By Lisa on April 11, 2012
When should you shop for “affiliate” or “performance marketing” technology? Three scenarios suggest a review of the latest options:
- You don’t currently have technology in place and you need it.
Pretty obvious, right? In this case, you know you’re in the market for a technology provider.
- You have technology but it no longer fits your needs and you’re ready to upgrade.
You’re committed to the channel but your situation has changed from when you first built or bought your existing technology. You need something different from what you’re using.
- You already have it, it doesn’t do what you need, and you’re ready to shut the channel down.
“Huh? This makes no sense,” you say. “Why look to buy when you’re planning to close a program?” The simple answer: to avoid mistaking potential technology deficiencies for a flawed marketing program.
Brands considering a shift away from performance marketing are typically challenging the value of the channel’s referrals. Objections raised include:
“We’d be getting all of those sales anyway.”
“After paying the affiliate, the network and our staff, we’re paying too much.”
“Referred sales are always associated with discounts. Big discounts.”
“We’re not seeing enough new customers.”
And the strongest arguments against retaining an established program tend to surface when it’s unclear if existing technology can adapt to significant shifts in strategy.
Today’s marketers should change (but not necessarily end) their approach to managing performance-based referral partners. With the digital landscape ever changing—there are few benefits to having static terms (based on outdated “best practices”) with partners. The same issue arises with implementations of 10-year old technology. In performance marketing, the status quo often represents a way of doing business premised on antiquated models.
The best reason to shop technology is to explore what new product features or updated capabilities will address your current needs. Taking a fresh look at the latest features and products reorients your thinking. Pain points that once seemed impossible to fix (e.g. controlling coupons, understanding the quality of results from an individual referrer) now actually have solutions.
At Impact Radius – we’ve produced a guide designed to provide a fresh perspective to prospective buyers through the process of comparing and assessing the current technology solutions available to marketers.