More often than not agencies, networks and in-house managers are tackling the challenge of a global strategy and exploring routes in which to achieve success. ‘Global’ is now a word we hear at every conference and networking event with more brands taking on more emerging markets. As the industry moves into bigger surroundings, we need to make sure clients are too. So many strategies can be aligned to an affiliate campaign but the most powerful growth strategy is a global one. Whether the brand is small or large there is a huge space and market out there for them to explore. 

The thought of approaching a global campaign can be somewhat frightening. Especially as not everyone who works within digital or affiliates can speak over 40 languages or has lived and breathed the industry within every continent. It’s the unknown that can be daunting. The following tips will hopefully assist with some of those questions you may have around what the difference is between a single market and a global campaign, and how to manage it. 

What and How Big is the Challenge?

Establishing the size of the challenge is realising the potential of the campaign. This is your first port of call – which markets are you not in that you want to be, and how do you get there? 

Make a clear, concise plan or roadmap which outlines the target markets and the strategy that you will use to succeed within them. One of the key things to remember here is how much you are taking on. Not everything can be done at once. Depending on the vertical or client, the need for a local network will either be essential or not. Identifying the necessity for a market-specific network is really important in the early stages. A roadmap of priority markets is also beneficial at this stage of the campaign; as taking on too many new markets at once can often lead to mis-management, resulting in only scanning the surfaces of each individual market. Whereas if you take the time to really research each and every market, you can learn and immerse yourself into what your campaign will need to do to be a success.

Affiliate Networks

This is where you could end up making the wrong decision on your strategy and it could be to the detriment of the campaign performance. Be cautious when deciding if you need a network at all, but if you are taking a new network on board do everything you can to make sure it’s the right one. A few things to consider when deciding on whether or not you need a network to conquer the new market are:

  • Do you need local market insight and language support? Affiliate Network
  • Does your campaign have an existing affiliate/partner who you know already operates successfully within that market? Direct
  • Do you require access to a pool of new affiliates within the market? Affiliate Network
  • Does your market growth strategy have cost restrictions around it and are you on a budget? Direct
  • Do you require support with multiple currencies tracking and reporting? Affiliate Network

It’s about knowing your options and what is available to you. For example, an airline or hotel brand may be able to successfully move into a market purely on metasearch relationships which can be tracked outside of a network, but will still be classed as the performance channel. Whereas retail requires a whole pool of engaged affiliates and you may need local network knowledge and language to access and execute those relationships well. 

Research is Essential

Understanding a new market and how it works can be very difficult if you’re not immersed within it. So it’s time to research. Explore competitors programs, forums, and local industry publications. Use the people you know within the industry too – connections can be extremely valuable at this stage of your strategy and more often than not you will find out about existing or emerging networks and people’s experience with them.

Step outside of the box

When managing a global affiliate campaign you can do one of two things; you can create a strategy much similar to that of a single market campaign and hope it grows. Or you can think outside of the box and develop a solid, bespoke path which will involve opportunities that you’ve never thought of or which didn’t make sense before.  

It’s something you quickly learn when dealing with a multi-market campaign: diversity is key, and you and your client must be open and prepared to evolve the campaign at a faster pace than that of a single market one. Look at all opportunities, try them out, and you may find that they work for one market, but not another. Our affiliates are our experts and it becomes obvious pretty quickly that if video works in India for example, but not in France, then we should not rule out video as an overall opportunity. 

Key Considerations

So there you have it, a basic insight into a global campaign and what to look out for. Some key takeaways are:

  • Don’t be afraid or shy away from the challenge and the unknown – a market should not be ruled out as an option because there’s a lack of information on it.
  • Establish what markets you want to be in, and create a strategy around how to do that.
  • Is a new network essential? Don’t assume that it is – make sure you’re bringing on a local network for the right reasons.
  • Do your research – the more in-depth research you can do, the better understanding you will have when selling a strategy to your client.
  • Explore and trust new opportunities – it’s time to think big, if you want to be big. Don’t rule out something that might have not worked in the UK before, as it could work really well for another market.