What's your background within the market, Simon?
I’ve had 10 years of experience in online commercial and product development. 2 of those were spent abroad in the US working in online media and the other 8 have been spent in the price comparison market. It’s been fascinating to watch the sector evolve over the years and see how the role of the affiliate has changed. I joined Broadbandchoices.co.uk in May 2009 and oversee our UK sales team as well as our white label network.
As Commercial Director, how important was it at broadbandchoices.co.uk to professionalise your activity within the market, and how did this benefit your day-to-day business?
SP: Extremely important. We’ve always viewed and conducted ourselves as a professional outfit right from day one and this has been one of the main reasons for our current positioning within the sector. We define ourselves by what we do for the consumers who visit our sites every day and because of this the business has grown from a single website in 2005 to a Tech Track 100 listed, multi-channel business with £11m turnover.
We never rest on our laurels though. We are constantly striving to improve our proposition and we are investing heavily in technology and infrastructure, which will ultimately give us the platform to scale the business.
What's up next for the business over the next 12 months?
SP: You can expect to see some fundamental changes to the broadbandchoices.co.uk site before the end of the year. We are very excited about these changes and there will be many product developments soon thereafter that will be of huge benefit to the customer, with problem solving tools that make finding the best broadband deal even easier.
We have also recently launched sites in France, Spain and Germany so the roll out in those territories is also going to be an exciting journey.
Why is delivering value beyond the sale as a publisher so important?
SP: The affiliate sector is maturing fast. 5+ years ago there was traffic aplenty to go around and people were making a lot of money from best buy tables and a bit of SEM.
Nowadays a site with a thin proposition such as this is simply not going to survive. We believe the sector is in the midst of an industrial revolution of sorts, and those affiliates that do not add value to their key stakeholders will quickly fall by the wayside.
What tips can you give to affiliates to improve the value of the customer's experience during the sale - and beyond?
SP: Without giving too much away from my presentation, understanding customer needs – what they want and what they don’t yet know they want - is key. It is also vital to know exactly who your customers are; so many businesses lose sight of this crucial factor. Along with this it is fundamentally important to get close to your advertisers. If you understand what it is that they need to achieve, you can ensure that you are on-message and can leverage your proposition to drive the right kind of customers to their products.