Divya Patel finds her Voice

Divya Patel has taken a full turn in her career since college. Having obtained a degree in BioChemistry, she’s taken a turn to business. In the beginning it was an adventure, working as a consultant in companies where she was able to gain all sorts of experience. Going through the ‘dot com’ era, struggling through the ‘bomb’ she regained herself and put herself back in the market. What she discovered, is now booming industry. She landed in an online marketing company and started her never ending learning process, and it still hasn’t stopped, and it never will.

Passion drives her, the abundant amount of knowledge, the challenges, and seeing the results.

Divya’s also one of the founding members of Glam Interactive Group. A company which has recently had to revamp its brand, and is getting a facelift as we speak. Glam Interactive is built to be a networking forum for women in the online marketing space, consider it a LinkedIn + MySpace. Recently we have seen more women entering the affiliate space, but not many are finding the confidence to stand up in the male dominated industry. The goal is to help these women network, and eventually build their confidence to go head to head with the men in the industry. This confidence builds over time, and eventually starts to come out naturally. The network started in 2007 with 12 members and now has reached close to 1000 members.

When she’s not negotiating and crunching numbers, she’s counting out reps for ab crunches in the fitness studio. She’s a fitness instructor for Mona Khan Dance Company, banging out Bollywood filled aerobic routines.

Whether as a marketing professional or an instructor, Divya’s always looking to make a difference. Whether it be just a chat, or an intense cardio workout, the end result should be beneficial. This is her story:

Divya,  if you would be so kind, please tell us about yourself and what you are currently doing. Currently, I am working for Unbent Media, an newly developed affiliate network. I am THE Marketing Manager for the company, bringing on new advertisers and affiliates, along with representing our Agency of Record campaigns. The focus on the network is subprime financial, i.e. cash advance, payday loans, installment loans, debit cards, credit cards, etc.

How did you find yourself working in the Affiliate Marketing industry? Many, many years back I was starting a new phase in my life after going through the ‘dot com bomb’ era. I put myself back in school, and started looking for new opportunities where I was able to get my hands dirty. I started interviewing and landed a job in an online marketing agency, like any other during that time, the company focused on Mortgage and was building out Online EDU. Low and behold, I had to start reaching out and learning about the online industry. What had been labeled as ‘online marketing’ is not known as ‘affiliate marketing’.

How have you found this industry to be? Was it what you thought it to be? I didn’t know what to expect from the industry as I had entered it as it was just being born. What the industry has developed itself to be, is nothing I could have imagined. There is a constant flux of ideas, everyone pushes the limits of technology. Many companies have stuck to what works, but there is an ‘out of box’ movement going on. There are companies that are starting to look beyond the norm, and open up the online marketing space.

There are more and more women playing a significant role in this industry, what do you attribute that to and more importantly – do you think that to be the case going forward? For an industry that is very male dominated, women are starting to stand up and prove themselves. I attribute this to  their work ethics, women not only ‘sell’ they ‘do’. We’re multi taskers by nature, managing home and personal lives, children, husbands, and everything in between. The women that are playing a significant role in the industry have had the confidence to stand up and take more prominent roles. Being in the industry for over seven years, I have seen a greater number of women work their way to the top, but still feel there are many looking to find their voice.

Who was or is a major influencer for you? Hands down, Marissa Mayer, VP, Consumer Products @ Google. Her passion, enthusiasm, and dedication can be seen in everything she puts her hand on. Hired as one of the first female engineers at Google, she has quickly become a major influence to the company and to her peers. Now, I can’t compare our industry to Google. We have progressed fast and far beyond expectations years ago, but we have a lot of growth ahead of us. Marissa is a full package deal for Google, someone that I strive to be at a company one day.

What are your favorite must read industry blogs or websites (brownie points if you mention RickyAhuja.com)? Of course I am always on RickyAhuja.com. But I’m also on Adotas, Association of Marketing, LeadCritic, PaydayBrokers, Media Post, etc. Trust me I don’t get bored sitting on the computer, there is always something that I’m reading on.

Where do you see the affiliate marketing industry heading with social media in the next year? Do you think that micro blogging platforms like Twitter, Four Square and FB have the potential to change the entire landscape of presenting information to the public? This is a hard one to answer. Several years ago the affiliate space was just tapping into the search market. Companies like QuinStreet were dominating search within Mortgage. Over the years, many one man companies started emerging and started running search campaigns from their basement offices. Then emerged email marketing, which led to affiliate marketing through other traffic sources. The whole industry had to learn who their customers actually were, what made them ‘tick’ and how could we grab them with a tag line. In a sense, it was all about hitting them emotionally. Now we hit a new mode, social media. With the dominance of Facebook and Twitter we have been thrown a curve ball. It’s not just about the emotions, it’s about what do my friends think, how are they making their decisions. With social it seems to be about the influence and enticement. What’s a good deal, who is recommending who, and how can we get their attention. Customers are not reading the ads, they are reading their friends comments, posts, and opinions. Blogs are great, they have become research tools now. But Facebook and Twitter are moving at a much more rapid pace. In my opinion, this is going to be a challenge for the affiliate industry. We move fast, but can we get any faster? Or is it best to keep to what we’re doing and find a way to use these platforms as resources, and not primary tools?

You are given a free pass to Affiliate Summit, Ad Tech or Leads Con – where do you go and why? At this point in time, where I am career wise, I would go to LeadsCon. For what Unbent is doing across verticals is lead generation. I feel the audience LeadsCon attracts is more in tune with the lead generation side of business and I’m able to walk away from every meeting feeling as it was a success. There’s more forward thinking, and the panels, when we get a chance to sit in, are valuable to what we’re doing now.

If you could pick the brains of anyone – dead or alive, who would it be and why? Obama, why not? What was he thinking and what is he up to? Being such an influential speaker during his race, I want to know what runs through his mind and how, or if, he uses his words to influence decisions now. Trump, he has that ‘it’ factor. Everything he’s gone through, all that he’s doing. I want to know what makes him tick. Martha Stewart. She’s been through a lot and doesn’t cease to stop. Her sheer efforts in self improvement, confident, and still being a respected figure in the industry is utterly amazing.

What advice do you have for my female readers who are looking to get into affiliate or online marketing? Love what you do, whatever it may be.

Rusell Rockefeller

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Ricky Ahujahttp://www.rickyahuja.com
A serial entrepreneur, Ricky Ahuja has been known and well respected for his strong acumen as an online marketer and social media expert. . His previous agency was ranked in the Top 10 on 2012 list of the “Top 10 Networks” and was most recently nominated as a Top 20 Ad Network on Blue Book survey by Revenue Performance. He is now the Director at Nutryst and working closely with John Crestani and Steve Lowry to build the leading Nutra only network.

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