Partnerize

Partnerize delivers the software platform and expert service that help the world’s leading brands create operating leverage by turning their partnership channels into profit centers.

How partner marketing is adapting for the modern era

Partner marketing has proven to be an effective strategy for reaching interested audience members and taking them through the sales journey. What started primarily as online affiliate-style marketing has evolved and matured to encompass many different forms of digital partnering, extending beyond publisher relationships to encompass partnerships with influencers, complementary brands or retailers, and many other forms of audience aggregators.

However, not all aspects of partner marketing have evolved at the same pace. For instance, the emergence of tightly controlled affiliate networks has meant the focus has been on volume over quality and efficiency. This has stifled innovation in the broader partner marketing channel.

Today’s brand marketers need access to a wide range of partners to maximise reach and conversion. However, they also need to ensure they are doing so in the most efficient way possible, in terms of the time and money they invest in partner marketing.

Innovative new methods and processes are essential to ensuring that users of partner marketing are maximising the value of their investments.

The evolution of partner marketing

While other forms of digital marketing have evolved significantly since their origins more than two decades ago, legacy affiliate networks have struggled to keep up with the changing nature of digital channels, and customer expectations and journeys.

Most notably, old style affiliate marketing networks focus only on the moment of conversion. While this is obviously a critical stage in the buyer’s journey, offering payouts only to those affiliates who have reported the conversion event fails to reward the many other partners who might have helped take the customer on that journey.

For example, there are many scenarios where a customer’s decision was swayed by content created by influencers or review sites, but where their desire to get the best possible price has led them to seek out a discount coupon. If the brand only rewards the coupon provider, this leaves those other influencing partners out in the cold. Hence new techniques are needed to understand the customer journey and appropriately reward those partners who have moved them along it.

When affiliate networks focus on a pure volume model as it relates to partner composition, and lack proper attribution and compensation models, partner composition will fail to meet diversify requirements, and ‘last click’ partners will dominate. To gain a true understanding of the performance of each partner, markets require better reporting regarding each partner. Improved partner selection and automation of onboarding and other communications are also essential to an efficient partner marketing model that brings desired levels of diversity to help marketers achieve audience reach goals.

And finally, marketers today require pinpoint accuracy regarding audience attributes to maximise the efficiency of their spend. Networks that are unable to provide granular information about the audiences of their affiliates and their performance are failing to fully serve a marketer’s needs.

The future of partner marketing

At its heart, partner marketing is a pay-for-performance channel, and as such offers incredible value to brands. But at the same time, brands should demand the absolute best from their partner marketing programs to maximise their reach and efficiency. 

Getting the best out of partner marketing means first having a clear understanding of which partners are important for achieving optimal audience reach, and then having the tools to onboard them quickly. This means being able to understand the role that each partner plays in the customer journey, and then reward them accordingly. And it means being able to constantly monitor and fine tune the partner program to add or remove partners as performance and goals dictate.

Effective partner marketing also requires marketers to look beyond legacy models of affiliate networks whose value is primarily in their volume and focus on adopting tools that can better help them plan and manage their partnering relationships.

This new approach to partner marketing enables brands to understand where their customers are researching their products across multiple contributors, publishers, influencers, and bloggers. This insight helps them influence their customers' transition from consideration to purchase, while being able to directly attribute the contribution each partner makes to conversion.

In this way, partner marketing can play an important role in improving customer experience and building lifetime customer value.

Partner marketing extends brand reach and is a proven driver of conversion, and its role in building consideration early in the buyer’s journey is becoming well understood. Brand marketers therefore need modern tools and techniques to fully realise the potential of partners through all stages of the customer journey.

By taking a new approach to partner marketing and its operation based around automation and insights, brand marketers can create programs that drive efficiency in marketing spend, while also creating a smoother experience for their customers.

To learn more about how Partnerize can support your growth goals for 2022, visit www.partnerize.com or get in touch at www.partnerize.com/contact.

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