Traditionally, advertisers have relied heavily on outsourced networks and account management as they seek expertise to help them manage partners, report on activity, and reward affiliates for generating sales. Yet, internal meetings only touch on the top line and generics, without getting into the granular details of what makes their programmes tick. Although this high-level approach is enough for some, ambitious marketers can drive career and programme growth by looking outside of networks and their glass ceiling, taking ownership of the partner marketing channel and bringing management in-house.
The switch from an account-managed, network-style partner program may seem daunting, but here’s three big reasons why it’s a no brainer for ambitious affiliate marketers.
1. Being transparent means there’s nowhere to hide
Managing activity directly leads to ownership, ownership leads to accountability, accountability leads to focus, which in turn leads to better performance. But what happens if something doesn’t go well? Great marketers will learn from those mistakes, understand what went wrong, and ensure the chances of that error reoccurring are mitigated through process enhancement.
Having no network to blame means that those mistakes are easier to pinpoint and analyse, the data more accessible and in-depth, and as a result easier to learn from. Each commission change, partner recruited, creative switch, or programme innovation, is more transparent and rewarding, when you’re in control. Take off the stabilisers and you might fall once or twice, but dust yourself off and get back on the bike. You’ll be much better next time.
2. Partner relationships, like whisky, are best when neat…
Yet people will still opt for "on the rocks", and that’s where your relationship with partners could end up when left to be managed by anyone outside of your brand. Direct communication leads to a clear brand message, a set of KPI’s which fall in-line with your business goals, and a set of partners armed with a clear understanding of what is expected from them when fulfilling their side of the bargain.
When this communication is diluted, mistakes can appear and consumers’ views of your brand may be affected by publishers operating under misconstrued instructions. People will often tell you that content is king, when in fact it isn’t, context is. If you can provide your partners with context, then you can ensure that all partner advertising will be true to brand, appealing to the target customer, which in turn will lead to greater lifetime value from that acquisition.
3. Get bigger and bolder with your strategy
By bringing activity direct-to-brand, you save not only on costs, but also on time. That extra cost can be driven back into your partner programme, allowing you to be more ambitious with commissioning on high ROI partners, and more creative with programme strategies. Influencer networks, innovative new publishers, and rewarding mobile transactions can create a more complete, smarter, and innovative affiliate programme.
With more time, you can dedicate your personal resource to thinking about ways to differentiate yourself from competitors, and stay front of mind with partners by constantly thinking outside of the box. Creativity is intelligence having fun, and who doesn’t want to have more fun?
By allowing your brand to be in control, the level of output can be dramatically increased. Putting yourself closer to the action will allow for more instantaneous feedback, which can then be leveraged to ensure greater impact through solid and direct relationships with those promoting your brand. After all, there’s a reason why the best football managers sit in the dug outs, and don’t watch the games from their sofas.If you’re ready to take direct control of your affiliate and partner marketing programme, or would like to learn more, reach out to the Performance Horizon team today.