An Interview with Kate Morris of MarketingDemons.com
Posted on February 24, 2010 by Tim Schroeder
Kate Morris is a search marketing guru who I met at SXSW last year. Our unofficial tour guide in Austin, Kate has organized some great search and affiliate marketing meetups and discussions both locally and on panels at several trade shows including Affiliate Summit. Kate also co-founded Marketing Demons, a search and social marketing agency.
An Interview With Kate Morris
How did you get started in the industry?
I got started in the search marketing industry when I was in school at The University of Texas. The internship I was at had a client that wanted to do PPC ads, so they put me on it. The rest is history.
What was your biggest learning experience to date?
The greatest learning experience has been at 360training where I was in charge of a team of 5 people, mostly developers in Pakistan. Most were men, most older than me. I learned a lot, and grew a lot as a person. It also helped professionally because we had 30+ websites to run, ad campaigns for 6 divisions, and the search optimization for them all. It was hectic but I got a lot of experience there.
What was your biggest success to date?
My first real site optimization on my own, I was working in-house as a marketing manager doing everything from online stuff to designing ads for magazine placements. After a few months, we ranked on the first page for the most general term for the industry. Very hard to do. I could barely believe it.
How did you learn the business (eBooks? Webinars? Membership sites? Freebies? Paid services?)?
I learned from reading and from mentors. One is Brian Combs, I call him my Yoda. He taught me a lot from the start. But sites like WebmasterWorld and SEOmoz will always be in my heart because it’s because of them that I learned the basics.
What do you think is the true value to consumers in affiliate marketing?
The value to consumers lies in the fact that they can learn about products when doing something related. Reading, researching, or just being entertained. Affiliate marketing gives companies a way to be a part of people’s online lives.
Do you think sponsored conversations have their place in the industry?
There is a very fine line there. I think they do have a place but need to stay in check. Just because someone sends me a product sample does not mean I am indebted to write a glowing review. But sometimes it’s needed to get your product name out there. Basically, if you do it or ask people to do it, just keep your morals in check.
Besides yourself, who do you think is the most valuable resource to the affiliate community?
I am not sure that I am a «most valuable resource», but I think one of the best resources is Scott Polk. He is who got me interested in affiliate marketing, and has been a champion of the industry for a long time. He really understands the need to build relationships and how to connect the right people.
How do you balance professional v. personal?
This is hard considering the fact that I work from home and am finishing up my MBA right now. It’s probably my outside obligations and my goal to have a work life balance from the beginning that has kept me from working too hard. It also helps that the two merge a lot. I never thought I would be the person whos work was their life, but my work really is a part of me. So I enjoy what I do, it’s not really «work».
How often did you check your stats….1 month in? 1 year in? Today?
Stats are checked weekly.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
I have no idea. I hear Julia Stiles and I have the same mannerisms, but I don’t see the likeness. I really don’t know.
OK, now who would REALLY play you?
Haha … you tell me!!
Is where you are now where you thought you’d be…10 years ago? 5 years ago? A month ago? Why/ why not?
10 years ago I didn’t know this part of the world existed. So no. 5 years ago, I was still figuring out if being online is where I needed to be. So not then either. A month ago, yes. These past few months have just flown by.
Explain affiliate marketing so a child would understand it.
My first answer was: Utilizing a person’s passion, expressed on the web, to get information out to others. And because that information crosses paths with some companies and their products, opening some of that space to advertising the products that match with the sites content.
There is no way a kid would get that. So … placing ads on my website for things that people are interested in.
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