Affiliate Marketing is a fundamental part of the online marketing mix and I personally see a lot of potential. In today’s market the client focus is more important than ever. Rising expectations and new standards define the role of an affiliate marketing network in the current online marketing landscape. To stay on top, changes need to be made to stay effective and close to the client.

In our case, we developed existing initiatives further and for our SME project took learnings from our subsidiary Affiliate Window, operating in the more mature UK market, to reorganise our overall sales organisation. Thus, we rolled-out the approach of targeted sales offers in a B2B-business to all our 11 core markets. We took some time to elaborate and customise the concept to suit multiple markets with a variety of different needs. Taking both the advertiser and publisher perspective into account, we have defined four areas to offer more value to them: publisher development, publisher quality, global account management and SME business.

How does a targeted sales approach benefit the customer?

As an affiliate network, one challenge is two-way communication: two heterogeneous client groups, reflecting different requirements and views on the same business, need to be approached individually. The sales approach has to be targeted to their needs. Of course advertisers and publishers have also things in common: e.g. the basis for partnering is trust and reliability. To enhance the trust in our publisher network, we have added extra focus on the topics of publisher quality and publisher development. These two areas allow us to serve our advertisers better by providing them with relevant, qualitative partners and value adding services to boost their sales and leads. Qualitative publishers in return, benefit from more attractive and diverse offerings of advertiser programmes.  As publishers are one important pillar of the mutual affiliate marketing success, we offer individual publisher development support. Promising publisher models are supported in expanding their business whether growing their business in their home market or international expansion. Constant improvements in publisher quality play another important role when it comes to partnerships in our network. We have extended our activities in this field with an initiative that includes guidance, constant auditing of the overall network and a dedicated team to ensure our standards are met.

On the advertiser side we also carved out two focus topics that will be beneficial – Global Account Management and SME business.

With our new approach to Global Account Management we have decided to further modernise this part of our business. A dedicated team of industry professionals takes on new global clients with an approach customised to their needs. Advertisers strongly benefit from this new internal structure as they find the offering that fits their goals best. By supporting global clients with one central team, but also having local experts in each of our office, we are a true partner for global success. Together we define KPIs and goals of their affiliate marketing activities and match them with relevant publishers that convert.

Another important and promising client group are small and medium enterprises (SME). From a business perspective, a dedicated management of this client group is key: providing the best service with an effective internal structure. Standardised processes and making use of synergies allows us to enhance the service for SME clients matching a competitive pricing structure that benefits all parties. SME clients have different expectations and budgets but aim for the same success as the toptail. With our reorganisation we were able to create dedicated teams to service both advertiser groups comprehensively. Publishers therefore benefit from a broader advertiser pool to select the most relevant and best performing partners for their success and vice-versa.

Creating and implementing an extensive strategy to sharpen the focus towards distinct client groups is a challenge, but from today’s point of view it is well worth the effort. A few months into this project we already see uplift in many areas of our business – especially in the strongest KPI: revenue. Even though we have observed this trend already in the UK, we are delighted to see it also works on a global scale.

I personally can only recommend sharpening the focus from time to time. Staying ahead of business and upcoming market and/or client requirements is what sets one apart from the competition and leads to long-lasting partnerships – the essence of our business.