In order to provide more of a voice for its growing base of publishers, performance marketing network Tradedoubler, has announced the launch of its Publisher Connect Programme.

Not content with running other various ‘Connect’ sessions, such as Fashion Connect and Travel Connect, the Swedish-founded firm now plans on kick-starting one solely focused on publishers.

The news follows hot on the heels of the PMI London event, where plenty of discussions took place about the need for more, and varied, publisher feedback.

Tradedoubler’s new initiative is being run in conjunction with its business incubator scheme, The Zoo Project.

Tradedoubler’s network director North West, Andrew Copeland, said the Publisher Connect Programme introduces a series of events designed specifically for publishers outside of the perceived ‘big players’.

The first event will be held in January and will take the form of an insight session followed by a business review. The attendees from the first event will also form the initial members of the Publisher Connect Focus Group – which it then hopes to expand throughout the year.

We caught up with Copeland to find out more about the reasons behind the new initiative:

Why have you decided to create this publisher focus group?

AC: Over the past two years Tradedoubler has invested heavily in the publisher side of our business and this is the next step in that process. We’re committed to building long-term relationships with our publishers to ensure that we’re developing our network in a way which works for our partners. This focus group is specifically for publishers who don’t get a lot of attention across the industry. We want to ensure that all of our publishers have a voice within the network, regardless of size, and we feel that creating a dedicated environment to gain feedback from our publishers is a natural progression in our publisher strategy.  

But why now?

AC: We want to maximise the interaction with the focus group in 2014 so it was important we launch the programme now so as to hold the first event in January. Q4 is upon us and it is a busy time of year so we’ve purposely kept the requirements short in order to encourage participation.

What would your ideal publisher focus group look like?

AC: We already hold panels for publishers who run activity through our technology platform so this is an extension of that. I envisage this focus group to be made up of publishers outside of the usual suspects. Our aim is to attract publishers who have smaller sites, operate in niche verticals or we feel are underrepresented in the industry. There are more than sufficient opportunities for larger publishers to make themselves heard. Our aim is to provide the same platform to all publishers.

Are you anticipating a lot of requests to join the group?

AC: We’re anticipating a great response (we’ve already had enquiries coming through which is great). We’ll also be adding to the group over the course of 2014. So while we initially have 10 spaces for the first event, we’ll be continually inviting more publishers to join.

How exactly will you decide who joins?

AC: We’re looking for a mix of existing client integrations and new, innovative ideas. Ultimately, the decision will be based on the strength of the submission and the evaluation will take into account the opportunity to support that particular publisher in either replicating the success, or turning the innovative idea into reality. As with our business incubator, The Zoo Project, these need not necessarily be existing affiliate ideas. Rather what we’re interested in is moving the performance marketing industry forward by getting as many different businesses actively involved as possible.

How is forming this new group going to help the following three:

i) Tradedoubler?

AC: Any time you can improve the feedback process between your business and your partners, you’re on to a good idea. Our objective for the focus group is to provide an environment where we can actively engage with a much broader group of publishers, both in terms of business model and size. Tradedoubler has big plans for 2014 and we want to ensure that our publishers are part of steering those plans and that we’re delivering the right tools and features.

ii) Publishers?

AC: Again, the publishers we envisage being part of this focus group are underrepresented in our industry. We want to break down the barriers and provide a collaborative environment where all publishers are given the opportunity to be heard and their feedback is acted upon. We already offer business reviews to any publisher on our network, simply by them contacting our publisher team. We’ll elaborate on this process with the focus group members by building in access to The Zoo Project and the knowledge that we hold there.   

iii) The wider performance marketing industry?

AC: Increasing the number of active, vocal members of the industry can only be a good thing. We want to create an engaging environment where the important issues of the day are discussed and a forum for publishers to share experiences.

Deadline for entries is December 6.