It takes a certain kind of mindset to succeed in a field such as performance marketing. The risk, the swings, the unpredictability all make it quite unique. The success it can offer attracts people from all kind of backgrounds. One of the most interesting, and compatible, backgrounds some successful performance marketers come from is poker.
Whether played professionally or simply as a profitable hobby, both categories had to understand certain things that translate well to performance marketing.
The easiest to notice is that in both performance marketing and poker you have to risk your own capital to try and gain more. At the poker table you buy in, thinking your play will generate more money and in performance marketing, you buy traffic from different sources expecting that you can achieve a high enough conversion rate to be profitable based on the payout of the offer you are running.
The graphic above shows the typical place an affiliate has, for connecting publishers and advertiser. The affiliate’s existence makes sense because of how they are able to solve the complexity of connecting countless publishers to countless offers.
On the same money topic, poker players are somewhat desensitized from money. They view it as a way of keeping score, which means taking risks becomes easier. They don’t have the mindset they are gambling, instead they think they make an investment.
Whether it’s money, CTR, CPM, CV (or VPIP, PFR, 3B for a poker player), stats are there to be used and increase profitability. In order to be a winning poker player in 2016, you must certainly have a better than average grasp of stats. Which is also a key factor in profitable campaigns: reading the data and adjusting it based on what the stats say.
Many performance marketers complain that the industry can be unstable and it’s hard to predict results. And this is what makes many quit. They cannot handle the uncertainty and variance involved in it. In this situation as well, poker players understand the difference between actual results and EV (expected value). Your expected value is only realized in the long run, while daily results can greatly deviate based on factors beyond your control. This means they are able to focus on perfecting the process, rather than get distracted by the short term results.
Finally, they are both two things you can do online and offer you the money and freedom to work from almost anywhere.
Even with all these similarities, there are a few differences that make performance marketing a better choice, and in many cases a natural transition for poker players with bigger ambitions. In performance marketing you can actually build a big and legitimate business. It is also much more people based than poker. Though you can do many things online only, events like Affiliate World Europe are a must to attend for gaining more insights and networking with others in the industry. You generally cannot figure it all out yourself, it’s too complex. You have to connect to others in the industry and work together with them. Poker is different in that you can be all day in your screens and have great success. Performance marketing is certainly not like that!
You can automate and outsource many tasks so that it’s not always a trading your time for the money. With poker you don’t earn if you don’t play, while here you can certainly have things that generate profit without involvement.
Last but not least, it’s a bigger stepping stone, with skills that transfer well to almost any business. Everyone needs marketing, and cheaper, more profitable marketing is something all of the biggest companies in the world will look for.
It’s probably no coincidence that both TT and I have a poker background, and so do some of our partners and friends in the industry. In fact, a poker background seems to be one of the best to have for performance marketing. I know more successful performance marketers that started out in poker than those who studied marketing at University. That shows how a strong mindset offers you a higher chance of success than some theoretical skills acquired in a controlled environment. Real life is anything but a controlled environment, and it is more important to adapt than to have certain qualifications.
Emanuel Cinca, aka Manu
My story starts in Lipova, Romania, a town of about 10,000 inhabitants, where I was born in a working class family. Growing up in a family that had a shaky financial base and relied solely on month to month wages, and sometimes on short term loans from friends, I knew that I a) didn’t want to get a regular job EVER, and b) I want to have true financial independence.
Fast forward to my high school days, I got admitted into the number one high school of Arad county, “Moise Nicoara” National College. Don’t ask me why they call it a college, that’s just the translation from Romanian. I had a passion for technology and computers, so it seemed natural that I wanted to get into the so called informatics class.
The 4 years here taught me that:
1. Where you come from has little to no impact on your ability to learn, your skills and their value
2. Being number one high school is overrated
3. In the standard educational system, you are not allowed to excel at something, until you have proven to be above average at everything else.
4. Grades are an extremely flawed measurement of someone’s skills
5. I know myself better than anyone else, so I should make my decisions, not anyone else, and I should be OK with the consequences.
These learnings will be reflected in some of my posts here.
After high school, I quit University after 2 months in… TWICE! One time I quit Computers and Information Technology, and the second time I quit Business Administration.
During these years I also developed a passion for poker. I was a content producer at the world’s biggest online poker school for 2 years, and I wrote a book with a Maths professor from Nottingham and TT, who also blogs here. The book is called The Education of a Modern Poker Player.
I moved to Vienna in 2013, at TT’s initiative, and had several failed ventures together, all leading up to what is now Adefy.
I have a keen interest in psychology and in data, which makes performance marketing such a great industry for me. I blog about these topics, sometimes adding education, personal development, and management to the mix.
Interested in: Psychology. Marketing. Management. Investing. Startups. Entrepreneurship.
Hobbies: Reading. Fitness. Football. Travelling.
Connect with me:
Latest posts by Emanuel Cinca (see all)
- Meet Stacked Marketer, formerly know as WHAT THE AFF and our 2019 Annual Report - March 8, 2020
- India Affiliate Summit 2019, here I come! - July 27, 2019
- I’m gonna be speaking at Afiliados Brasil – 30th May to 1st June! - April 9, 2019