Last week I attended a networking event outside of the affiliate industry. I always dread the question “so, what do you do?”. In the short time I have to answer many things go through my head, shall I say affiliate marketing? Will they know what affiliate marketing is? How do I explain the job I’ve done for 17-years?
My answer was “I manage an affiliate marketing agency” followed by a pause as I judge the level of confusion on their face — I ready my follow up “do you know what affiliate marketing is?” It wasn’t necessary; the person I was speaking to did know what affiliate marketing was. Surprisingly everyone else I talked to that evening did too.
Have I grossly underestimated the breadth of knowledge of affiliate marketing, or has something changed?
On reflection, I think a lot has changed. I had lunch with Impact recently, one of the two leading SaaS platform technologies globally. They integrated over 300 clients to their platform last year. My jaw dropped.
Some of the most well-known brands in the world run their programmes on SaaS platforms. British Airways, Apple, adidas, Uber, Airbnb, TUI, Ticketmaster, Marriott, Lenovo and Gap, to name a few. As Impacts numbers show, more and more companies are following these leaders.
Why have brands chosen to take a different approach to their affiliate marketing programmes?
Control and brand protection
Brands want more control over their affiliate marketing programmes. Moving to SaaS allows them to manage the programme directly and develop closer relationships with partners.
Brands own their sign-up process, partners they develop are their own, and they keep the valuable information generated from their relationships. Large brands want to keep hold of the competitive advantage that their strong pull creates or the time and resource they have invested in finding new partners.
Internal digital marketing structures are changing to be more efficient and effective, resulting in shared management and blurring of lines across channels. Affiliate marketing sits within partner marketing, allowing brands a broader view of their alliances and expansion of the affiliate marketing model into new areas. Moving all partnerships onto one platform is more efficient and cost-effective.
I shouldn’t have been so surprised that so many people understood what affiliate marketing is. It has become more integrated throughout the marketing mix as companies change their focus to payment on performance.
This change requires a different type of programme management; at AP, we can deliver the right mix of services to help your affiliate activity succeed. Read about why we are the right partner to support you.