Affiliate programs can be beneficial in adding incremental value to your business, but are there any particular goods or services that are best suited to this channel?
We discussed the relevance of affiliates in our latest online debate; our host Jules Pancholi asked Lee Carter, Marketing Acquisition Manager at PrettyLittleThing, Sri Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder of Increasingly, Jessica Brown, Agency Partner at Awin Global and our CEO John Readman for their view on what products or services are best suited to effective affiliate programs.
Do affiliates work for everyone?
Regardless of the industry you work in, Lee believes that there is a space for affiliates within your marketing strategy. However, he says that the problems are with the execution. “I’ve seen brands go to affiliates, give out 25% off discount codes and don’t see the incrementality. They’ve given away large margins and think ‘it’s not very good’.”
He emphasises that before taking on an affiliate program, you need to fully understand what you want to achieve. Despite the uncertainty surrounding affiliates, Lee says that a positive of using this channel is the control around the people you work with and what you want to give away to them. “With affiliates, you have to put in the effort by building relationships with all publishers you work with. It does take a lot of time and a lot of planning to run a successful affiliate program.”
What goods or services work well with affiliates?
With her experience in both agency and platform, Jess reinforces the diversity of publishers and the reach available to advertisers, which allows any brand to find a relevant database to work with. She says that anything with a transactional, digital site can work in the affiliates space but mentions some industries that could be challenging. “The likes of B2B are challenged as many sites are set up to serve B2C content, and also anything with legal restrictions such as tobacco, alcohol and gambling products.”
Sri’s thoughts coincide with both Lee and Jess and he believes that if you have an audience of your own then most industries will work. As the co-founder of product bundling site Increasingly, Sri says that you will naturally see consumables or goods that are lower value are going to be better suited than luxury items.
John says that he has seen the luxury end of the market shy away from affiliates due to the lower volume of sales required and doubts surrounding brand reputation. “You can control where you publish, and I think that’s the thing that people find difficult. You can choose how you do it and who you do it with – so I think the luxury end of the market is missing out on this channel.”
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