Kate Garber, COO at 4King Media, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
With affiliates on both fiat and crypto, Kate Garber and the 20-strong team at 4King Media ensure that they're abreast with technological advancements - follow her story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
We have been in the Affiliate Management business for 15+ years and have obtained a wealth of experience and a very strong network of Affiliates. We saw a gap in the market that there is an essential need for our service in start-up casinos, that don’t yet have an established affiliate program…so, 4King was born.
IGaming, Crypto, Trading and development are our verticals.
How did you first get into the affiliate space? And, were you always focused on the Gaming space?
I got into the affiliate space beginning 2005 when offered a position at a top iGaming company in Johannesburg, instantly fell in love with the industry, the high energy, ever changing, cutthroat lifestyle, and the fantastic people it brought into my life from all over the world.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
We have a 20 strong team that cover all aspects of iGaming and Affiliate Management. Skills include Affiliate Acquisition Management, Retention Management, Streaming, Social and Content Writing.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
Most important is that operators have a dedicated team that is always available and are responsive to queries in a timely manner. It is always good to have a team that will go the extra mile in order to assist where they can.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Affiliates should work closely with brands to see what they are successful with and implement complimentary support.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
Most importantly we have affiliates on both fiat and crypto as well as most game verticals including poker, slots, Esports and crash games.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
4King is our passion and we have been very disciplined with our growth preventing the need to any outside investors. We have been asked if we are interested to sell but we will take this all the way with the team!
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
The following skills are vital to have in your affiliate team, communication skills, organisational skills, and finally negotiation skills. In terms of qualities and defining in my opinion what makes a great Manager, you need to be able to take initiative, work independently and be detail orientated. Pro-activeness is key, stay on trend, what out for your customer support, an affiliates best interests need to ALWAYS be your top priority. One also needs to be able to remain focused while still being able to multitask at the same time as well as develop great interpersonal skills and relationship management.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
We are super-efficient, available (working with clients around the globe), creative and honest. We are totally transparent so the client sees everything.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
We jumped to the “work from home” model back in 2003 and have never gone back. Technology plays an extremely important part in one’s day-to-day work; in fact, it is vital as we operate 100% online. It is also imperative that one keeps abreast with technological advancements within the industry to be able to keep up with gaming trends and casino operating systems, such as blockchain technology and crypto gaming/currencies.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
BOTH! You need to stay up to date or fall behind, we’ve seen that.
Is the grass greener on the other side - have you considered going down the operator route?
Working really close with operators we know both sides really well but we enjoy the affiliate side more.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority in 2020, and why?
The Asian market, India, and the African markets are interesting markets to keep an eye on. These are emerging markets in the industry with the biggest potential at the moment, as most other regions have been saturated resulting in a highly competitive market.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
They do tend to cause a hindrance when trying to reach the full potential of getting your client’s brand out to as many markets as possible, thus resulting in fewer amounts of traffic from desirable GEO targets that brands would have liked to attain.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
Very fast and very exciting.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
While both a blessing and a curse, I would have to say the ever-changing legislation and keeping abreast of industry news – things change and grow so rapidly, and while it’s exciting and keeps us on our toes it’s also challenging to have to stay on top of and not miss any minor details and changes that could otherwise be overlooked
What are the main challenges for the sector in 2020?
The biggest challenges currently will be the conferences as well as the effect Covid has had on sports in particular. With all the restrictions in place at the moment, it will take a while to get back to normal. Even though there have been online conferences, these cannot live up to the face to face interactions that come with the usual conferences.
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
We will definitely move more to mobile gaming and a lot of new types of games. Esports is going to BOOM!
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
Each operator comes with it its own team, a new relationship/ and or friendship grows and is nurtured over time, It all boils down to those essential organisational and multitasking skills, making sure to document who you are talking to and constantly “checking in” per se.
What we remained focused on is transparency, openness, and reliability, I would like to think based upon feedback we get is that our clients appreciate our productivity, teamwork, support, and hopefully our delivery.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
We find it extremely important to attend these events, and do so as much as we are able to because with the nature of our business (being mainly online) it is devoid of those interpersonal engagements as one would in a normal office environment. So it is always fantastic to actually meet and greet who you have been dealing with in-person that strengths relationships even further. It also provides the opportunity to meet new affiliates, operators and acquiring new business contacts.
In terms of what can be done better, perhaps use different colours on name tags to clearly distinguish who are affiliates, operators and B2B’s clearly defining the right people to be speaking to can be a challenge.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
Not yet, but Malta is on my radar
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies!
Well I started out as an Affiliate Manager, and realised very soon after I began that I have quite literally landed my dream job, I relished the friendships made, and the wealth of knowledge I learned from every single person I met. I loved the technology and watching it advance and grow over the years. I have always been the kind of person that loves a challenge, and boy did I find the perfect career for myself, every single day has been a challenge, having to keep up with industry trend, growing with the times, bringing the best service to our partners and ensuring they remain at the forefront of the affiliate marketing industry at all times. Building a brand for myself based on my knowledge and passion for affiliates and affiliate based marketing.
When I met Tzvi Shishler in 2012, and merged our companies to form 4King Media, it was the beginning of a powerful and exciting journey, we have grown more than we had ever imagined, and the support, both for each other and from our team, operating partners, and the industry as a whole, has been overwhelming, we have been truly blessed.
What’s on your must-read list right now?
Well since starting lockdown I began two books, which embarrassingly I am still trying to finish, "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, and "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown
Which quote do you live your life by
Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means you are standing alone.