Graham Jenner: 6 things Marvin Gaye can teach us about affiliate marketing

As well as being a very successful singer, Marvin Gaye (allegedly) knew a thing or two about affiliate marketing too… Graham from TopCashback explains more.

Believe it or not Marvin Gaye knew what it took to become a success in performance marketing. This might sound odd but you only have to look at the titles of some of his songs to get to the crux of how to manage a successful campaign. So let’s take a look through Marvin’s back-catalogue, and see what we can learn.

Let’s Get It On

I am not suggesting being promiscuous! From a publisher’s perspective, what I mean is you should be willing to test and DO THINGS! One key thing people focus upon is that you only pay on performance which is great, but you also need to be willing to spend money up front with some publishers. Whether this is to secure space with a content publisher who might influence early in the funnel, or a cashback publisher who can put you in front of a large database, the important point here is that if you don’t try things you will never know how well they work.

When you compare the costs of these placements to other channels such as TV or print advertising, it’s peanuts. You should also consider that just because the response is easier to measure does not mean that it is performing any worse than traditional media. You might not get any sales with the banner on a content site, but can you accurately say that you did with the print advertising? Or are they both part of a strategy to get more recognition for your brand?

What’s Going On?

An easy analogy to make – be sure to keep up to date with new developments within the industry. This might be looking at competitors and how/where they are being promoted, or more importantly looking for new publishers and business models you can use to grow your programme. It might be that a publisher has branched into new areas, for example TopCashback recently launched On-Card cashback allowing customers to earn cashback in store. Failing to keep on top of industry news and trends can mean you miss out on new opportunities.

You’re All I Need

It is important that you try to diversify. I never like targets that people set around the percentage that one particular publisher should drive. If a publisher is working well for you then continue working together and look at how you can continue to grow the partnership. But you can also look at how to grow other publishers alongside this strategy. Too often people seem to either focus on the long tail, or focus on the top ten. Why not run with both?

I can’t be the only person who questions why you would cut back on an activity that’s working. You should be driving other publishers to catch up with the leaders, not pulling back on the activity that’s working.

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You

Your publishers are people too. Like most people, when they do a good job they like to be told as much. Hey, you might even do something to reward them for doing well. This can be particularly good for content affiliates who might be running their site in their spare time. If you have ever tried to start a blog or site you will appreciate the challenges of getting traffic and how much traffic you require to make a single sale. It can be tough to keep up the motivation so just a little gesture can make a big difference.

An appreciated, motivated publisher who has a greater affinity to your brand… Doesn’t sound too bad does it. And let’s be honest, being nice to people should never be a hardship.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

The programme is doing well – so you can take your eye off the ball now, right? Wrong. The thing with affiliate marketing is it is never really ‘done’. There are always new relationships to be made, new publishers to find or engage with, and growth to be found.

Try setting yourself targets to do with publisher activation or recruitment. Setting yourself targets and having these in mind will help you continue moving forward and growing your program to mountainous heights.

Heard It Through The Grapevine

Lastly, make relationships with key publishers and industry influencers. You will hear people refer to the affiliate market as a relationship-led industry, and that is definitely true. You will be amazed at the little nuggets of information you can get during informal chats.

Make sure you attend networking events, go to relevant conferences, maybe have your own affiliate event or drinks, anything you can do to build relationships and get more face time with people who will ultimately benefit your program. Don’t just see this as a chance to sell yourself or your programmes, take an interest in people and be prepared to listen. Most of the time you will get more from the conversation if you just listen to what other people have to say.