Yesterday saw the IAB’s annual Performance Marketing Seminar take place, with a line up of industry experts from BT, Trade Doubler, Affiliate Window, Affilinet, Legal and General, Tesco and our very own European Managing Director, Paul Wright.
The session was filled with insights from all angles: the brand, agency, network and of course, technology perspective. If you didn’t make it along to the jam packed event, that’s ok, because we took plenty of notes to share!
The session started with Steve Wilson, Digital Director at BT. Steve shared insights into how to optimise your affiliate marketing by aligning the affiliate and brand objectives more closely. As an industry we are becoming very focused on one action and not on the impact performance marketing can have on the whole digital strategy. Performance marketing doesn’t exist in isolation, and we need to remember that. Steve goes on to state that “Affiliate marketing is exceptional at driving incremental sales.” However, brands have bigger concerns than just sales performance and ROI. Brand awareness, customer engagement, value proposition, customer lifetime value, net promoter scores, direct response and reputation management are all other factors that brands are concerned about in regards to their marketing efforts. In order to overcome these challenges, brands need to be working closer with their affiliates to achieve optimum customer lifetime value from their new acquisitions. Steve claimed that the industry should be rewarding affiliates that are driving this to encourage a more unified approach to affiliate marketing between brand and publisher.
Paul Wright, CAKE’S European Managing Director took to the stage next to share the pros and cons around the performance marketing challenge: In-house vs outsourced networks. Paul encouraged brands to separate technology from management and optimise through best in class offerings. Brands should channel cost savings back into resource and CPAs to increase performance and consider data privacy when evaluating in-house vs outsourced. The main point of his session topic facing a lot of brands presently, is not whether either option is better than the other, or more cost effective, it’s about which option is better for you and your brand. There is an assumption that an in-house managed network lends itself better to bigger brands, but this isn’t always the case. Brands also need to look at the needs of their publishers. Some publishers are resistant to being managed in house due to commercial kickbacks from networks, brands need to understand the publisher motivations. So in conclusion, there is no right or wrong answer to this question, it’s ultimately what is best for YOUR brand.
Aftab Aslam, Account Director at Tradedoubler then went on to talk about The Connected Consumer and Disconnected Solutions. It is now apparent that we are trying to reach connected consumers through disconnected solutions, another problem within the digital landscape. The landscape is changing so rapidly that 32% of CMOs within a survey have said that in 5 years time, they will not know what a marketing campaign will look like in advance, due to the real-time approach advertisers are now taking. Campaigns will unfold before you. However there is light at the end of the tunnel, technology is addressing the challenges and complexities the industry is facing right now.
Russell O’Sullivan, Snr Digital Marketing Manager for Legal and General then gave a brand perspective on how they used affiliate marketing to overcome a 20% deficit in their Q1 sales forecast. Russell focused on the need to have a deep, integrated partnership with your network agency, in order to have the best working relationship with your publishers. He also highlighted the challenge previously mentioned around CLV. Russell suggested brands ask their affiliates “what can you do for me today, to make sure my customer doesn’t leave in 11 months time?” He proposed that brands encompass cross sells in their strategy and leverage their top 10 publishers to increase customer retention.
We then saw case studies from:
- Afilinet – about publishers influencing sales beyond the last click and how innovative some affiliates were being with their campaigns
- Criteo and Return Path – about the power of targeted e-mails. There were some interesting stats around e-mail, for example did you know the first email was sent in 1971!? The session ended with the bold statement from Criteo that “Re-targeting by e-mail is the future”.
- Tesco – The session ended with Melanie Mack showcasing the importance of having well rounded experience within the media marketing field. Being able to see your strategy from the point of the view of the brand, agency, and network allows you to work more efficiently.
There were many interesting and thought provoking points raised throughout the session, but in particular a point that really resonated was, that the measurement of last click shows that conversion is poor, but is it really? Is the last click actually designed to do something else in the customer journey, for example raise brand awareness? We need to stop looking at last click alone, as ROI measurement. Looking at the whole journey and all the touch points involved is a more efficient way of measuring your activity. So, ultimately it seems that advertisers need a solution that can help them track that entire journey for better ROI. We know of a solution that can help with that…Request a demo.