ADVISORY COLUMN

Affiliate Marketing is the Hidden Secret Your Brand Needs to Succeed By Greg Shepard
 

Wikipedia defines affiliate marketing as “a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.” Basically, it’s third parties helping brands and small businesses sell their products and, in return, taking a percentage of each sale. But let’s dig deeper and take a look at just how much affiliate marketing has grown since 1989 when William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts, launched what was to become the first affiliate program on the Prodigy Network. 

Affiliate Marketing is the Elephant In the Room

As background, affiliate marketing has four main participants: the merchant (also known as retailer or brand), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as the affiliate) and the customer.

If you aren’t familiar with affiliate marketing, you might not know that it is a $4.2 billion dollar business set to grow to $6.8 billion by 2020. Or that nearly 7,000 marketers attend a conference called Affiliate Summit twice each year. Or that 80% of advertisers allocate 10% of their marketing budget to affiliate marketing. That last stat comes from a new report conducted by Forrester Consulting entitled Networks Help Drive Affiliate Marketing Into the Mainstream.

You also might not know that in the past year or two affiliate network Commission Junction (and all its subsidiaries) was acquired by digital marketing firm Conversant (formerly known as ValueClick) which was then acquired by data marketer Alliance Data for $2.3 billion; Ebates was acquired by Japanese ecommerce firm Rakuten for $1 billion and, most recently, eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions acquired AffiliateTraction which, collectively, was then acquired by investment firms Banneker Partners and Permira Funds.
 
In all, that’s over $4 billion invested in a space which many have traditionally cast off as slightly off center and a bit outside the center of the larger marketing world. Thatkind of money doesn’t get thrown around without some serious forethought and ample confidence of return on investment.      CONTINUE READING

INTERESTING READS:

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
THE SOFT SKILLS OF GREAT DIGITAL ORGANIZATIONS

Smart organizations have recognized that introducing new technology into the workplace isn’t about hardware or software: it’s about wetware, also known as human beings. If you want to be the kind of nimble business that can make the most of successive waves of tech innovation, you need human beings who can adapt to change. CONTINUE READING

WIRED AI IS TRANSFORMING GOOGLE SEARCH. THE REST OF THE WEB IS NEXT.

YESTERDAY, THE 46-YEAR-OLD Google veteran who oversees the company’s search engine, Amit Singhal, announced his retirement. And in short order, Google revealed that Singhal’s rather enormous shoes would be filled by a man named John Giannandrea. On one level, these are just two guys doing something new with their lives. But you can also view the pair as the ideal metaphor for a momentous shift in the way things work inside Google—and across the tech world as a whole.  CONTINUE READING

THE NEW YORK TIMES 
WILDLY POPULAR APP KIK OFFERS TEENAGERS , AND PREDATORS, ANNOYMIT

The allegations are beyond chilling: two Virginia Tech freshmen charged with the premeditated kidnapping and killing of a 13-year-old girl who, authorities say, communicated with her murderer online. But the way they chatted — on a wildly popular messaging app called Kik — has increasingly become a source of concern for law enforcement. CONTINUE READING

FUSION WHY MESSAGING IS THE FUTURE OF THE NEWS BRAND

Quartz released its new app today, and it looks very much like a messaging app. Which is smart, because for anybody trying to build a news brand today, messaging is clearly the most important new area to conquer, and right now the field is wide open.

There are two big reasons for this: reach and branding.  CONTINUE READING

 

FOUNDER'S NOTE

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” 
Winston Churchill

Can  Anyone Tell Me How The Movie Ends?

When I first began my career all I wanted to be was a strategic consultant. They were the company rock stars…flying to exotic locations, expense accounts, dinners in the best restaurants.  And so I put my head down and worked.  I worked until I too became the sought after expert that everyone wanted to have on their projects.  But what nobody told me is that behind all the “glitz” was a whole lot of “grunt”.

A young consultant’s life is gruelling. A typical week starts before dawn on Monday, with a rush to the airport and a flight to wherever the client is based. A typical brain-for-hire can expect to stay in hotels at least three nights a week, gorging on minibar peanuts and glumly texting a distant lover.

So the job appeals to “insecure overachievers”—a phrase widely used in the industry—“who are always worried that they haven’t done enough work.” Some 60-65% of consultants are recent college-leavers. Most drop out within a few years and take more settled jobs elsewhere in the business world, where their experience and contacts allow them to slot in several notches above their less-travelled counterparts.
CONTINUE READING

 

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