Elite or Good Enough to Survive

my level of “coaching” was about the equivalent of reading a few articles online about affiliate marketing

It was the summer of 2016. 5:30am on a June morning I stood on a beach about to plunge myself into 60-degree water alongside of 3,000 other people. It was at this point I realized that elite level Affiliate Marketing and elite level endurance racing had a very similar path to success. Ok, that wasn’t exactly what I was thinking, but hang with me. The 1.2-mile swim was the first leg of the 70.3-mile race that everyone was out here doing for “fun”. I thought back over the months of training that led up to this point and told myself “just don’t drown and you’ve got the rest of it”. I find that this is often the approach with the affiliate channel amongst many brands; just don’t drown. Now, in my mind, cycling and running is easy. I mean, you can breathe whenever the hell you want to in those events. Swimming is a different story. You have to be controlled and fully understand your limits. You have to understand the way your hand enters the water on each stroke in order to get optimal results for your effort. The positioning of your head in the water can’t be too high or too low either. Suffice it to say, endurance swimming is truly an art and one that I have never truly mastered. Spoiler, I survived the swim. But…that was about it. As I began the bike portion of the race, it slowly dawned on me how many people had finished the swim before I had. People that could have been my mom or dad (even a grandparent or two) had beaten me in the swim. As Kendrick Lamar has so wisely reminded us, it is time to sit down and be humble.

Getting the most out of your efforts

I remember thinking, “Man, I really should have found a swim coach instead of just trying to figure it out on my own”. You may be asking how this has anything to do with affiliate marketing, so I’ll get to the tie-in. It isn’t like I didn’t train for this part of the race. I even took a month-long group swim class. But my level of “coaching” was about the equivalent of reading a few articles online about affiliate marketing. Maybe even attending an “in-depth” webinar on the topic and then diving in (pun intended). I find that there are many similarities with brands and their approach to affiliate marketing. The other channels are dialed in and being run by experts in their respective fields. Affiliates? That often just falls under the responsibility of someone who “can” do it.

you will always remember that they were ahead and doing it better at one point

But when brands take that approach they miss out on the full potential within the channel. Sure, they don’t drown. But if they really assess it, they aren’t competing at an elite level in this area of marketing. No “young brand” wants to be passed up by Sears (too soon?) just because they hired someone elite to coach them. Sure, the young brand will catch them later on in the race, but you will always remember that they were ahead and doing it better at one point.

An agency should make YOU better

An agency should be that coach. Teaching you all the intricacies of the channel and making YOU better. I recently did a survey (of just myself) and found that roughly 90% of advertisers that I speak with don’t trust the quality of sales in their affiliate channel. It’s this nagging feeling that something is off, but they just don’t quite know how to fix it. A good affiliate marketing agency should be able to remove these doubts and give the brand confidence about the numbers they are reporting on internally. Ultimately, an agency should be removing all ambiguity that comes with the channel. From available tech, correct mix of partners to accurate measurement of the channel – an agency removes all of the mental hassle that can come with affiliate marketing.

A good affiliate marketing agency should be able to remove these doubts and give the brand confidence

One of the ways that we handle that here at JEBCommerce, is taking a deep look into the data. Not just what the network is showing either. We put on our profitability lenses and answer the question; how much incremental revenue is the channel providing? During this phase of management, we do a deep analytical dive into specific aspects of the program; comparing internal numbers against network tracked numbers, measuring (on a by-partner basis) against the definition of incremental and testing creative, offers, etc. These are the intricate details that a coach will provide you. Fine tuning your affiliate channel will not only help you sleep better at night but make you the envy of all your competitors (I guarantee it).

If you’ve ever been curious how to answer these types of questions, reach out to our friendly, top notch team. Our process will begin answering some of the toughest questions that come along with the affiliate channel.

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