Why Integration Matters for Affiliate Marketing – By Debbie Bookstaber

by Alana Jones on September 22, 2009

It seems clear that affiliate marketing should be an obvious win-win proposition for both advertisers and publishers. Affiliate marketing reduces financial risk and upfront costs associated with traditional marketing.

Since advertisers pay for performance, affiliate programs are among the most cost-efficient marketing channels. So why do so many companies view affiliate marketing as risky or even detrimental?

Although publishers work with advertisers, they do not work for them. Affiliate marketing requires advertisers to sacrifice control. As a result, tension exists between affiliate program managers and marketing departments.

Whether you’re a publisher or an Outsourced Program Manager (“OPM”), it pays to understand how others view the industry. Brand managers worry that placing their banners on affiliate websites “cheapens” the brand. Search managers are concerned with brand management and competition. Marketing managers claim that respected loyalty sites such as Upromise, Ebates and FatWallet cannibalize sales.

An affiliate program’s success or failure is a result not just of commissions but rather of the level of integration with the advertiser’s marketing plan.

When an affiliate program is integrated with the overall marketing strategy, publishers complement advertisers’ branding, sales and search efforts. Correctly managed performance marketing aligns the goals of publishers with those of advertisers, who reap the benefits of publishers’ expertise in SEM, SEO, loyalty marketing, and social media.

Gaining executive support is critical. Affiliate marketing must be seen, not as an add-on program or as a competitor, but rather as a key part of the strategic plan to increase revenue. After setting and enforcing program terms on trademark bidding, advertisers find that “search affiliates” strengthen the company’s search presence—blocking the competition, identifying long-tail keywords and increasing reach. Placement on comparison, coupon and cash-back websites, such as Ebates, of which, you can Read more about how Ebates works at https://dyernews.com/ebates-review/, also increases sales.

Above all, executives are concerned with the bottom line, and the bottom line is affiliate marketing, done right, is extremely profitable.

Debbie Bookstaber is the Director of Strategy at The JAR Group, www.thejargroup.com, an interactive marketing agency, which delivers a suite of online services that integrate search marketing, online advertising, affiliate marketing, social media, market research, and more, to grow our client’s revenue.

Download the entire FeedFront issue 7 here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/17376069/FeedFront-Magazine-Issue-7
FeedFront issue 7 articles can be found here as well: https://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2009/08

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