Describe your job at Affiliate Window
The fashion specialist researches and recruits new / promising fashion and beauty publishers. Finding them is one thing but actually getting them onto the network and utilising performance marketing is a very different challenge!
Potential publishers range from fashion aggregator sites to Tumblr users to vbloggers and I love exploring all avenues to try and find new sites. There are so many helpful tools out there which definitely helps.
Once the publishers are engaged and signed up, I follow up by introducing them to relevant advertisers that I think match their site’s style. This is vital since you never want to compromise the style or independence of the publisher/blogger.
Why is fashion intrinsically linked with performance marketing?
VM: Performance marketing enables advertisers to connect with websites and blogs that can act as an extended sales arm for their particular product/ brand on a highly cost effective pay on performance model. Through publishers, especially niche content sites and blogs, advertisers are gaining access to a pool of websites that are helping to increase brand awareness for their store, not to mention access to a highly targeted customer base which is vital in such a competitive industry.
Successful partnerships will see publishers act as brand ambassadors for fashion advertisers and play a highly influential role in a consumers’ decision to purchase their products. With the continued growth of online retail, publishers are establishing themselves as an integral part of an advertisers’ online marketing campaign.
What hurdles do fashion publishers face?
VM: They’re not paid enough. Working through other channels, publishers could end up with bigger rewards but it’s my job to change that. Publishers are faced with the task of producing compelling, genuinely interesting content and encouraging the purchase of a sale. It’s a tricky balancing act and one of the reasons I’m a firm believer in sponsored posts and CPM/CPC opportunities.
It’s difficult to stay ahead of the competition in most industries but in the fashion sector there are new blogs, communities and social shopping platforms popping up every day. Prolonged success is likely to be achieved by those constantly innovating and looking for new ways to engage users as well as those who develop key unique selling points. Establishing yourself from the crowd and ensuring that on-site content is fresh and exciting will encourage return visitors and help build a community of loyal followers.
How should fashion advertisers nurture their relationships with publishers?
VM: There are a few gems where actually your brand will be the perfect fit for a publisher but these are few and far between and the promises of discounts, extra percentage points of commission etc. are rarely enough to stand out from the crowd.
Offering something unique is one of the differentiators that helps motivate but only if it’s relevant to that publisher’s audience. In the world of blogging, the power sits largely with the bloggers which is at odds with the rest of performance marketing and is often difficult for advertisers to comprehend. Those that are flexible in their offerings and give sneak peek insights into their company’s latest product line and trends before they go public can be just as successful as financial investment. Successful motivators are those who understand that bloggers value each and every blog post and that their motivations for writing are to voice their opinion on products and brands they like. Their recommendations influence sales but don’t always secure them and rewarding bloggers appropriately helps them spend more time on their blog, build their community and grow their following. The retailers who invested in them early on will always be remembered. And who knows you may hit the jackpot and back the next Sartorialist or Style Bubble!
Press days and events for both your top performing and long tail publishers is also a great motivational tool. I strongly agree with Stuart Ralph’s recent article about Publisher days where he states: “performance marketing has technology at its core, however unlike most other internet marketing channels, it still relies heavily on people. It falls into the relationship marketing category; relationship comes before marketing.”
What does the future hold for fashion in the performance channel?
VM: I would really like to see more innovative mobile apps come into the channel from fashion publishers alongside more mobile optimised publisher sites. We see 12% of our click traffic from mobile devices but only 7% of sales; this suggests a badly optimised customer journey. Engaging and interactive apps for the attention poor, tech savvy consumer will undoubtedly help drive the fashion industry forward.