Episode #22 – The Performance Marketing Spotlight with Jordan Carter

About Our Guest

Jordan Carter is a seasoned professional in the performance marketing space, currently serving as the Affiliate Marketing Manager at Shark Ninja. With a career spanning over eight to nine years, Jordan has amassed a wealth of experience and expertise in various facets of performance marketing

Over the years, Jordan’s career trajectory saw him transition through different roles and sectors within the performance marketing landscape. From lead generation to e-commerce, and from brand management to publisher relations, Jordan’s diverse experiences have equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s nuances and intricacies


In this episode of The Performance Marketing Spotlight,  Marshall  sits down with Jordan Carter, affiliate marketing manager at Shark Ninja, to delve into his deep experience in the performance marketing space. Jordan takes the audience through his journey from lead generation and e-commerce to working with DTC brands and publishers. He shares insights into bridging the gap between PR and affiliate marketing and discusses the impactful nature of the performance marketing industry. Jordan’s valuable experiences and strategies provide a comprehensive view of the challenges and successes within the performance marketing space, making this episode a must-listen for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of this dynamic industry.


Marshall Nyman [00:00:03]:
Hello and welcome to the performance marketing Spotlight. I’m your host, Marshall Nyman, founder and CEO of Nymonco. Each episode, I will be bringing you someone with deep experience in the performance marketing space where they will highlight their experiences within the industry. Today I have Jordan Carter, who’s the affiliate marketing manager at Shark Ninja. Welcome to the podcast, Jordan.

Jordan Carter [00:00:25]:
Thanks for having me, Marshall. Good to see you. Of course.

Marshall Nyman [00:00:28]:
Very excited to have you on today. Let’s jump right into it. Would love for you to introduce yourself to the audience.

Jordan Carter [00:00:34]:
Yeah. Hi, everyone. My name is Jordan Carter. I am based in South Florida, sunny South Florida, Delray beach, to be specific. Been in the performance marketing space for eight to nine ish years, depending on how far back you want to look, and very excited to be here and chat with you guys about the space.

Marshall Nyman [00:00:54]:
So what was your very first opportunity in the space? How did you get into it?

Jordan Carter [00:00:58]:
Kind of by accident, honestly. I was a second job out of college. I was a recruiter. Like, I feel like most folks are out of college. And a buddy of mine said, hey, this friend of mine owns this trucking and trade school company, and they’re looking for someone that’s good at building relationships. Are you interested? And learned a little bit about what they were doing. It’s essentially lead generation for trade schools and trucking. Very niche, especially back in 2016.

Jordan Carter [00:01:26]:
And I had to look up what an affiliate was and kind of just keep tabs on how an affiliate operated versus a brand. And as I started to grow and build out that program from the ground up, I started to get really familiar with the nuances of the space, how in demand at that time trade schools and trades were, and ended up growing that from literally nothing to 60,000 plus dollars a month profit. And to this day, still, that network still exists, still doing well, and it’s just kind of snowballed into a love for the performance space.

Marshall Nyman [00:02:03]:
And then in 2018, you made the move to giddy up.

Jordan Carter [00:02:07]:
Yeah, giddy up. Quite a unique transition, just going from lead gen focus to ecom specific. And that really opened my eyes to what folks will refer to as the white hat ecom space. A very unique time when Facebook was the primary traffic driver for traditional media buyers. And for those not familiar with Giddy up, they are network bridging media buyers. And I like to call them like shark tank like products. All those impulse buy, point of sale, cheap but innovative products. Right? So was there for a little while, based in Del Rey beach, kind of what helped solidify the move out here and really again opened my eyes to the power of partnerships and learning the ins and outs of some of those traffic sources that I was pretty unfamiliar with when I was at the lead generation company.

Marshall Nyman [00:03:03]:
And then you made the switch to the brand side. You’re working with Nola, sleep for a bit. Would love to hear about what you were doing there and what they do.

Jordan Carter [00:03:11]:
Yeah, Nola actually recently acquired they are a bed in a box company. So you can imagine 2020, 2021, a great time to be at a d to C brand like that. Especially when people were very healthy stimulus checks, looking for ways to invest in their homes and upgrade their existing sleepwear. Nola’s, I guess claim to fame was they’re the best mattress for side sleepers and so very lean and mean team there originally brought in to be just the affiliate manager, but again, you take on and you wear a lot of hats early on in the first three to four months of a job and ended up just promoting me the head of Biz Dev and was able to really hone in and build out their program, transition them from one basic software to a much larger one, help them really build out a robust program. Again, at that time it was really easy to sell mattresses, whether it was on a CPA or a CPC. It didn’t really matter. It was a good time to be in the space.

Marshall Nyman [00:04:10]:
And then you made the switch over to the publisher side, round out your experience. Would love to hear about that.

Jordan Carter [00:04:17]:
Yeah, I had the opportunity, after some contract work and supporting a few other small time operations to dip my toes into the publisher side at a relatively unheard of, yet pretty decent sized, traffic wise at least. Publisher called Love to know. They have a collection of sites, golf specific. Love to know.com is kind of the primary. It is considerate, like a women’s lifestyle site. And so this was a new venture for them. And it’s funny enough, my manager at giddy up had left to be the CRO at this company. I had kept in contact with him and they were looking to build out the sales team to drive sponsored content campaigns and activations.

Jordan Carter [00:05:01]:
And so I said, why not let me see what the side of the industry is like, get a better understanding for how publishers and affiliates tend to operate. And so it was there for six ish, seven ish months, and in my opinion did quite well for it being brand new and again, relatively unknown. Oftentimes people were referring to us as LTK, as in the influencer subnetwork, and I had to oftentimes correct them that that was definitely not who we were but funny enough, one of the things that tended to happen was to help get a sale or to get a brand to work with us. Just promoting sponsored content was never really enough. I had to almost always leverage some sort of performance based hybrid option, plugging them into existing affiliate content where it was still pretty new for us as well. So never actually left operating under an affiliate mindset. It was more so just how can I be the best salesperson advocate for this brand? Again, understanding they’re not the same as publishers?

Marshall Nyman [00:06:01]:
And then in the summer of 2022, you joined Shark Ninja, where you’re at now. What led you to join there?

Jordan Carter [00:06:07]:
Yeah, the relatively unfamiliar and unheard of Shark ninja. So funny enough, as much as I thought I was doing well, I’d love to know. It was a test. It was an opportunity for them to understand could they sell through their content, their traffic, et cetera. And I ended up getting dissolved in a bit of a restructure and was fortunate enough to bounce back relatively quickly. For anyone going through layoffs or anything like that, it can be a blow to the ego and I can relate. It definitely doesn’t feel good. It feels like it’s you and what can you do and why me? And so for me to bounce back relatively quickly and lend what I’m considering my very first corporate experience, everything else to that point was relatively startup d to C focused.

Jordan Carter [00:06:56]:
It was a great opportunity to step into a large company. Obviously for those that don’t know Shark Ninja, not well known for being one of the same. Shark you think of vacuums, robot vacuums, the works, ninja air fryers, blenders, your typical things. Now more so than ever, Shark is looked at as a beauty product, flex style, the dupe destination for those Dyson folks out there. And then Ninja rapidly expanding into grills and outdoor and everything else, they are one of the same. Originally they were owned by a subsidiary in China and then went public back in the US here in July last year. And since joining with them, I was the first person to really step in, own and inherit that program. And it was kind of handled by several people, hodgepodged together, very low funnel standard affiliate program back when I inherited that in August of 2022.

Jordan Carter [00:07:54]:
And I’ve been spending the majority of my time trying to diversify our reliance on specific publishers partners. We launched a program in Canada, so now I oversee all of North America as far as affiliate is know. It’s very much so a full activation even within all the brands that we support, all the categories that we support. And so it has been a learning experience and each and every day is drastically different. But it’s fun. And obviously as new products launch, we get to see the impact that affiliate and performance can have with those new products.

Marshall Nyman [00:08:32]:
And a quick message from PI Live USA coming to your podcast ears. We want to let you know that tickets are currently on sale and if you don’t already know, PI Live USA is the leading event for those working in the affiliate, influencer and partnership marketing space, and it’s taking place in Miami April 16 to 18th this year. If you’re a retailer, agency, tech platform, affiliate, publisher or creator, PI Live USA is the place for you to connect with like minded individuals, learn from other leaders in the industry, and ignite profitable partnerships. Head to Performancein Live Slash USA to get your ticket and join us at the new home of partnership marketing. And I know I’ll be seeing you there, Jordan, especially since it’s in your.

Jordan Carter [00:09:22]:
Backyard, just a quick drive down the road. I will definitely be there.

Marshall Nyman [00:09:27]:
Amazing. And you’ve also been shortlisted for an award at the US Partnerships award for your work with Bro Bible. Would love to hear a little bit about that and your strategy there.

Jordan Carter [00:09:39]:
Yeah, this was a tactic and a strategy I’ve wanted to test for a long time as a very much so always on opportunity. Within Shark Ninja, we have tm plus partnerships that we rotate between and typically it boils down to your coupon based and cashback based partners for the most part because we have so many new products launching all the time. The focus for me is again taking that very full funnel approach. And so I got introduced to bro Bible when we were with a different agency at the time and hit it off with the folks on their team and they relyed on testing out the strategy where they were open to being our tm plus partner for Ninja, specifically for Q three last year. And it’s something that I don’t believe has ever been done before, and if it has, it’s not been talked about because it probably wasn’t successful and I wanted to channel and champion that. And we took a very unique approach where there was a little bit of an upfront investment to really just get an understanding of the media budget and spend driving to a lot of these lower funnel keywords like coupon and code, et cetera, your typical tm plus search terms. And then in conjunction with that, there were some deliverables that we agreed upon that would help from a content perspective. And so q three for Shrek Ninja is new product launch season and so they were right in the thick of that with, we had a pizza oven that had went live and some additional products for ninja that we needed to make a splash with.

Jordan Carter [00:11:11]:
And so I leveraged this partnership to get existing reviews to get product roundups. A lot of their content also was around best ninja codes for July or August, and their tactics and their media buyer was dedicated to optimizing those campaigns and ensuring that those pages were active, were being found on page one or whatever those searches were. And there was a reinvestment strategy from a commission standpoint, very much so, like an in the weeds campaign. And for us to come out of that with nearly a two to one row, as for something, again that’s never been tested and provided the deliverables from a content perspective that I was looking for was incredible. Really enjoyed the weekly optimizations with that team, understanding the ins and outs of what they were experiencing, how it related to what we were seeing. And then one of the cooler things that I think they did is for anyone looking to work with Brew Wyble, these guys are the best. Definitely recommend giving them a chance to show you what they’re made of. They actually included a navigation option on their main nav on the site and so they ended up putting the word feast at the top, very on brand with bro Bible and that linked direct to Ninja’s homepage.

Jordan Carter [00:12:26]:
So even if it wasn’t part of our campaign, people were still able to find their way to us for a good portion of time and very, very pleased with how that campaign came out. So, yeah, we’re shortlisted for, I think it was full funnel strategy and then cross channel strategy. So excited to see how that shakes out next month.

Marshall Nyman [00:12:42]:
Congrats on being shortlisted. Definitely best of luck. Keep our eyes out. And I also saw that you’re going to be a speaker at PI Live and you’re going to be talking on from opposites to allies, bridging, affiliate marketing and digital pr strategies. Would love to hear what we could expect to take away from your conversation.

Jordan Carter [00:13:02]:
Yeah, definitely excited to speak again. This is my second is. This is a topic that I’m very keen on. Just knowing that, again, being at Shark Ninja, where we obviously have our own PR agency, working with them very closely, not really a growing relationship in the beginning and now very much so in sync with how we go to market with new products and best of lists in the works. So a lot of what I’m going to be speaking about is how to work in parallel and in lockstep with either PR agency or how you have PR based conversations that still tie into performance, ensuring that affiliate is at some point a component of those conversations. We’ve had some really good success at Shark Ninja, regardless of what brand we are or who we are. Ultimately, you have to have a good working relationship with that team. And so again, from opposites to allies, figuring out how you can be the best partner to your partner in crime on the PR side.

Jordan Carter [00:14:03]:
So should be a fun conversation and panel in Miami.

Marshall Nyman [00:14:09]:
Looking forward to it. What is Shark Ninja currently doing to maybe bridge the gap between PR and affiliate?

Jordan Carter [00:14:14]:
Yeah, so one of the tactics, and I’ll get into more detail on it, is I’ve taken a unique approach with how we go to market with a new product and we’ll leverage our points of contact specifically at some of these publications that are in the business of monetizing that content. And we’ll try and seed product the same way that PR would ahead of schedule to ensure that day one launch. We have hopefully a piece of review content live or multiple pieces of review content live, and we work very closely with them to ensure we’re not stepping on toes again. For the most part, those conversations that they’re having are with writers, editors, testers, whereas I’m speaking primarily with commerce managers and affiliate managers within those publishers. So different points of contact at the end of the day, just trying to close the loop to ensure that we’re at least top of mind or in consideration for a review or an upcoming piece of content that’s coming out or a best of list or guide, and continuing to close the loop even after six, eight months down the line, after products launched and those products have been seeded from PR, we’ll take the onus of circling back with our points of contact, seeing that someone on their team has received that product and figuring out has this had content written about it? If not, why can we revisit that? And really, again, just trying to close the loop and ensure that we see this as a win from both the PR and the affiliate side.

Marshall Nyman [00:15:36]:
Well, we want to learn more about that. Definitely stop by his talk at PI Live. So, shifting the conversation a little bit, what do you see as some of the biggest challenges brands are facing in the performance marketing space today?

Jordan Carter [00:15:49]:
I’m sure every brand is going to be different based off of where they’re at in their program or with the progression. But for us, one thing we’re struggling with is continuing to get true attribution around channel specific numbers, as well as how we’re impacting the rest of our marketing efforts. And the shift to Ga four has been unique. I think everyone talks about what is that one source of truth? I know for myself I can really only see what I see in platform like most of us can. Right. So really trying to hone in on what is that one source of truth? Is Ga four going to be a temporary solution? Is it going to be a solution at all? And then I think at the end of the day, ensuring that the rest of the team is bought in. Right? I mean, we all advocate for our channels, we all advocate for our efforts, but it’s got to be a company wide, a team wide investment in ensuring that you’re optimizing around the correct things. And so we’re going to continuously be pushing back and trying to combat what that’s going to throw at us from attribution and underreporting and whatnot, and just hopefully get a better optimization process around that collectively because it’s a constant work in progress.

Marshall Nyman [00:17:05]:
And final question, what has been your favorite part of working in the performance marketing industry?

Jordan Carter [00:17:11]:
I’m not going to say the people, because everyone should know the people are amazing. And if you’re not in this industry, you need to be, because it’s a great place to be. But for myself, I really love the impact that you can have by being a performance space. You get to see from day one and understand, like if you make this connection or you have this conversation or you implement XYZ, it has a true impact on what you’re doing. And regardless of a product you’re using or how it helps someone or what the purpose of it is, you are able to be the owner of your channel and truly shine. And so for myself, knowing that this is an efficient channel is not one thing, but knowing that it’s an impactful channel has been easily my favorite part of being in the industry for the last eight or nine years.

Marshall Nyman [00:17:55]:
Amazing. Well, a big thank you to Jordan from Shark Ninja for joining the podcast this week. Some really great insights into his background. What is the best way for listeners to connect with you?

Jordan Carter [00:18:08]:
Yeah, happy to connect with anyone that has questions around what we’re doing here at Shark Ninja or just wants to connect. LinkedIn is easily the best place to do so. As Marshall would say, I have two first names, so I’m pretty easy to find. Just LinkedIn. Jordan Carter. Happy to connect with you and have a conversation. And again, hopefully we’ll see you at and you know, feel free to come up and say hi and we can chat. Definitely open to meeting anyone and everyone in the space.

Marshall Nyman [00:18:34]:
Yes, looking forward to seeing everybody at PI live. Again, thank you to Jordan Carter, our guest today, and thank you to our producer, Leon Sonken. If you’ve enjoyed this content, please give us a like and follow. Thank you for joining. I am Marshall Nyman, host of the performance marketing spotlight and founder and CEO of Nymonco, signing off. Thank you and have a great day.