action and understand what kind of audience the product/service is most appealing to and what that prospective consumer will need to do to become a valid sale/leadPublishers Model will dictateNetwork tools are available to help organize and tracking lead/channel performance U1/Signature Reporting Multiple Channels/SID Web Services Reporting Floodlight Pixel/RealTime Unique phone #’sADVERTISER TIPS:Advertiser terms and conditions will dictateBased on approved channels, advertiser should prepare the following for network reps to use to promote: Form hosting specs Direct email CAN-SPAM deliverables Banner-text links that include product selling points Optimized pay-per-call IVR script
  • Great! So now we’re on the part where it gets fun! The publisher has delivered leads to the advertiser and things are progressing but we want to see how much more we can push volume. It seems that this is where some advertisers/publishers have a breakdown in communication. What happens during this stage that seems to cause this issue? [Touch on lack of resources & time, tech ability and how this can sometimes hinder communication BUT when the following things are in place this is how communication can really drive program growth]
  • So when all things are in place, what should advertisers/publishers make sure to discuss when trying to optimize their campaign?Sylvia- All about performance, earnings and optimization.Discussing performance, trends and best business practices allows the advertiser to mentor and create a trusting relationship with the affiliates. This is the advertiser’s opportunity to show they care and to provide individualized attention to each affiliate. Take time to review each publisher site: Provide a detailed assessment use tools as Alexa, Compete and QuantcastReview traffic, trends & audiencesIdentify challenges and roadblocks the affiliates could have Provide trends and business practices specific to your product or serviceOffer added values Key: The more the affiliate knows about your product and services the more confident and assertive they will be when promoting.Schedule follow up calls to discuss performance Review impact on changes to the site and new initiativesIf your program allows PPC provide best performing terms Listen & Mentor 
  • Stephanie answerGoal definition.Expectations.This step is crucial. The Publisher must work with the Advertiser and Network to establish a plan for achieving the desired goal. Examples of these: new customer acquisition, brand awareness, social media expansion, new product launch, etc.Implementation.Communication must not stop after the goals have been established. During implementation, Publisher, Advertiser, and Network need to work together to deliver the expected campaign. Examples of this: Create customized tracking links, creative assets needed, campaign review before launch (for final changes).During launch: Expect customer feedback. For example, if advertiser is running a Facebook Giveaway with SAH, advertisers should interact with fan wall postings and remain engaged with SAH community. SAH has a community coupon section on our store page. Advertiser can share & comment on coupons under other comments – great opportunity to communicate with your customers and optimization the campaign.Why is it important to analyze the results from campaigns? (topics: asses initial goals and new goal achievement. Plan for future campaignsStephanie answerAnalysis & Follow upKPIs: Review these with Advertiser and Network.Initial Goal was achieved.Publisher and Advertiser have both achieved success. Discuss why this worked and use these findings to develop future campaigns together (create case studies).Goal not achieved, but another Goal was reached.E.g.. Original goal was sales increase from a merchant email. Email received high open rate and low click through rate. Perhaps the subject line was enticing, but the creative elements within the email did not appeal to the general audience.Questions:Offer – was it strong enough?Timing – did we hit them at the right time?Targeting – did we target the right audience?Design – was it aesthetically pleasing?
  • DannielleOnce the partnership has been order active for a few days or is a mature partnership, how do you work to grow the relationship?PUBLISHER TIPS:Depending on the customer flow & feedback timeline of the advertiser, get feedback on your traffic. Work with your network rep to get specific or high level quality and/or back end conversion data. Share your methods of promotion with network rep (i.e.. keyword based desktop search, mobile search, banner-text placement, direct email (size of drop)) – Network rep can inquire about strong keywords/negative keywords, best category placement, etc.Competitive Analysis of Advertiser Performance – How well is the advertiser performing compared to similar or like campaignsADVERTISER TIPS:Provide back end conversion data with network with referring publisher code – weekly/monthly/dailyProvide information on resource availability (tech, marketing creative, legal) so network rep can manage expectations for campaign optimization changes
  • [NETWORK] [IMAGE: CASE STUDY LOGO]Discuss Case Study #1 – network pushed for new advertiser landing page increase in valid orders 25%
  • [IMAGE: CASE STUDY LOGO]Discuss Case Study #2 – pay-per-call – advertiser provided backend conversion information – network able to dialogue with publishers with good conversion rates and recruit similar pubs [may have to temp pause poor relationships but the growth you can get from those that are working, makes up for it because any campaign that’s not hitting the advertisers backend metrics will not be an active campaign for long.]Interesting, so it sounds like there’s no one formula but at the very base level, the advertiser should be open to sharing conversion rates that are relevant for them and be open to the testing of landing pages, creative, product messaging and cpa rate to affect lead growth. If they are not able to measure or share internal conversion metrics or are technically unable to test variable landing pages/creative/messaging & cpa rates, then they should provide a timeline on when they are able to do this because this is the most effective way they will be able to increase activity for their campaign.From the publisher end, they can use feedback received to make the appropriate changes and, if it makes sense, they can introduce additional channels they have available and provide deliverables needed to increase the likelihood of success in that channel. Those publishers with multi-channel distribution, should use tools made available within the networks to track the performance of each channel, so they can tweak them separately.
  • Which brings us into a stage of the relationship that requires the strongest level of communication – the customized partnership. This is when the advertiser provides something special, unique or exclusive for a small group of publishers or a sole publisher in order to improve valid activity.I know every publisher is special [tongue in cheek] and it is very true that advertisers do appreciate working with engaged publishers but a customized partnership is not something that can be offered to every single promoting publisher. How does the advertiser know when to run a customized campaign? And how does a publisher influence an advertiser to provide custom touchpoints for their website or promotional use?
  • Sylvia- Evaluate publisher and identify potential (new technologies, needs, opportunities and growth potential)Create a plan and set goals (MOM growth vs. what will be offered + time period).Engage:Think Outside of the BoxProviding unique creatives (sizes, discounts, look & feel)Unique contentCo- BrandingSocial media campaignImplementation of Unique Initiatives or Tech:PixelData PostingAllowance of TMThe sky is the limit
  • Stephanie answerContinuing the relationship:Set up monthly meetings to discuss:Site changes to Pub & Advertiser’s site.Product launchesNew media channels & promotional methods:Ex. Advertiser may be familiar with SAH’s site, but does not know that we have opportunities available on our Facebook page & through the Blogger channel.Brainstorming sessionsCo-branded landing pages – great way to build customer trust for new advertisers on the publisher’s site. Exclusive couponsGrowing the partnership:Stronger partner and network relationships create a better understanding of the program and opportunities for growth.Lack of communication often leads to missed opportunity!E.g.. Publisher communicates effectively to understand the advertiser’s seasonality. By aligning their marketing calendar, they learn that the Publisher is hosting a special event on the day of their site wide sale. Perfect opportunity that could have been missed otherwise!Committed partners are ones that aren’t afraid to get deeply involved. Get involved with each other’s internal teams (e.g. Social Media, Search)Understand each other’s business models (ROI, margins, promotional methods)Ask for feedback (eg. What can we be doing better to grow your program? What has worked in the past with other publishers?)
  • [NETWORK] We are in a great position to support how new channels, methods of promotion perform. If there is an opportunity to customize the relationship and/or form a unique partnership that will help improve the customer experience and grow lead volume I’ll highlight that?Custom tools/channels: Co-branded landing pages, Co-branded banner ads; Vanity coupon codes, pay-per-call radio scripts, pay-per-call generic video clips, live call center scriptsPUBLISHER TIPS:Discuss special placement opportunities with network repIf expanding into new channel promo types, share plan of action with network rep so they can keep an eye out for advertiser matchesIf your company can provide direction on creative, script or video clip generation, do it! The advertiser is easier to get active if they see that you’re familiar in what’s needed to activate in the new channel. ADVERTISER TIPS:Be an Advocate for internal A/B testing – Creative, landing pagesBe open to new channel promotionsUtilize network rep to find out what’s hot & new
  • Case Study #3 – Co-branded landing pages – 65% increase conversionsSo, I know all of you have been taking notes feverishly on how to win over your advertisers and get them to give you some extra special attention this year. I think it’s evident that at the heart of all of the tactics we discussed today, the ability to have an open dialogue and be creative is the most successful way for an advertiser to increase their valid lead volume from a publisher and for a publisher to increase their commissions earned from an advertiser.
  • Excellent! So before we go to the audience for questions, I wanted to make sure to address an interesting point that you highlighted to me Sylvia; that since we conduct most of our transactions through the internet and on a computer that sometimes we forget we’re in an industry of service. That this mind frame is the backbone to everything we discussed today. Can you expound on that?Sylvia- We are in the industry of service. Advertisers serve both networks and affiliates to help increase revenue and sales. It is the advertiser's job to create and build a transparent relationship with both network(s) and affiliates to identify needs, share industry knowledge, and mentor everyone into success. To ensure a healthy and clear communication you need to follow these strong relationship-building practices:Be Precise & Concise in All Communication: Utilize the Rule of 3:3-Word subject lines3 paragraphs≤ 3 sentences per paragraphDon’t take anything personally! Emails can be misinterpreted or misconstrued as holding emotion that doesn’t exist.Ask questions and clarify!Work hard and do the best you can, always, in all things. If you commit an error, own it, apologize, learn from the mistake, and keep moving forward.“From Failure, you learn. From Success, not so much.” Since, we want to continue to foster open communication, I would like to open the floor for any questions from the audience on any obstacles/successes you may have faced when trying to build your affiliate relationships? Our panelists may be able to provide some helpful hints on how to get past any obstacles.
  • Thank – You! Open it up to audience questions.
  • The Importance of Effective Communication Flow

    1. 1. The Importance of EffectiveCommunication FlowModerator:Rooshina Modi, Senior Manager of Online Marketing, Barnes & NoblePanel Members:Dannielle Brantley, Senior Marketing Manager, LinkShare CorporationSylvia Cintrón, Affiliate and Lead Generation Manager, AREA203 DIGITAL (Twitter @sylviacintron)Stephanie Laughon, Account Executive, (Twitter @stephlaughon)
    3. 3. THE INTRODUCTIONWhat should the Advertiser & Publisher share? Product/Service Details Campaign Expectations & Goals Audience Demo/Psychographic Effective Promotional Methods Creative Requirements Terms & Conditions Commission Model ADVERTISER PUBLISHER NETWORK
    4. 4. THE LAUNCH
    5. 5. THE LAUNCHHow to Get Launched Quickly! Confirm Channel Mix 6C’s Compliant Copy Converting Creative  Tracking Links: Desktop / Pay-Per-Call  Reporting Tools: Multi Channel Tracking, Pixel Placement  Channel Deliverables: Direct Email / Form Host
    7. 7. THE GROWTH PERIODOptimizing the Relationship! TIP: The more the affiliate knows about your product and services the more confident and assertive they will be when promoting. Schedule follow up calls to discuss performance Review pub traffic, trends & audiences: Alexa, Compete, Quantcast Identify challenges and roadblocks the publishers could have Provide trends, business practices, promo content specific to your product/service Listen & Mentor
    8. 8. THE GROWTH PERIODOptimizing the Relationship! TIP: The Publisher must work with the Advertiser and Network to establish a plan for achieving the desired goal. Examples of these: new customer acquisition, brand awareness, social media expansion, new product launch, etc. Schedule follow up calls to discuss performance Review established KPIs with Advertiser and Network Was Initial Goal was achieved? If Not, was another Goal reached? Offer – was it strong enough? Timing – did we hit them at the right time? Targeting – did we target the right audience? Design – was it aesthetically pleasing?
    9. 9. THE GROWTH PERIODOptimizing the Relationship! TIP: Advertisers/Publishers work with your network rep to discuss lead activity feedback and identify best methods of promotion. Stay engaged with your network rep Provide back end conversion data with network with referring publisher code – weekly/monthly/daily Provide information on resource availability (tech, marketing creative, legal) so network rep can manage expectations for campaign optimization changes Share your methods of promotion with network rep. (i.e.. keyword based desktop search, mobile search, banner-text placement, direct email (size of drop)) Competitive Analysis of Advertiser Performance
    10. 10. THE GROWTH PERIODNew advertiser landing page  25% increase in valid orders Status: Mature Advertiser Increase order volume with no increase in CPA Strategy: Network review pub touchpoints Conduct competitive analysis Refresh landing pages & related creative (improved customer flow) Results: In the first 2 weeks, conversion rates  3.68% to 4.22% New landing page also resulted in a 25% increase in lead volume
    11. 11. THE GROWTH PERIODAdvertiser Conversion Metrics  Pay-Per-Call Growth Opps Status: New Channel Launch – Pay-Per-Call Improve Lead Quality Strategy: Advertiser share conversion metrics Network perform outreach based on pub feedback Optimize pubs with positive conversion rates Discovery call to improve low converting pubs Results: Campaign stability Improved lead quality Increase in lead volume
    13. 13. THE CUSTOMIZATIONSTAGENeed Something Unique? TIP: Evaluate your publisher base and identify potential unique partnerships based on new technologies, performance needs & growth potential. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX! CUSTOM TOOLS: Unique Creative / Messaging / Brand Channel Focus – Paid Search (Keywords), Social Media (short copy), Pay-Per-Call (call scripts), etc. Targeted Content Co-Branded Landing Pages Custom Reporting / Tracking
    14. 14. THE CUSTOMIZATIONSTAGENeed Something Unique? TIP: Committed partners increase their opportunity for unique campaigns. LACK OF COMMUNICATION OFTEN LEADS TO MISSED OPPORTUNITY! DISCOVERY QUESTIONS/UPDATES: In addition to banner-text link promotions, what other channels can the offer be promoted through? Social platforms, Blogs, Pay-Per-Call, etc. What’s advertiser’s promotional marketing calendar/seasonality? Inform advertiser/network of publisher promo events/marketing calendar. Get involved with each other’s internal teams (e.g. Social Media, Search)
    15. 15. THE CUSTOMIZATIONSTAGENeed Something Unique? TIP: Advertiser/Publisher inform network of all current and future promo capabilities. Network will highlight an opportunity to customize the relationship and/or form a unique partnership. THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO DRIVE A LEAD  KEEP AN OPEN MIND! THINK FOR NOW & THE FUTURE: Discuss special placement opportunities with network rep If expanding into new channel promo types, share plan of action with network rep  keep an eye out for advertiser matches If you can develop creative, scripts or video clips, DO IT! Be an Advocate for internal A/B testing Utilize network rep to find out what’s hot & new
    16. 16. THE CUSTOMIZATIONSTAGECo-Branded Landing Pages  65%+ Increase Conversion Status: Mature Advertiser Increase Conversions Enhance Customer Experience Increase Sales Revenue Strategy: Select participating publisher(s) Isolate two month period 58% of the days  send pub coupon traffic to regular homepage. On 21 of this 56 day period  same pub traffic sent to custom landing page Results: The increases in 5 key metrics Custom experience outperforms Regular homepage (despite 11 extra days)
    17. 17. We are in the industry ofService!!Be Precise & Concise in All CommunicationsDon’t take anything personally!Utilize the Rule of 3:3-Word subject lines3 paragraphs≤ 3 sentences per paragraphWork hard and do the best you can, always, in all things!
    18. 18. Thank-You!Moderator:Rooshina Modi, Senior Manager of Online Marketing, Barnes & NoblePanel Members:Dannielle Brantley, Senior Marketing Manager, LinkShare CorporationSylvia Cintrón, Affiliate and Lead Generation Manager, AREA203 DIGITAL (Twitter @sylviacintron)Stephanie Laughon, Account Executive, (Twitter @stephlaughon) Questions?