With regards to the Best New Entrant in Affiliate Marketing entry, you were up against some impressive competition for this category, how pleased were you that 'Affiliate Window for Sainsbury's' was the outright winner?
Sainsbury’s was one of the few major brands yet to have an affiliate programme so when we heard of their plans to launch a new online proposition over two years ago, we were excited at the prospect of having a blank canvas on which to work. From the outset, Sainsbury’s involved us in the entire project and we developed extremely close ties with all the key stakeholders within the business. We were able to enlighten them on some of the frustrations we have with handling older platform technology and ensure their systems were built and designed with the affiliate sector in mind. All this led to the most ideal launch conditions and the careful, meticulous planning paid off. Within Affiliate Window, it is widely regarded as one of our most successful programme launches but to have this reaffirmed by winning this award is something of which the team can be particularly proud.
The judges were pleased with your careful planning and collaboration with all stakeholders prior to launch. Why is this a must when launching within the Affiliate sector?
Too often in digital marketing each channel is dealt with entirely separately and it is rare for the different agencies involved in a brand’s strategy to actually combine their efforts to devise a truly holistic approach. This is unfathomable when you consider how closely the channels interact with each other and the many touch points involved in a sale. What differed with Sainsbury’s approach was a willingness to sit each channel manager and agency representative around a table and share all the plans in an open and transparent manner. This was absolutely crucial to the campaign’s success and ensured total visibility and understanding on each channel’s responsibilities. A positive relationship still exists today between all the stakeholders and I’m certain this will continue to bear fruit as the campaign matures.
Still recognised as the Affiliate's choice of Network, how pleased are you with winning this award again?
Peer recognition is the ultimate accolade so to win this for the fourth year running is very special indeed. The award acts as a real incentive for us to constantly reassess what we are doing in the market and examine how we are perceived. We are genuinely honoured to have received this for 2010 and hope we can continue to provide market leading service throughout the next year.
Why do you think you are still leading the way within this category, sponsored by Existem-am?
We stick rigidly to our belief that we operate a hybrid business that must lead the way in both service and technology. It’s not an easy task as the two sometimes sit in opposition but we hope we have managed to find the perfect balance. However, the overriding reason is the calibre of people we are fortunate to have working for us. They work tirelessly on behalf of all our clients and this award is really a reflection of their commitment and dedication.
What can we expect from Affiliate Window over the next year?
We introduced project Darwin to the market some time ago and we now have over 4000 affiliate profiles complete. This placed a big demand on affiliate’s time and required a change in mindset for the vast majority of our partners. Thankfully for affiliates, the next phase of the project won’t require any affiliate effort and is designed to make the process of finding merchants in the system a whole lot better. Following along the same transparency theme, affiliates will soon enjoy vast improvements to merchants’ listing details and clear information on programme policies and rules. This will go some way to complete the picture on what Darwin is all about and will form the foundations for future improvements.
With a development team now 40 strong you can rest assured that the network has many plans up its sleeve and after a consecutive 3 years of receiving the Network Innovation Award, we’re keen to reclaim this accolade.
Sponsored by UK Web Media, the Account Manager award was very competitive,with well known and respected account managers amongst the shortlist. What is it that continually keeps Julie at the top of this list?
For ten years Julie Wood has enhanced affiliate marketing with her personal approach, creativity, passion, enthusiasm and a tireless approach to delivering more for her merchants and affiliates. She is a true asset to the community.
@ Julie - how does it feel to win the award for the second time?
I was tickled pink! It’s great to be recognised by the industry for the job that I do, it reminds me that all that effort does make a difference so I should keep going that extra mile.
I am so pleased to have been part of the affiliate channel from the beginning, to have witnessed the industry become a polished and professional channel; the a4uAwards embody this development and that makes my success even more rewarding.