Despite a lack of industry-focus over the last couple of years, affiliate marketing continues to be a significant driver of revenue for ecommerce retailers. Internet Retailer reports that over half of their Top 500 have active affiliate programs.
For the sizable group of merchants who veer away from affiliate programs, it might make sense to revisit that discussion and consider the solution providers that know the channel best. We sit down with Gen3 Marketing‘s Director of Affiliate Marketing, Jonathan Kendall, to help understand the value an affiliate program manager can add to an ecommerce business.
Describe Gen3 Marketing in 50 words or less.
Gen3 Marketing is a Philadelphia-based, award-winning, full service Affiliate Management Agency. Leveraging its relationship management expertise and data-driven capabilities, Gen3 helps advertisers launch and manage affiliate programs, enabling them to maximize performance quickly and effectively. Today, Gen3 successfully manages affiliate programs for +60 advertisers.
What are some emerging ecommerce trends that you’re particularly excited about?
- Mobile – as tablet use continues to skyrocket and mobile phones become exponentially more sophisticated, there is a continued need to capitalize off of the growing revenue potential and ensure smooth purchase paths for mobile users.
- Social Shopping – leveraging social strategies (including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, as well as smaller niche websites that fuse social communities with direct-response marketing) is a proven way to drive incremental traffic and transactions by marketing to potential consumers in a less direct manner.
- Multi-Channel – now that we are better able to track the relationship between online marketing/brick-and-mortal sales, there is a wealth of opportunity to drive website traffic directly to stores (and be more targeted while we do so).
What 3-4 advertising channels do you recommend retailers check out to drive qualified traffic to their site?
Loyalty/cashback sites make for fantastic long-term partners and are a great way to generate incremental sales through their existing bases of users. Coupon/deal sites have proven to be incredibly valuable to not only catch consumer attention, but also help facilitate conversion as well as assist in capturing market share from key competitors.
Third, search affiliates are a fantastic supplement to the PPC campaigns our advertisers themselves may be running and can extend overall reach by having these affiliates bid on terms that may not be viable within the ROI goals of our clients.
According to Internet Retailer, Gen3 is a Top 10 affiliate marketing vendor for the IR Top 1000. What surprising or unexpected trends have you noticed from working with those retailers?
Based on our experiences, we don’t typically find there to be too much of a difference between how we manage smaller and larger programs. IR 1000-type advertisers may tend to have a bit more brand sensitivity in terms of the publishers they choose to work with, but we tend to hold our affiliate partners to a high standard regardless of the size of the brand.
What is Gen3 Marketing’s target market?
Given our diverse base of experience, we have the flexibility to work with a variety of business types (retailers, service-based, lead-based), of nearly any size. Our offering is typically custom-tailored to meet the needs, goals, and objectives of our clients, and can scale with the needs of any organization large or small.
What do typical results look like for a client and in what timeframe?
This can vary a bit, and is largely based on whether or not the advertiser already has an existing program we can leverage (and how mature it is) versus launching a new program from scratch. In general, we strive to generate an incremental 10%-20% of topline revenue, which may vary a bit based on whether or not the brands offer engaging promotional content or other strategic levers we can use by which to promote their programs (paid search, etc).
What does the process look like once a client gets the ball rolling with Gen3 Marketing?
We like to kick off all client relationships with an in-depth exploratory meeting, so our account managers can learn more about the advertiser’s business, discuss their specific goals and objectives, find out what type of experience they’ve had with affiliate marketing in the past (if any), any potential sensitivities/areas to avoid, and any other details we’ll need to manage their programs in a way best suited to their needs.
From there, we typically put together a detailed strategic plan that outlines the specific ways we can best manage publisher recruitment, activation, optimization, and reporting, which enables us to hit the ground running with a detailed roadmap on how we plan to drive their success. We also put a continuous focus on affiliate compliance, ensuring that all publishers are promoting our advertisers programs in accordance with the agreed upon terms and conditions.
Where do we sign up?
Jonathan Kendall is a Director of Affiliate Marketing at Gen3Marketing.com, and has over ten years of experience managing online marketing programs for a variety of retail clients (including Crocs, Advance Auto Parts, and New Balance).