It’s no secret that recent events have had an effect on how we go about the business of partnership. As always, the most important things we can focus on are the health and wellbeing of our families, ourselves, and the many people we work with. That so many people are doing this now – reaching out to one another, sharing ideas, etc. – speaks well for our industry and everyone in it.
Some brands and partners have reached out to ask, “do you have any tips or ideas as we navigate recent events?” Our team spent significant time discussing this, both internally and externally, to identify some of what we think are good ideas to consider.
We’ve put our thoughts into two different posts. This one provides some broad considerations. The second post gives actionable examples of how partnership can solve specific problems that companies may be facing. We invite you to read both posts.
WHY PARTNERSHIP MAKES SENSE
Before we get into tips and advice, take a moment to remember how strong and dynamic this industry is.
Many industry studies show that partnership sits at the top of the marketing effectiveness pyramid. A recent study by the US-based Performance Marketing Association, for example, showed an average ROAS of 12:1. Other studies say that partnership performs second only to house email programs for effectiveness.
Continuous growth – through Bull and Bear markets
While the economy has been performing well for the last several years, remember that there have been times over the past 20+ years of digital partnership in which the business outlook has been uncertain. Example: the recession of 2009. Yet partnership remained strong. According to one of the leading industry analyst companies, even in that very challenging 2009 business climate, affiliate marketing grew 5.4%. That is just one example of partnerships’ resiliency.
Pay for performance appeal
Shared focus on performance makes investing in this category appealing. You pay when you get revenue or when some other concrete objective is achieved.
Partner expertise makes results better
Programs perform well because partners know their audiences well and know how to present messages and offers in appealing ways. Brands get to leverage that expertise every time they partner.
It makes customers happy
Partnership provides great ways to connect with new audiences and gain awareness in high credibility environments. When partners deliver great offers, it’s what marketing is about – pleasing the customer.
Those are some of the biggest advantages. No doubt you can think of others.
SO…WHAT TO DO?
Here are some general approaches to keep in mind as you formulate your action plans
Think through implications before taking action
When brands are looking at ways to reduce their costs, across-the-board cuts sometimes happen. But wise brands try to resist that approach because this is performance marketing. You compensate partners after they hit your goals. Recognize that partner marketing is something that can continue to drive strong, positive ROI. Avoid making rash changes in commissioning approaches — you want to keep the revenue flowing. Making abrupt downward changes to commissions, especially without notifying partners, is a recipe for poor future relationships.
Dig into your data
There’s no better way to see what’s working than to take a look. See which of your partners are performing relatively well. What messages and offers are pulling? Is what people buy changing? Take a look at popular partner properties and see how competitors may be changing their approaches.
Communicate to your organization
While partnership drives such a high portion of digital sales – 20% and more in many cases — many people still don’t understand how it works. Ask yourself, does my management understand that this is pay for performance? Do they understand that we pay only when our goals are achieved? Do they recognize what share of total sales partnerships drives for the organization? If not, educate them.
Talk to your partners
By taking this time to reach out to partners, you both can win. Talk to them about what you are seeing in your data and what they are seeing in the market. Ask for examples of how others are responding in positive ways. Do they have a program or tech you haven’t yet leveraged? What is working best in this new environment?
Be a real payments partner
It makes sense to ensure that you live up to your end of partnership. If they’ve done right by you, you should do right by them. Pay them on a timely basis for the work they’ve done. Don’t let transactions sit around forever before approval. Be a good partner and let your partners get what they deserve. Partners long remember brands that do the right thing at times like this!
Talk to your CS lead
Whether you are a Partnerize client or work with someone else, take the time to talk to your solutions provider. We are here to help. We can consult with you on actions you are planning to take, and what may help you achieve your goals.
In closing, this is a time when we should redouble our efforts to work together. Times are uncertain, but the way forward can be better if we remember the fundamentals of what makes partnership so great.
If you’d like to read about some specific ways that partnership can help solve common business problems in today’s environment, read this second post.
Best wishes, and stay safe!