How to diversify your marketing portfolio with partner marketing

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Just a few years ago, virtually an eternity in the Internet’s time, an email newsletter called DailyCandy was the marketing darling.

Brands have eclipsed themselves to reach the newsletter’s large (and demographically attractive) subscriber base, and ultimately that competition drove prices up. What was once a good deal has become, in essence, a bloated advertising buy. Many brands were fully billed, and those who stayed on board found themselves looking for another way to reach new customers when the newsletter closed in 2014.

We are seeing the same thing happening today with pay per click marketing platforms such as Google and Facebook. While these platforms still have their advantages, high demand has driven prices up in recent years, meaning that brands often pay more for the same level of performance.

That doesn’t mean businesses should stop advertising with Google and Facebook. But it illustrates the importance of building a diverse marketing portfolio. One way to do this is through partnership marketing, a term that applies to any results-based partnership activated at scale through digital technology.

From my experience, here are three ways that partner marketing helps brands diversify their marketing efforts and how to get it right.

1. (PRACTICALLY) UNLIMITED PARTNERS

As a channel, partner marketing builds diversity into the model. Some companies have a somewhat limited view of partner marketing (for example, retailers who limit their activity in the channel to promotions and coupon sites), but this is usually not the best strategy. In my experience, the most successful brands in partner marketing are those that have relationships with hundreds, if not thousands of partners, including bloggers, loyalty sites, deals, marketing sites. specialized content and traditional news and consumer content sites. It’s a bit like buying into a mutual fund, rather than investing in individual stocks; you are able to minimize your risk and give yourself several chances to reap rewards. Additionally, businesses are able to leverage the credibility of these partners, who have built valuable relationships with their readers and subscribers. It’s one thing for a business to place an ad saying a version of, “Our product is great!” It is quite another thing for an army of voices on the Internet to rave about what you are selling.

By keeping an eye out for newcomers, businesses can position themselves to take advantage of undervalued marketing opportunities. This approach also isolates brands from the whims of search engines, which can dramatically (and suddenly) downgrade a given marketing partner by tweaking their search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms slightly.

2. COTS CONTROL

The reason DailyCandy eventually got too expensive was that a lot of brands were competing for a small number of places. It’s the same reason a 30-second Super Bowl spot costs $ 5.5 million: simple supply and demand. In contrast, in partner marketing, businesses can decide how much they’re willing to pay for a conversion and then control the costs. There is no risk of “running out” of partner marketing opportunities, and so brands don’t have to worry about getting into bidding wars with price-pushing competitors. Instead of feeling at the mercy of the market, brands should essentially set their terms on what they want to pay in the market. It is a huge difference.

3. GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE

That $ 5.5 million prize for a Super Bowl commercial? It has very little to do with how well businesses can expect to see when making a purchase. (Rather, it’s a reflection of the fact that there are dozens of brands waiting backstage that would happily pay $ 5.4 million if given the chance.) Any business that has spent significant amounts of money in advertising and marketing has probably seen at least one campaign fail. , with little to show for the investment. In partnership marketing, however, brands only pay when customers take a step toward the purchase, such as clicking on an affiliate link. Better yet, companies can set different values ​​for different types of performance and compensate partners accordingly. For example: instead of partnering with a coupon or deal site to share traditional coupons or coupons, brands might instead launch a campaign offering discounts that require customers to purchase products in-store in a certain location. time frame to move inventory or meet strategic business goals; or brands can offer incentives to bloggers (or news sites, podcasters or influencers) to attract new customers to their digital doorstep.

Businesses today have the opportunity to move away from the way things have always been done. This strategy requires more management than traditional marketing (due to the large number of partners involved), but if done right, the results can be worth it. By focusing on the results they want and finding a wide range of partners who can achieve those results, business leaders can seize this moment and incorporate diversity into their marketing portfolios.


Matt Wool, President of Acceleration partners.


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