As many as three-fifths of British marketing graduates have “no memory” of learning about the affiliate sector or performance-based marketing practices, according to a poll conducted by affiliate network affilinet. 

The commissioned research was conducted on 1,388 respondents who graduated with at least a 2:2 degree in marketing from a UK university since 2014, finding a “lack of understanding” among tutors to be the core reason cited for a shortfall in knowledge. 

While just 41% of graduates claimed to remember courses containing dedicated modules to affiliate and performance marketing, the majority of those (67%) stated that information related to affiliate practices was “outdated and unhelpful”. 

Career demands

Of those respondents who didn’t remember being taught about the practices, however, more than half (52%) admitted that they’d had to self-teach themselves on the subject because of their resulting jobs and career path, with 22% learning through courses later on. 

The remaining 26%, meanwhile, had no knowledge of affiliate practices whatsoever. 

Behind a lack of understanding among lecturers and professors (38%), key reasons cited by respondents for leaving with a lack of education included universities hesitance to change course to accommodate affiliate strategies (22%), the sector’s ever-changing nature (18%), degrees being already overloaded with information (12%), and the area being to difficult to assess knowledge on (10%). 

Barrier to growth

A lack of fresh blood entering the affiliate and performance industry is often cited as a key blocker to the channel’s growth and development, while its absence on course syllabuses can be seen to muddy its perception among mainstream marketing strategies, and as a result, serve as a potential barrier to advertiser spend.  

“Whilst it’s true that the affiliate sector is still a relatively new and ever-changing industry, the fact that such a high number of British marketers are leaving university without even a basic grasp of what affiliate marketing is is somewhat concerning,” commented affilinet’s senior marketing manager, Sophie Parry-Billings. 

“We need to work as an industry to ensure we are educating the next wave of graduates about the industry and the career opportunities it holds.”