It’s hard to believe that in most regions we are just a few weeks into this new world. Yet, across our industry in my conversations with partners, agencies, and clients, I am already sensing a change in the way that people are responding to the current situation.
Fundamentally, ours is an industry of doers – people who examine a situation and formulate ways to conduct business in that context. These times have been a big shock to every aspect of life, including business. Some aspects of partnership and affiliate have become more difficult. But partners and brands are now responding and adjusting to this new normal.
Moving from being reactive to proactive is helping us lay the foundations for great results now and in the future.
As savvy business leaders, partners understand that they need to respond to the times in ways that drive mutual benefit for themselves and brands alike. Whereas the first few weeks of this situation may have been more about observation and information-gathering, many have now quickly moved on to taking action. Partners are seeing that savvy brands have moved beyond reactive responses quickly and are now thinking of this next phase as a time to grab market share by continuing to invest smartly in the channel.
HOW PARTNERS ARE RESPONDING
Partners tend to be very action-oriented and nimble organizations. One of the most interesting developments I have witnessed over the past two weeks has been a growing partner focus on making it easier for brands to start working with them, and to expand their successful programs.
Partners recognize that brands face greater challenges. To help mitigate complexities and risks, they are finding ways to ease policies and rules by which they work with brands. Here are a few of the most common changes we are seeing across the market.
1. Relaxation of Minimums
Many leading partners have historically enforced minimums before they were willing to work with new brands. In the last several weeks, however, we have seen many large partners relax or eliminate minimums so that new brands can begin engaging with them. This is beneficial to both large brands that need to reduce risks and mid-sized brands that would have struggled to pay minimums in the past.
2. Acceptance of Common Ts and Cs
Some brands that used to require special contracts with their partners are relaxing these rules and accepting standard Ts and Cs to speed implementation and simplify legal approvals. For many large brands, this dramatically simplifies adding new partners because of a paucity of available legal resources, particularly resources with a comprehensive understanding of partnership.
3. Elimination of Tenancy Requirements
Several large publishers have relaxed or are considering relaxing their tenancy requirements, enabling brands to do everything via CPA. That helps deliver a better value proposition to brands because every element of a program is on performance.
4. Trades of Increased Visibility for Commission Increases
A number of publishers say they are working to significantly increase offer exposure for some advertisers if they put forward modest commission increases. Where these brands might have steered clients to tenancy in the past, they now recognize that some advertisers are only pursuing CPA programs at this time.
5. More Testing and Experimentation
A number of brands have expressed great willingness to test new programs and offers as inventory has been freed up by those programs that have reduced activity.
6. Flagging “Hot” Categories and Interests
We are also seeing that partners are being smart about spotlighting verticals and deals which are more relevant as people spend more time at home. Some great examples include gardening products, home office furniture and accessories, and casual/leisurewear. In our own data across the Partnerize footprint, we’ve seen a marked increase in beauty browsing and conversions. Category-level insights are particularly relevant to retailers that sell a broad range of goods, and are yet another example of why direct partner-to-brand relationships are so productive.
REVIEWING YOUR OWN POLICIES
As my team and I discussed these policy changes with partners, many seemed to be following a similar set of process steps.
1. Review your Current Business Practices and Requirements
You and your team probably have a strong sense of any barriers that exist that limit the ability of brands to work with you currently. If not, it makes sense to summarize those learnings, so that you know where policy changes might have a strong positive business impact.
2. Identify Target Customers
Think about the specific brands that have expressed interest in your company in the past. Evaluate which categories are performing best on your platform and identify companies in those categories you aren’t yet working with. Read any research you can find on which categories are performing well in the current environment.
3. Evaluate Each Policy in the Current Context
In a robust business climate, a contractual minimum or integration fee may make sense. In the current environment, however, it’s possible that your team has resources available that can help drive incremental revenue if you relax standards a bit. Match those alternatives to your target list to see if there are specific policies that could make a difference.
4. Test and Implement Changes
Speak with some of your targets and talk to them about policy changes to see if they are receptive to new or expanded relationships. Potentially limit your changed policies to certain categories or certain sizes of prospects. Gauge response and optimize.
HOW PARTNERIZE HELPS PARTNERS
My team at Partnerize has been in touch with dozens of partners over recent weeks, providing advice and ideas that can make it easier to conduct business and drive revenue. Our goal is to facilitate win/wins by enabling partners to improve their appeal to advertisers and help brands drive more conversions and profit through the channel.
We have dedicated teams globally, including individuals focused on specific types of partners including top affiliates, content publishers, and long-tail affiliates. These teams are focused on providing ideas and introductions for partners as they navigate these new times.
The Partnerize Partnerships team recognizes that we are all in this together and is here to help with ideas, suggestions, and information on active advertisers that may be a good fit.
Partners on the Partnerize Platform should also be sure and visit the Brand Discovery section of the solution, which provides information on the brands and campaigns available to join. Many advertisers are looking for ways to diversify their revenue streams, and finding new advertisers can be a great way to do that.