In this exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Anna Gidirim, the CEO of Admitad, delves into the company's remarkable journey from a small affiliate marketing network to a global force in performance marketing. Gidirim shares insights into Admitad's major milestones, innovative strategies, and effective team management in a diverse and multicultural environment. She offers a glimpse into the future of performance marketing, how AI is shaping the industry, and her personal approach to maintaining work-life balance. Gidirim's wisdom and experience provide valuable guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals, particularly women, looking to excel in the dynamic worlds of marketing and technology. Excerpts:As the CEO of Admitad, could you share some insights into how the company has evolved since its inception in 2009 ? What are some of the major milestones or achievements that you are particularly proud of ?Since its founding in 2009, Admitad has undergone remarkable growth and transformation. We started as a small affiliate marketing network and have evolved into a global performance marketing company with a wide range of innovative solutions. Some of our major milestones include expanding our international presence and opening offices in 11 countries, developing advanced technology to enhance affiliate marketing, and establishing partnerships with leading brands including Aliexpress, Emirates, Sharaf DG, Dubai Store, Ournass and many more which generate 5 billion dollars annually with our platform. I am particularly proud of our consistent focus on innovation and our ability to adapt to changing market trends. Admitad has a team of over 350 employees worldwide. How do you manage such a diverse and multicultural team ? What are some of the strategies you employ to ensure effective communication and collaboration ?Managing a diverse and multicultural team is a priority for us at Admitad. We value different perspectives and experiences, which contribute to our creativity and problem-solving. To ensure effective communication and collaboration, we utilize digital tools for seamless virtual interaction, encourage open dialogue through regular team meetings, and organize cross-functional projects to foster teamwork and share the experience among different geographies. The company additionally facilitates language courses and provides training for navigating within a multicultural environment, aiming to enhance the efficacy of communication across diverse geos.You have mentioned the focus on innovation, what does it mean for Admitad ? How do you see the future of performance marketing evolving ?The landscape of innovation has become notably challenging due to recent regulatory shifts concerning personal data usage and the latest advancements introduced by prominent players like Apple and Google. Given that our business hinges on tracking, these changes have profoundly transformed its foundation. Had we not proactively anticipated and commenced preparations for these shifts several years ago, our operational capacity would have been compromised. Presently, we persist in refining our tools while foreseeing the forthcoming phases in the evolution of the MarTech sector. For us, this isn't just a matter of thriving; it's vital for our survival.Looking ahead, I see performance marketing continuing to evolve through instant payout solutions, AI, data-driven insights, personalized customer experiences, and stronger collaborations between advertisers and affiliates. There are also more and more small and medium enterprises entering the world of affiliate marketing and recognizing its benefits for growth. Can you provide some key points on how affiliate marketing can drive small and medium businesses forward ?One of the key advantages of affiliate marketing for SMEs which usually does not have large marketing budgets is that instead of paying upfront for clicks or ads, businesses only pay a fee when affiliates bring actual results. It is like having a team of online marketers who earn rewards based on how well they do. This helps smaller businesses show their brand more, reach more customers, and make more sales, without risking a lot of money upfront. Platforms such as Admitad Rise help SMEs to start affiliate campaigns easily and faster. They have a large group of affiliates, saving the trouble of finding them on your own. These platforms also give tools to keep track of data, analyze how well things are going, and handle payments. This makes it easier for small businesses to see how their marketing is doing and make changes if needed.Now we live in an unstable world. Crisis situations can significantly impact businesses in your experience, what are some effective strategies or approaches to survive and get back on track during challenging times ? Can you share any specific examples from your own journey at Admitad ?Crisis situations indeed test a company's resilience. Admitad's approach involves maintaining a strong financial foundation, diversifying our partnerships, and agilely adapting to changing market conditions. For instance, during the economic downturn of 2020, we swiftly adjusted our strategies to focus on sectors that showed growth potential, which helped us navigate the challenging times successfully. We ensure protection against adverse effects on specific industries through our comprehensive diversification across various sectors, coupled with the continuous integration of innovative tools tailored to contemporary customer requirements. The ongoing surge in e-commerce further contributes to our favorable trajectory. Our strategy involves parallel investments in well-established economies such as the USA and Germany, alongside an assertive pursuit of market participation in emerging regions like India and LATAM. Simultaneously, we are strategically entering uncharted territories for the affiliate industry, exemplified by our focus on nascent markets like Indonesia, with the goal of securing pioneering positions.Being a top manager and a mother of an 11 year old boy, how do you manage to maintain a work-life balance ? What are some practical tips or strategies you can share with other professionals who struggle with balancing their personal and professional lives ?Balancing work and personal life is a challenge many professionals face. My approach involves setting clear boundaries, prioritizing tasks, and delegating responsibilities. Regularly scheduling quality time with my family and practicing self-care are crucial as well. It is important to remember that achieving work-life balance is an ongoing effort and may require adjustments over time.As a media contributor on performance marketing topics, what are some common misconceptions or misunderstandings that you often come across ? How do you aim to educate and inform your audience about the potential of performance marketing ?A common misconception is that performance marketing is solely about driving immediate sales. In reality, it is a comprehensive strategy that involves building long-term relationships with customers, enhancing brand loyalty, and optimizing various touch-points across the customer journey. My aim as a media contributor and a conference speaker is to educate the audience about these multifaceted aspects of performance marketing.You said that AI is part of Admitad's strategy, how exactly do you use AI in your business model ?We are currently engaged in the testing of an AI-driven fraud detection program. This initiative aims to identify violations of the network rules and restrictions as well as ensure transparency and traffic quality. We also implement AI technology in Admitad's Instant Payout forecast tool, which permits affiliate publishers to promptly access their earnings, eliminating the need to retain funds for extended periods. The machine learning model, boasting a remarkable 95% accuracy rate, has significantly simplified publisher payouts.What advice would you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs or professionals who aspire to reach leadership positions in the business world, particularly in the field of marketing and technology ?To aspiring women entrepreneurs in marketing and technology, my advice is to believe in yourself, embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, and seek out mentors who can guide you. Stay curious, continuously update your skills, and don't be afraid to take calculated risks. Remember, your unique perspective is an asset that can drive innovation and positive change in your chosen field.