In anticipation of his upcoming Affiliate Management Days conference presentation, A Practical Guide to Affiliate Recruitment, our very own Geno Prussakov interviewed Wade Tonkin, Affiliate Manager of Fanatics, Inc. View the Q-and-A below to see what Wade has to say about managing affiliate programs as well as online marketing, in general. Also, see what’s in store for AM Days 2016.
Question: If you were to emphasize one important issue that every affiliate manager should be paying more attention to, what would it be and why?
Wade: I wish that every affiliate manager out there had access to metrics that showed the incrementality of business in their program on a per affiliate level. This would empower affiliate managers (both in-house and outsourced) to make much better decisions with how they invest their commission dollars.
Question: What was the most important marketing lesson that you learned in 2015?
Wade: I don’t think it’s a new finding, but 2015 for me was a great year in that we saw some outstanding performances from content affiliates that really reinforced our commitment to reaching out for passionate content affiliates to promote our programs. It was a win for us on a number of levels in terms of brand exposure, new customers acquired and in terms of revenue growth.
Question: What do you believe to be the main areas of opportunity in 2016 – for online marketers, in general, and for affiliate marketers, in particular?
Wade: Mobile really exploded in 2015 and continues to grow for us. I think that affiliate marketing is just scratching the surface in terms of offering great experiences to shoppers in mobile environments. We’re looking forward to continued growth in this area as we continue to identify what works in this space and as the best publishers surface.
Question: What do you believe to be the biggest challenge advertisers with affiliate programs face, and what steps could help them overcome it?
Wade: I think that the biggest challenge advertisers with affiliate programs face is a lack of understanding of the real value that different kinds of affiliates bring to the table. There’s so much he said/she said out there on whether coupon sites or loyalty sites deliver value. It’s important to dive into the data and find out for yourself. Once you have an understanding of this, you can really get a lot smarter about coming up with payment structures that reward the affiliates who drive actual value to your company or client.
Question: Please give us 1-3 reasons why marketers should attend your AM Days 2016 presentation, A Practical Guide to Affiliate Recruitment.
Wade: I’ll be giving a very practical session on how and why you should be working every day to attract targeted affiliates to your program. Many programs are reliant on their affiliate network as a source of affiliates and the networks should be your starting point. Come to my session and you will take away some tips on how to identify potential affiliates and how to approach them in a way that will move the needle for you and add value to your business.
Wade: Take responsibility for your program’s growth and profitability and aggressively work to build it the right way. Many merchants are over-reliant on network management teams to grow their program. This can be a bad idea because the goals of the network aren’t always harmonious with your goals as a merchant. Educate yourself and network with other managers so you have the best possible understanding of the business and use all the resources at your disposal to grow a program that is a winner for both your company and your affiliates.