Taking Back Control – By Thomas Rhys Jones

by Jenae Reid on August 23, 2017

 

The traditional model for merchants in the affiliate world has been to work with networks to provide them with a vital source of revenue, enabling them to work on a very cost efficient, commission-based reward system.

In the beginning of any brand’s life, it’s logical to take that approach; investment needs to be made wisely, and if there are any ‘quick wins’, they must be pursued. But once your business is running, stable, and producing results, what then?

Like performance marketing, in general, the methods used by both affiliates and merchants need to evolve with the times to produce continuous results. Those that embrace change in the right way at the right times are invariably the ones who reap the success later down the line.

First-adopters of mobile innovations, retargeting, and newer technologies have ridden the wave of this modernisation and this is true time and again in many marketing stories.

The affiliate marketing space has matured into and will be an increasingly significant channel for driving sales for merchants of all sizes. According to a 2016 study by Rakuten, US affiliate marketing spend will increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1 percent between 2015 and 2020, to an estimated $6.8 billion industry.

So, your brand is experiencing growth, exposure, and success, but how do you keep up this pace? Logically, the next step would be to reinvest into this achievement to facilitate continuous evolution. How are brands taking control of their affiliate futures for increased profit and better relationships?

As important as networks are, once you have cemented your affiliate program, it may make sense to move your affiliate business in-house. Take control of your brand by directly managing who you work with, when, and under what terms.

One of the biggest downsides with outsourcing your affiliate marketing strategy is simple; who will understand your brand like your own people? This is something incredibly hard to impart on those who aren’t part of your organization.

It’s the nature of the network beast that teams of account managers, who work on multiple brands, fumble for the same coverage in the same places time and again. Who has your brands best interests at heart?

Attitudes toward affiliate marketing are changing, and it’s being recognized as the powerhouse of marketing that we all foresaw, but outside of the network model, there are still some lingering doubts.

What about quality assurance, trust, and transparency for affiliates? I can only advise this should come directly from a fully-rounded and efficient affiliate department that garners great working relationships with their partners.

Having experienced both sides of this, I find it irrational that this laissez-faire approach to networks is the ‘norm’. As a business, we’ve progressed so far, why do we insist on doing things the same way? Investments in technology and the right people will ensure your brand has a steadfast approach, in control of the way your brand is exposed, while saving (what is for established brands) needless network expense.

 

 

Thomas Jones, Commercial Director for XCaliber, a leading software company empowering both brands and affiliates.

This article appeared in issue 39 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in July 2017. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-39

 

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