After years of running digital marketing, pitching my strategies to a CMO and now sitting in the CMO seat, I’ve learned a valuable lesson on how to evaluate and choose the right marketing strategy. Thus, having been in both roles, I’ve learnt ways to successfully pitch ideas and today I want to share them.

First off, let me introduce myself. I am CMO at Affise, a partner marketing platform for brands, advertisers, and agencies. I joined Affise after working with RingCentral as their Digital and Growth EMEA Director. During my time at RingCentral, I supported the company in their growth to $1bn ARR, maintaining the expansion into Europe and APAC. Right now I am focusing on Affise’s geographic expansion in regions where partnerships, affiliate marketing and the advertising economy as a whole are showing tremendous growth.

To ensure we are all on the same page, what is partner marketing?

By partner marketing we mean a brand collaboration with another business or several businesses to expand marketing reach, build brand awareness, increase customer base and the total number of achieved marketing goals. Partnership campaigns are deemed to be mutually beneficial and help both parties reach their objectives.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most common forms of partner marketing. The popularity of partner marketing has been steadily growing due to its attractive offer. With comparatively low investments you can tap into the perfect fit market of interest in your product buyers. 

If brand awareness and sales increase are one of your objectives, you should definitely look into partner marketing as a part of your strategy.

How do you present partner marketing to your marketing team?

Now, as we are all talking about the same things, let’s cover my top tips for convincing your leadership team the investment is worthwhile. 

1. Partner marketing is outcome based

As a CMO we care about several things but ROI is definitely one of the most important. We all want to work with profitables channels that bring measurable campaign results. And today marketers in general are more focused on revenue than ever before.

Some things are predictable when it comes to upfront costs and measurable partner marketing. One of the strongest advantages is its price scheme. Partner marketing these days runs on CPA – cost per action/acquisition, which means you don’t pay in vain, you pay for the desired action. This is unique to digital marketing compared to Facebook, Google, LinkedIn which work on Cost per Click or Cost per Impression and usually demand larger budgets to see results. Compared to many marketing strategies, partner marketing is a low risk channel to get started and versatile on designing product reputation and creatives.

2. Technology vs human resources

Right, you’ve convinced them that it’s an affordable channel. The following question is always going to be “what about the human and tech resources we need for this?”. I can’t answer this for you, as it depends on how you are running your programme. However, there is a brief description of how it functions.

Partner programme management is one of the expense categories you need to consider in terms of both technology and personnel. Initially, you may distribute tasks within your team or devote one marketer particularly for this task. But either way you need at least one account manager to address all matters related to coordinating marketing collateral, drawing and registering affiliates, adhering to the rules and policies, etc. However, when you start to scale, the advice will obviously be to expand the headcount to win more partners. And once you scale your partner programme, it picks up the snowball effect and results in the visible revenue growth. No way your CMO will regret the decision to expand the staff then.

While talking about that, also emphasise the automation features that releases you from the need to employ more staff. Yes, you still need people, but also mention possibilities that platform provides in terms of automation of the workflow. It’s the technology that takes all the routine, while programme managers coordinate work with your business partners that drive you sales.

3. We can scale it and go global

Global expansion is on the lips of all CEOs these days. Going global is often a strategy. Actually since Covid-19 and the acceleration in both Digital Transformation and Ecommerce marketers are more eager to invest into new regions, as virtually there are no borders. You can either ship products or take care of local warehouses and distribution.

A partnership programme is a perfect way to drive rapid growth for your company globally. As I’ve already mentioned, scaling in partner marketing has a snowball effect. Some of our customers experience revenue growth by 200%. As you scale you have more and more trustworthy partners driving sales to your product through their credibility. With influencer marketing booming it shouldn’t be difficult to find “brand ambassadors” in any vertical and region you are particularly interested in.

4. Marketing is changing 

Right, don’t get yourself in trouble here, you don’t want the CMO to think you are teaching them how to do their job. But, marketing is changing, again the acceleration from Covid for one, but also the increased usership of platforms like TikTok. We used to always talk about fast fashion, well now it’s fast marketing. Being responsive to the ever changing landscape is hard. So, why not give some of that responsibility back to an affiliate. Much like my first point, you want to highlight all the responsibilities are on the partner. The more quality they send the more they get paid. As the market shifts it’s in their best interest to shift and adapt with it. 

5. Data, data and oh yes, more data

These days performance marketing platforms like Affise allow you to be data-driven, meaning that once your ad campaigns are up and running, you can ensure they are running successfully. What’s more, we offer data visualisation and dashboard customisation so you can view data that matters to you. Considering the amount of data marketers have now, this plays a significant role.

With this new focus on data you can look at smart commission strategies. This gives full flexibility on how you can manage your campaigns and pull in smarter metrics such as ROI and margin. Today marketers actively offer loyalty and incentive bonuses to motivate their partners to promote products more actively. E.g. tailored commissions on the number of sales or amounts in a single purchase mean that campaigns can be developed around supporting wider business KPIs.

Again – one for the Affise users but as we work with APIs our data is fast and secure, we can integrate into any customer touchpoint. 

In conclusion

No matter how beneficial partner marketing is, to pitch it successfully you need to spend some time on preparation. In general, a successful pitch is a combination of the strong arguments and ability to present ideas in a clear way emphasising growth areas. Talk about the opportunities partner marketing opens up, for example emphasise the low-risk nature of the channel, possibility to predict results and control ad budget. Also, do study associated products that can help you to get the best out of implementing a new marketing strategy.

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