The Affiliate Menu: Variety is the Spice of Life

So they say, “Variety is the spice of life.”

Really? First of all, who is ‘they,’ and did ‘they’ ever realize that these days you can walk into any superstore and come face-to-face with a 20-foot aisle consisting of 8 shelves to your right AND 8 shelves to your left of nothing but … salad dressings. Yes, salad dressings. Even if I ate a tossed salad every day for a year, I would still only make it to about ¾ of the way down that aisle. Honestly, spinach and I are just not that close.

Salad dressings aside, we all love options whether they be in our coffee drinks, diaper brands, celebrities, dog breeds, chicken feed, but lately I noticed you can say the same for affiliate/advertiser collaborations. Sure you could do the ‘affiliate channel’ day in and day out. And there are a phenomenal amount of publishers doing just that, while making a ton of money and increasing an advertiser’s reach daily. These hardcore bloggerati’s are writing, posting pictures, detailing reviews, creating content as they travel the globe, cook up gumbo, or showcase the best menswear available at $699.00. But what else is there? What other options do advertisers have to grab the attention, and the dollars, of consumers who hunger for that ever elusive “it” product they are just dying to have? Let me highlight two unique campaigns I’ve encountered.

  • Brand “Experience”
  • Affiliate Recapitulation

I recently had the ‘experience’ described to me by the managing director of an influencer agency. This type of collaboration involves several advertisers; along with a dozen or so carefully screened, social media savvy affiliates partnering together in order to create a sense of engagement for the consumer. Let’s take the travel arena:

  • A travel company takes the group on an excursion they wish to showcase.
  • A menswear company “tailors up” all the vacationing bloggers.
  • A fashion house provides holiday wear to the ladies.
  • An outdoor sporting equipment chain sets up the scuba gear for an afternoon dive.
  • A health food manufacturer ensures everyone is taking THEIR vitamins to stay looking attractive and viral throughout the trip.

All the while, content and video is hitting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and each affiliates’ prospective website for a literal live feed of the event. The best part, now advertisers have photos and posts for the next six months showcasing a variety of product due to one 10-day trip.

The aim: to make you feel as if you are taking the trip, wearing the clothes and feeling glamorous and carefree thus insuring brand awareness. Sign me up with passport in hand.

Picture this: a swarm of bees descending upon a shrub of wild flowers and once they’ve feasted, the yellow and black divas head back to tell all their fellow insectas where to find the ‘gold’. That is essentially what happens during affiliate recapitulation. This is where a group of well-followed, highly-trusted affiliates in a particular arena, let’s say, fashion, get together and post about a new subscription box for women’s sportswear. Each one writes a post, then each of them begins reposting or linking to the other’s content regarding that month’s subscription arrival.

And they tell 2 friends, and they tell 20K friends and so on and so on.

  • Their followers grab the post and showcase it on their Facebook account.
  • Twitter lights up with mention of the post on 10 different accounts with a cumulative reach of 1 million followers.
  • Another set does the same to their Instagram readers.
  • Pins are added to several hundred thousand Pinterest boards.
  • Another in their weekly newsletter blast to their 100K followers.

Yes, the swarm has spoken. And everyone is listening. It’s a movement, and you are foolish to get in its path as the traffic leads right back to the advertiser. Ride the wave.

Creativity seasons the flow of the affiliate channel. Publishers are seeking to extract a response, and draw more readers with sweet deals to increase their value to advertisers. Advertisers’ gusto for an out-of-the-box opportunity that will sell more product to their target demographic is where they point their noses. This tangy marketing equation is bound to result in some savory ideas. Can’t wait to see what’s next. Oh, gotta go. Hot Twitter Party!