March 7, 2022

Affiliate Management Has Come a Long Way. Are You Still Bringing Your A-Game?

Although affiliate marketing technically started before the internet, it’s the internet that really has made the channel what it is today. And as a result, as the internet has evolved, so has affiliate. What was once the forgotten stepchild of the marketing industry, affiliate has become the place to be. Anybody and everybody wants a piece and there are more new entrants into the channel than ever before. 

But that’s not the only thing that’s changed with affiliate over the past 20 years. The role of an affiliate program manager has changed dramatically. To say the job is more difficult than it used to be is a huge understatement–and, right now,  there is a whole graveyard of undermanaged programs in the space to prove it. 

To get a better idea how the role has expanded, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane.

ONCE UPON A TIME: An entire affiliate program could be successfully managed fully inside of a network platform.

NOW: Gone are the days when you can rely on the email addresses that publishers self-report to the platform to, well, actually reach them. Affiliate is a relationships business, which means you have to put in the work to cultivate connections–complete with a secret rolodex of accurate contact information–with all the right people. The resources available through the platform alone are not nearly enough to deliver the kind of ROI you want. 

ONCE UPON A TIME: One strategy (read: the same 20 partners) fit most affiliate programs. 

NOW: Affiliate may still be viewed as one channel, but the reality is, success today requires an affiliate manager to work across multiple departments, like social media, PR, content, and celebrity endorsements, in every organization. Budgets are bigger, the deals are much more complex, and a customized strategy is the only way to get to the right place, at the right time–at the right price.

ONCE UPON A TIME: The role of an affiliate manager revolved largely around customer support. 

NOW: While having strong relationship management skills will always be important, the skill set of an affiliate manager has become much broader. Today, an effective affiliate manager must have experience with media buying, top-notch sales acumen, budgeting expertise, and the ability to strategize against an ever-changing marketplace. 

ONCE UPON A TIME: There were only two rate options for paid placements and commissioning: Public or VIP.

NOW: As affiliate opportunities have increased over the last 20 years, so have clients’ expectations. Consequently, conversations about spend and realistic returns aren’t as straightforward as they used to be, and hard-earned experience in the channel has never been more valuable. From securing the best possible rates (a.k.a. the ones only agencies have access to) to negotiating commission structures, an agency is able to strategically stretch your marketing dollars–and maximize your return. 

PartnerCentric has even created a Paid Placement Predictor that uses real-life numbers and data to provide a more quantitative look at the ROI you can expect to see from a partnership. Built from our extensive placement history data collection, our Paid Placement Predictor allows us to put proven insights and real data behind our recommendations. That means our clients not only get peace of mind but also a healthy return on their investment. In fact, for every dollar our clients spend, they can see a sevenfold return on ad spend. 

Get in touch with us today. 

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