Anyone who has worked in the online (and indeed offline) incentive space will be familiar with the ancient retort of ‘we can’t discount because it might devalue our brand,’ or words to that effect. It’s a fairly legitimate concern for many retailers and brands. After all, they’ve worked tirelessly to build, evolve and protect their branding. Splashing themselves across hundreds of spammy voucher-based sites might not be exactly what their CMO had in mind when he or she signed off an affiliate marketing strategy.

Are Incentive-based Publishers Doing Enough?

When it comes to performance marketing, we know that account managers (and where applicable affiliate managers) will see the value that incentive-based publishers have on their bottom line week on week. But what about that retailer’s overall marketing strategy? These companies quite often spend millions of pounds producing above the line marketing campaigns and the question we really should be asking ourselves is this: Are incentive-based publishers, in general, doing enough to support and add value to the wider marketing mix? The second question we should therefore ask is: Are retailers themselves looking at performance-based incentive affiliates as a means of adding tangible value to their brand marketing strategies? From my experience, the answer to both of these questions is no, not really. OK, a nice blog post here and there may get thrown in for good measure, but that’s not really where I’m going with this.

Tie Incentives into Brand Marketing Strategies

In late 2012 Forbes reported that, ‘Every brand should be creating brand experiences both in-person and online in 2013. If you’re not creating them already, you’re late’. As a business, we’ve made it one of our priorities to offer advertisers the ability to tie-in incentives to their brand marketing strategies. For example, our platform is built to handle video content whereby the customer watches a short clip prior to accessing a voucher code

This enables brands to showcase products, influence purchasing decisions or simply educate new customers about their business (if they are new) prior to the click through. In fact, we’ve seen an average uplift in revenue of circa 40% when video content has been incorporated into the journey. This functionality also works on our mobile product.

Explore and Develop the age-old Infographic

We also developed the ‘gamergraphic’ (image below) which is our take on the famous infographic. The idea is that consumers can ‘jump in’ and receive an experience, rather than just reading the usual tips, stats and trivia. In this example we teamed up with

Zavvi provided a batch of unique voucher codes that were given out exclusively to the people who ‘completed’ the gamergraphic. As we built their brand into the storyboard, we realised that we’d achieved something really special; a new way of distributing voucher codes in a place where relevant, in-market consumers are already fully engaged.

These are just two of our own examples of how advertisers can integrate performance-based incentive sites into their brand marketing mix. More often than not understanding and being willing to test new ideas like these with forward-thinking publishers is the key to combining brand marketing and incentives on a performance marketing model.