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Partner Agency

In the latest episode of Affiliate Nerd Out, we had the pleasure of hosting the Chief of Chaos himself, Matt Frary of Partner Agency. A pioneer in the field of affiliate marketing, Matt is renowned for his knack for networking and making powerful connections. He shared some fascinating insights into his journey from to launching Smarter Chaos, stressing the importance of personal touch in this digital age. Drawing parallels between the hustle of affiliate marketing and the buzz created by Dion Sanders for Colorado football, he made the conversation engaging and relatable.

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But that's not all; Matt also touched upon the vital aspects of compassion, history, and ambition as the bedrock of successful partnerships in affiliate marketing. We delved into the intricate dance of last-click attribution, its impact on influencers, and the importance of understanding a company's customer lifetime value. This episode is not just a deep dive into performance marketing, but a reminder that recognizing the human element can be your secret weapon in the competitive world of affiliate marketing.

The Rollercoaster Ride of Expanding Affiliate Marketing (And How to Stay on Board!)

According to the discussion with Matt Frary, a prominent figure in affiliate marketing, one of the key challenges impeding the growth of affiliate marketing lies in the prevalent use of last-click attribution.

But what is last-click attribution?

This attribution model, focusing solely on the final click before a conversion, is deemed flawed by Matt. He argues that other marketing channels often snatch attribution from affiliates, leaving them undervalued and overlooked within organizations.

Frary suggests that affiliates are frequently treated as isolated entities within a company, residing on their “own island” with little understanding from others in the organization. This isolation, coupled with the perception that affiliates are stealing credit from other channels, hinders their growth potential.

The lack of a unified understanding and the vulnerability of affiliates to attribution theft contribute to the stagnation in affiliate marketing's overall growth.

The meaning behind CHAOS in affiliate marketing.

Partner Agency

Matt introduces the acronym “CHAOS” as a guiding philosophy for effective affiliate management. CHAOS stands for Compassion, History, Ambition, Objective, and Success. This acronym encapsulates the core principles Matt believes are crucial in building and sustaining successful affiliate relationships.

Compassion– underscores the importance of understanding and empathizing with affiliates,

History– emphasizes the value of leveraging past interactions for future collaborations.

Ambition– encourages a proactive and ambitious approach to affiliate engagement.

Objective– stresses the necessity of clear goals.

Success– represents the ultimate outcome of applying the CHAOS philosophy, aiming for prosperous and mutually beneficial affiliate partnerships.

Matt's CHAOS framework provides a comprehensive and strategic approach to affiliate marketing that prioritizes meaningful connections and long-term success.

Partner agency success: The 8 secret ingredients for crafting an unbeatable squad.

Secret #1: Hire the BEST.

Matt Frary's nugget of wisdom, “Hiring the Best”, is like assembling an all-star team for a blockbuster movie. Inspired by his father-in-law's knack for running a top-notch horse hospital, Matt insists on roping in the crème de la crème for your crew.

Perks of recruiting top talent for your dream team include:

    1. Expertise and skill
    2. Innovation and problem-solving
    3. Team dynamics
    4. Leadership and mentorship
    5. – Adaptability to growth
    6. – Positive impact on company culture

Secret #2: Build scalable and repeatable processes.

Matt Frary's mantra “Build Scalable and Repeatable Processes” is like a secret sauce for organizational triumph. He champions the “fake it till you make it” approach, encouraging teams to dream big and prepare for future growth. His toolkit includes Salesforce and HubSpot for smooth sailing in communication and task management.

Secret #3: Use a low-code AI platform.

Here's the deal: Matt Frary is all in on low-code AI platforms, especially Iterate.AI.

Why? They're the Formula 1 cars of the tech world, accelerating AI application development at a blistering pace. Matt's mantra? “Act like you've already won.” With low-code AI, your business can adapt and innovate faster than a cheetah on roller skates, boosting efficiency and streamlining processes. The result? Your team becomes a nimble ninja, ready to pounce on new opportunities and outmaneuver competitors.

Secret #4: Document everything.

Matt Frary, a mastermind of teamwork, is talking documentation and it's not your grandma's file cabinet. He's all about those high-tech AI-driven knowledge bases or even a good old-fashioned wiki.

Now, let's bullet this down:

    1. The keeper of knowledge: Documentation is like a time capsule, preserving vital intel from the “Great Turnover Wars”, ensuring smoother baton-passing.
    2. Refinement rodeo: With a repository of best practices, teams can polish their processes until they shine brighter than a disco ball.
    3. Onboarding express: It's like a cheat sheet for new hires, fast-tracking their understanding of the team's secret handshake and dynamics.
    4. Grow & adapt: Just like a chameleon in a rainbow, a well-documented system supports your organization's growth and adaptability.

Secret #5: Delegate and let good people thrive.

Matt Frary is a firm believer in the magic of delegation when it comes to building a superstar team. He's all about passing the baton to capable hands, knowing that being a control freak can be a big roadblock to growth. Matt's game plan? Let his team shine in their own fields! He knows that a winning leader gives their crew the freedom to show their worth. With a big thumbs up for delegation, Matt dreams of a workplace where everyone can flex their skills to the max and send the team rocketing towards success. Now, that's a philosophy we can get behind!

Secret #6: Partner agency tech stack standardization.

Matt Frary is all about getting everyone on the same page when it comes to tools, highlighting gadgets like GAMP, Slack, Affluent, and Media Rails. Why? Standardizing your tech game makes sure everyone's using gear that's not just top-notch, but also switcheroo-friendly, ready to adapt to whatever the affiliate marketing world throws at them. By keeping their tech toolbox consistent, the team can smooth out workflows, supercharge teamwork, and ride the rollercoaster of the ever-changing affiliate marketing scene like pros.

Secret #7: Invest in tools and systems.

Matt Frary says, “Invest like a boss, even if you're a newbie!” He thinks teams should splurge on fancy tech tools now, not just for today's needs, but to be ready for future growth. It's like building a castle for a king while you're still a knight. This strategy ensures you're set for success and the challenges that come with it.

Secret #8: Give back to the community.

Matt Frary's commitment to initiatives like Digital Good underscores the significance of giving back to the community. His involvement in addressing the critical issue of school shootings through open-source threat detection AI reflects a dedication to using technology for social good. By providing free access to the code and encouraging schools to implement this solution, Matt demonstrates a profound sense of social responsibility and a belief in the positive impact technology can have on pressing societal challenges. This commitment to giving back exemplifies a broader perspective on the role of technology in contributing to the well-being of communities and fostering a sense of corporate social responsibility.

Technology in Affiliate Marketing & School Safety.

Technology's role in affiliate marketing is also a topic of discussion. Matt details how tools like Basecamp and HubSpot were instrumental in the acquisition of Smarter Chaos and the importance of establishing scalable processes. He introduces listeners to AffiStash, an innovative affiliate tracking product, and shares his passion for a community initiative focused on school safety. Matt's approach is holistic, combining technological advancements with a human-centric approach to business.

Wrap up on partner agency.

This episode isn't just a treasure trove of strategies and tools, it's also a love letter to the human touch in business. Matt Frary, our affiliate marketing maestro, shows us that every click is a digital handshake, and every strategy is a chance to throw a virtual high-five. His combo of smarts and heart gives us a recipe for success that reminds us, business isn't just about transactions, it's about connections!

Want to take your agency to the next level? Hop on over to and start your journey today!

Episode timestamp.

0:27 Dustin Howes introduces the Affiliate Nerd Out podcast guest Matt Frary, the Chief of Chaos and The Partner Agency
2:42 Matt shares the success story of Dion Sanders' impact on the Colorado sports program, emphasizing the importance of relationships and partnerships.
5:07 Dustin introduces the live Q&A session, focusing on the question of the day: “What is your favorite way to engage partners?”
8:49 Matt details his journey in the affiliate marketing world, from working with eBags to starting Smarter Chaos and The Partner Agency.
9:51 Matt discusses his latest ventures, including Chief of Chaos and The Partner Agency, with a focus on B2B affiliate programs.
12:38 Discussion on the origin of the Smarter Chaos brand and its evolution into Chief of Chaos, highlighting Matt's unconventional approach.
15:13 Matt shares the acronym “CHAOS” as a philosophy for engaging affiliates: Compassion, History, Ambition, Objective, and Success.
21:57 The hosts discuss the importance of compassion in business interactions and highlight the significance of providing value first.
23:06 Matt emphasizes the value of offering value first, sharing insights on how this approach builds positive relationships and leaves a lasting legacy.
25:03 Dustin shares his approach of giving backlinks to affiliates, building relationships before pitching products.
27:11 Matt emphasizes providing value in affiliate marketing, suggesting a proactive, helpful approach to advertisers.
28:23 Dustin discusses the challenge of last-click attribution and how it hinders affiliate growth to $100 billion.
30:06 Matt explains the limitations of last-click attribution and the complexities of measuring affiliate marketing's true impact.
33:55 Matt challenges the idea of affiliate marketing as a distinct channel, advocating for a broader view of performance marketing.
37:36 The hosts discuss the importance of tools like WeCanTrack in optimizing affiliate marketing campaigns.
43:29 Matt highlights the significance of having talented people, scalable processes, and letting go of control for successful affiliate management.
45:20 Matt introduces Digital Good AI, an open-source threat detection AI platform aimed at preventing school shootings.
48:13 Matt encourages schools to use the open-source code for free, emphasizing the importance of leveraging technology for good.
Affiliate manager consultant

Dustin Howes


Dustin Howes is a partnership nerd spreading the good word about performance marketing. He is the chief coach at and is dedicated to helping companies grow their performance marketing channels. He also provides affiliate manager training and private consultations, helping companies find the right solution for their budget.

Find out more about Dustin here.