Women in Affiliate Marketing

Rebecca Felker

A couple years back, an article that claimed “precisely zero” women work in the affiliate marketing industry hit the internet, upsetting many female powerhouses who play a large role in the space to this day. Although the article was unfounded and written off of very little research, it brought to light that some people perceive affiliate marketing as an exclusively-male profession. Why? The reasons vary. Some believe that women stray due to the nature of industry-related events, such as a network luncheons taking place at a gentlemen’s club. Others speculate that women avoid technology-related occupations and, therefore, don’t take interest in the tech-oriented environment of performance marketing.

Fortunately, cold hard facts debunk the perceptions people have about women in this space. For starters, women dominate the US labor force, holding more than 51% of all professional occupations and filling roughly 49% of marketing-related occupations. In the affiliate marketing realm, they hold over a third of the positions open to advertising professionals. Furthermore, women make up almost a third of tech-related occupations in the US. When comparing these statistics to numbers over the past decade and placing them up against their male counterparts, it reveals that not only is the number of female employees in the workplace growing steadily, but the female presence has increased proportionately across male-dominated fields as women are slowing taking over jobs traditionally held by men.

Considering the numbers, people who speculate that women avoid affiliate marketing positions simply don’t know the facts. Beyond statistics, however, they also overlook something women bring to the space that their male peers may disregard. Biologically speaking, men focus on facts, numbers and the hierarchical structure of business. Women, however, are more likely to concentrate on experiences, relationships and the broader picture of a business opportunity. This quality is exceptionally useful in performance marketing, where sales are largely driven by consumer appeal. If an advertiser can perceive and fill the underlying needs of their consumer, the numbers will follow. That’s not to say men are incapable of having the same effect or of contributing in the same ways a woman can; it merely points out that women are just as capable of being successful in the affiliate world as men, even if their initial approach is entirely different.

Fortunately, women working in affiliate marketing have received more recognition since the ill-advised article went live. Bloggers took to the internet in favor of female affiliate managers making big moves. The largest tradeshow in the industry hosted a speaking panel event during which four knowledgeable and credible women spoke about their satisfaction with their careers, their ability to move ahead despite their gender and the obvious reality that women have a place on all sides of an affiliate company, tech-related or not. Not surprisingly, the female presence continues to grow and mold the future of performance-based marketing. The best advice to women trying to break into affiliate marketing so far? Don’t make business partnerships and opportunities relevant to being male or female and gender roles won’t play a part in your success.


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