Episode #29 – The Performance Marketing Spotlight with Kristine Ritchie

About Our Guest

Kristine Ritchie is the Senior Managing Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Dealmoon, overseeing both the U.S. and Australian markets. With over two decades of experience in the performance marketing industry, Kristine has been instrumental in driving Dealmoon’s growth and fostering deep, strategic partnerships.

Kristine began her career in the early 2000s, starting in magazine circulation before transitioning to affiliate marketing at Spree.com. There, she honed her skills in managing affiliate programs and building relationships within the industry. Her journey continued at PartnerCentric, where she specialized in managing multi-brand conglomerates and developed a deep understanding of the affiliate marketing landscape.

In 2016, Kristine joined Dealmoon, drawn by the platform’s unique community-focused approach and real-time feedback loop. At Dealmoon, she initially managed the fashion vertical, optimizing merchant relationships and creating long-term strategies that aligned with the evolving needs of the community. Over the years, she expanded her role to oversee various verticals and the entire U.S. team, and more recently, the Australian market.

Kristine’s passion lies in the authentic connections and innovative solutions that performance marketing can offer. Her ability to adapt and continuously enhance strategies has made her a key player in Dealmoon’s success. Kristine is also a dedicated advocate for maintaining deep, transparent relationships with partners, ensuring mutual growth and success.

A proud Philadelphia native and lifelong East Coaster, Kristine currently resides in New Jersey. She is a fervent Eagles fan and enjoys the dynamic and ever-evolving challenges of the performance marketing industry. Outside of work, she is excited to see her daughter follow in her marketing footsteps, currently studying at LSU.

Kristine can be reached at placements@dealmoon.com, and she encourages anyone interested in working with Dealmoon to mention the podcast for a fast-tracked response.

Summary

In today’s episode, we’re thrilled to have Kristine Ritchie, Senior Managing Director of Business Development and Partnerships for the US and Australia markets, join us. Kristine, also known as Chris, has been with Deal Moon for eight years and brings a wealth of knowledge from her extensive career in the performance marketing space. We’ll dive deep into her journey from the early 2000s to now, exploring her roles, challenges, and the dynamic nature of affiliate marketing.

We’ll talk about her fascinating transition from working at an agency to joining Deal Moon, the largest Chinese expat community in the world. She shares the intricacies of building authentic relationships with communities and brands, and the importance of adaptability in marketing strategies.

Stay tuned as we uncover Kristine’s favorite experiences, biggest challenges, and why she believes that relationships are at the heart of performance marketing. You won’t want to miss this insightful conversation!

So, without further ado, let’s welcome Kristine Ritchie to the Performance Marketing Spotlight!

Transcript

Marshall Nyman [00:00:02]:
Hello and welcome to the performance marketing Spotlight. I’m your host, Marshall Niman, founder and CEO of Nymonco. Each episode, I bring you someone with deep experience in the performance marketing space, where they highlight their experiences within the industry. Today I have Kristine Ritchie, who is senior managing director, business development and partnerships for both us and Australia markets. Welcome to the podcast, Kristine.

Kristine Ritchie [00:00:25]:
Hey, Marshall, thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate you asking me to join.

Marshall Nyman [00:00:30]:
Of course. Super excited to have you on today. We go back a long time, so let’s get. Can you introduce yourself to the audience, please?

Kristine Ritchie [00:00:37]:
Absolutely. So my name is Chris. As Marshall mentioned, everybody calls me Chris, even though my name is Kristine. And so I’ve been at Dealman for about eight years. You know, started out, like, manage as a director and moved on into for a couple of rounds in the role that I have now. I’m based in New Jersey, but I grew up in Philly, so I am a big Eagles fan. Go Eagles. And I’ve lived on the east coast for my whole life.

Marshall Nyman [00:01:12]:
And how did you get your start in the performance marketing space?

Kristine Ritchie [00:01:15]:
So that’s. I’ve gone through a lot of years. I’ve actually been in the industry for a long, long, long time, since the early two thousands, so kind of like a dinosaur in that respect. But luckily, like, I started out in. At a, like a circulation company, magazine circulation. And then because affiliate marketing and e commerce at the time were just booming, I was able to get into this company called Spree.com, which is actually coincidentally, where I met, like, Kathleen Lindsey and some of, like, the industry ogs from back in the day. And so, you know, first started out there slinging beanie babies, and then, you know, moved on into other things. And so I had.

Kristine Ritchie [00:02:08]:
There was another company called PTrust where I started to actually manage their affiliate program and go into, like, recruiting publishers, like, meeting up with other affiliate managers. But this was early on, like, in New York City, New Jersey area, where we would just kind of get together and be like, well, you know, how do we do this? Like, what do we do with this new channel? So super exciting to see where it started out and then where it is now. But for all these years, it’s always been all about the relationships, speaking to people, getting to know them, like rolling your sleeves up and understanding the needs of each side and then figuring out either what to do from there. So that’s kind of like where I got my start. It was a long time ago, but I feel like the basis of what I’m doing now. And what was happening back then is underlying still the same.

Marshall Nyman [00:03:14]:
And then you’re one of the first employees at partner centric. Would love to hear about your time there.

Kristine Ritchie [00:03:18]:
Partner centric? Yeah, I mean, like, that was my first true OPM. We don’t even call it OPM anymore, like affiliate agency, focused on affiliate marketing. And so, you know, prior to that, I was at a full service digital agency. And then when I moved in, it was really a great chance to roll my sleeves up just in affiliate, just this channel that I love. And so, you know, there it was really a lot of fun. I actually specialized because of the agency that I was at before that. I managed a lot of these, like, huge multi brand conglomerates. And so I did the same thing when I went over to partner centric.

Kristine Ritchie [00:04:08]:
And so I was managing a lot of their agent, their relationships with Amazon and brands that were very multifaceted. And it was a lot of fun getting to know the publishers on a very, very deep level because prior to that, I only had, like, surface level experience, experience with the publishers because I didn’t, wasn’t managing the programs directly because I was, you know, a program manager for all of the digital marketing initiatives that the client was doing. So here, you know, I was at partner centric, you know, like basically quarterbacking everything that the entire program was doing. So that was a lot of fun. And that’s kind of where I started to know deal Moon really, really well.

Marshall Nyman [00:04:56]:
And then in 2016, you did join Dealmoon. What made you want to make the switch from agency to publisher?

Kristine Ritchie [00:05:01]:
I did. And so Deal Moon was one of the publishers that I loved most in the space. I just felt like because I had a digital media background, it was really very interesting to me the way that Deal Moon was a community. I was always buying media and trying to find the right demographic, demographic of people to put my clients in front of, and then basically setting up a campaign and not necessarily knowing whether or not it was going to work, really having no idea with spending these media dollars. But then when I got to know Dilmoon, I was really impressed because it’s a community of chinese expats, and there’s a feedback loop with this community where everything that we’re putting out in front of the community, it’s coming back immediately. We know exactly what our users are thinking immediately after a campaign is published. And that’s something that I had never experienced before. Having this media background and doing so many tests, that was really important and exciting for me to be able to find this type of destination that you could get this feedback on a real time basis, but then having this destination of people be massive, like millions and millions of people that, you know, basically you could do these test and learn campaigns really easily and then also before even going into a campaign, like having historical information about the thoughts and the feelings of the community.

Kristine Ritchie [00:06:48]:
So that way you’re even farther along in that research process if a campaign is going to do well or not. So that was the ultimate reason that I came over to this team and the fact that the team there at the time, Jennifer Wang, was one of the founders of the company, and then Nathan Fenster, who I had been friends with because of my time at partner centric, you know, just, you know, it was a no brainer for anyone who.

Marshall Nyman [00:07:22]:
Is not familiar with Deal Moon. Can you tell us who they are and what they do?

Kristine Ritchie [00:07:25]:
Absolutely. So we are the number one chinese expat community in the world. So we have seven regions. Us is our largest. We have Canada, UK, Australia, France and Germany. And then we also have a contingent of people on mainland China that we can ip target. So expat community means that they were born in China and then they went to their adopted country for school and then ended up staying there. So we have this really familial connection with this community because they’re only, they’re coming to us, of course, for shopping advice.

Kristine Ritchie [00:08:07]:
That’s at the core of who we are. But then also just for advice on life, like how to set up in the new country, like how to get a bank account, set up a bank account, buy a car, get a mortgage, you know, what’s popular in my area. So, you know, these are like the reasons why our community comes to our site over and over again.

Marshall Nyman [00:08:32]:
Super authentic. You’ve been there now for eight years in several different roles. Tell us about the different roles you’ve had and what you’re currently focused on now.

Kristine Ritchie [00:08:40]:
Yep. So I actually came in and started with managing accounts, and so I was brought into to manage the fashion vertical. And that meant just working with merchants, making sure that we’re optimizing their relationships, really diving deep in and covering what the opportunities are that are above and beyond what they could do in a traditional affiliate relationship. So it’s not just about locking in the CPA or getting the flat fee. You know, for us, everything at Dale Moon is how are we going to make this relationship into a long term relationship, something that our community is going to love not only now, but for years to come, and then allow that relationship to evolve as both businesses evolve. And so at the core of it, that’s what I started out doing and then just took on more responsibility and, you know, started managing the other verticals. And then ultimately the US team across not only fashion, but we also are strong in beauty, health, babies and kids, tech, finance, basically, you know, every aspect of someone’s. Someone’s life, you know, we have, we have content to support.

Kristine Ritchie [00:10:09]:
And so also managing the australian team now. So that’s been, that’s been different since the beginning of last year and a lot of fun.

Marshall Nyman [00:10:20]:
Remember when you got started in fashion and I was one of the brands you’re working closely with on juicy couture?

Kristine Ritchie [00:10:24]:
And how did I forget?

Marshall Nyman [00:10:27]:
Long time since that.

Kristine Ritchie [00:10:28]:
Yes, absolutely. Yeah, that was, that was awesome. And you helped us do a lot of out of the box campaigns. I remember doing an at branded event where we put juicy in front of our community and allowed them to either comment on why they love juicy couture and post their own fits. And that was eight years ago. And so, you know, that was so, so great to be able to execute that campaign with you. And we got, you know, like a ton of positive response. Funnily enough, GC is back now.

Marshall Nyman [00:11:02]:
That’s what they were saying eight years ago.

Kristine Ritchie [00:11:04]:
Yes. Well, I don’t know. My kids are all over it. That’s what they were asking for Christmas. I’m like, really? Wow, that’s amazing. Bring it. The nineties are back.

Marshall Nyman [00:11:16]:
DL Moon was always one of our top publishers in that program. So what are some things brands or agencies should take into consideration when introducing a brand to your team?

Kristine Ritchie [00:11:27]:
So we, so we, as I mentioned, we are very particular when it comes to, I guess it would be a bit more discerning and it’s just for the safety and the protection of the community and the brand as well. You know, the last thing that we would want to do is onboard somebody that’s not a good fit and then have our communities slander them for one reason or another. And so we actually have an integration process where we vet new merchants coming onto that platform. It’s about four to six weeks long because of the queue of requests that we have coming in on an ongoing basis. But then our editorial team takes a look and see, takes a look at site traffic, chinese social media. So they’re looking at, like, Weibo Wechat Xiaohongshu, which is also known as little red book, and then our own community, social community called Deal Moon moments on the platform to figure out and get a sense of, like, how that brand could perform on the platform. And once that review was over, we then assign them a rating, and then some recommendations will come along with that as far as positioning goes within the industry. So then that way, that particular brand we know going into it, you know, what their competitive landscape looks like and what they’ll need to do to be able to compete, not only against their direct competitors, but also against their own wholesale partners, and also just everything that’s happening out there in the industry as a whole.

Marshall Nyman [00:13:15]:
What has been your favorite part of working at Dealmoon?

Kristine Ritchie [00:13:18]:
I really, really love that community aspect, that feedback loop. I love that we’re able to help merchants regardless of what they’re looking to do. Merchants are always changing their strategy year over year. Sometimes it’s not revenue only. Sometimes it’s really driving new to file customers. You know, sometimes it’s like either just acquisition, traffic acquisition. So whatever the KPI is, as long as we’re having a discussion and open conversation is transparency about what each side needs to achieve, then we are typically, nine times out of ten, able to put together some creative solutions, achieve the goals of both sides. And so I love that we’re able to do this time and time and time again and overcome.

Kristine Ritchie [00:14:25]:
I always also love the depth of the relationships that we have with our partners. I mean, a lot of them. I mean, Dillman has been around for 15 years, and so some of those merchants have been with us since day one. And so, you know, like, when you have that situation, you can’t continue to execute the same game plan every single year, every single month. You’re constantly have to change. You’re constantly having to raise the game. And again, that goes back to transparency and communication and understanding what each side wants to do. And so I think that that’s actually just, like, the benefit and the gift that we have as performance marketers is if you can develop these deep relationships with the merchants and have that open line of communication, you know, the world is our oyster.

Marshall Nyman [00:15:18]:
The industry has seen a lot of change since you started at deal moon. What has it been like to see it grow as a publisher?

Kristine Ritchie [00:15:24]:
Yeah, I mean, that’s been interesting. It’s been, yeah. Like, from, you know, just deals in coupons to, like, a very, very focused on content now. Right. And so, but I think that that’s great because, you know, as, you know, as a consumer, I do feel that if there is a message that’s out there that’s constantly focused on discounting or pricing, then, you know, that message gets stale. And especially when we’re living in a world where, like, sustainability isn’t. Is an issue, you know, there’s environmental impact to, you know, you know, not. Not reusing and recycling that this situation, you know, kind of, like, all ties into, like, the positioning and messaging that that merchants will have.

Kristine Ritchie [00:16:17]:
And so I do think that, like, the content and the education of, like, the different reasons why consumers should buy is really important. And that inspiration, you know, comes to a place of authenticity for, you know, from. From the person that’s, like, speaking that voice. And so I do think that we have a, like, a responsibility as marketers to keep that. To keep that in mind, to make sure that, you know, we understand what our community is looking for and that do only, we do keep a post on that to figure out exactly, you know, what it is that our community is looking for and making sure that our messaging is always in line with that offering.

Marshall Nyman [00:17:15]:
Season is in full swing. I see that you’ll be attending optimism coming up in a few weeks. And also, DL Moon was up for two awards at Golden Link Advertiser and publisher collaboration with Lemaire and Dil Moon. And I also see that you’re up for publisher team of the year. So congrats on that and looking forward to seeing you there.

Kristine Ritchie [00:17:38]:
Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. We’re so excited and looking forward to seeing you in person.

Marshall Nyman [00:17:45]:
Yeah, of course. I think the conferences are a big piece of what we do. It’s almost the heart of everything. If networking is such a big piece of the industry, you got to get out there and see people.

Kristine Ritchie [00:17:55]:
Yeah, absolutely. And I feel like there’s nothing like an in person meeting, you know, just that collaboration, camaraderie, laughing together, having fun together, you know, nothing. Nothing beats that, you know, that connection. So, yeah, excited. It should be a great conference. Sunny California. Can’t beat it.

Marshall Nyman [00:18:16]:
Right in my backyard. Can’t complain. What are some of the biggest challenges faced working as a publisher in the performance marketing industry?

Kristine Ritchie [00:18:25]:
You know, I feel like that there are a lot of challenges, I mean, for us, as deal moon, like, having deal in the name is always a challenge for us, unfortunately. And that’s something that goes back to, you know, when we first started is, you know, it’s a shame that that was included in the name, but, like, as a. Like, you know, it is what it is. But, you know, that. That hurdle to get over has been. Has been difficult for us. But, you know, once people understand, you know, that we’re actually, you know, we’re bringing a chinese expat community to their doorstep. And strategically are able to consult the ways to reach this amazing, extremely savvy, extremely discerning community.

Kristine Ritchie [00:19:17]:
You know, then that it becomes a nonissue. But that definitely is a challenge for us. And I do think that the industry at large also has that challenge. Right. Because, you know, we have always been, you know, known as, you know, like not. Not necessarily as a performance or a partner marketing channel, but, you know, because the roots of the industry came in from, like, coupon sites and, you know, this, this type of approach, they, you know, like, we’ve always kind of, like, had that hanging overhead. Is that like a channel that’s. That’s, like, not.

Kristine Ritchie [00:20:02]:
Not authentic, not the kind of, like, channel that partners wants to work with. So I think once people get over that hurdle, it’s the same type of thing with the challenges that we face as a company. You know, they just keep on wanting more, and so, and they want to continue to want more. And so I think, unfortunately, that’s something that we’re going to continue to face. But luckily, we have tons and tons of data that we could showcase to the merchant partners and continue to build the reputation for our channel and for our company.

Marshall Nyman [00:20:44]:
And final question, what has been your favorite part of working in the performance marketing industry?

Kristine Ritchie [00:20:50]:
I think we touched on this a little bit before, but it’s got to be the relationships. I know that you also love coming to work every day, as do I. But, you know, when we’re at the conferences or meeting with clients outside, you know, and we’re having fun together. We’re doing karaoke, we’re, you know, going to parties, we’re having dinner. You know, like, you have to pinch yourself. Like, is this really, like, what we do for a living, you know, going to these amazing places and so, you know, like, how. How lucky are we to be able to be in this industry to have, like, these. These deep relationships and being able to also, you know, drive success and revenue for the companies, you know, it’s a great place to be.

Kristine Ritchie [00:21:43]:
I’m super, super excited to be part of it. I’ve actually recruited my daughter to. To become a marketer. So this is my second one, my middle child. She is going to LSU. Go Tigers. So any LSU fans out there, I would love to hear the experience that you’ve had because this is brand new for us. She’s going to be like 19 hours away in Louisiana and, you know, but I recruited her into our industry, so we’ll see how that turns out.

Kristine Ritchie [00:22:15]:
But she is going for MBA, and I’m hoping that we’ll be seeing her at some of the conferences in the future.

Marshall Nyman [00:22:24]:
Full circle, full circle. A big thank you to Chris from Deal Moon for joining the podcast this week. Some great insights into her background and how you can best work with Deal Moon. What is the best way for listeners to connect with you?

Kristine Ritchie [00:22:40]:
The best way would be to reach out to our alias. It’s been placementsealealmoon.com and then if you mentioned the podcast, we’ll make sure that you guys get fast tracked.

Marshall Nyman [00:22:53]:
Excellent. Thank you so much. If you’ve enjoyed this content, please give us a like and follow. Thank you for joining us. I am Marshall Nyman, host of the performance marketing spotlight and founder and CEO of Nymo and company, signing off. Thank you and have a great day.

Kristine Ritchie [00:23:09]:
Thanks Marshall.